TROY: " Editor, As the Winter Olympics in Sochi start today - opening ceremony is tomorrow but there are several events competing today - I suggest that you post a piece about the Olympics from the perspective of Canadians who live among those who do not want to be part of Canada anymore."Every now and then, there is idle talk and wishful thinking of a 'Quebec' team among ardent separatists who yearn to see the day when the Quebec flag can be hoisted in front of blue and white clad athletes marching into the stadium representing the independent state of Quebec. With half of francophones in favour of sovereignty one might assume that half of those Quebecers representing Canada would prefer to march under the Quebec banner, but I doubt if it is true.
Athletes are high-level achievers and even those from the hinterland of Quebec make it their business to learn English as fast as possible. They travel across Canada to train and across the world to compete and like all elite athletes they learn very quickly that the world spins in English.
No bitching and moaning about the dire straights of French for these athletes, they don't have the time to waste.
These high-achievers are aboard the train of success and if becoming accomplished in English an element of that success, so be it.
As francophone athletes successfully compete on a world-wide level, be it on the ATP tennis tour, the NHL, the Olympic movement, motor-racing or tiddlywinks, they embrace a larger world and generally leave the Quebec pettiness over language far behind.
Am I talking through my hat...I think not.
A couple of years ago, organizers tried to put together a hockey tournament featuring Quebec NHLers against the world in a francophone type of tournament that never happened because of the overwhelming refusal of francophone NHLers to join in.
It just didn't sit right with many of them, firmly encamped in English Canada or America, where they have made a life for themselves, outside of the politics of language confrontation.
For Quebec Olympic athletes, there is an extra payoff post Olympics, the ability to represent national companies and products bilingually, where companies seek one spokesmen or women that can carry the torch (1st Olympic allusion) in both languages. The level of excellence and competitiveness crosses all language lines as demonstrated by English athletes like Sara Hughes who train in Quebec and quickly take up French. Evidently high achievers look to conquer, regardless of language and competing under the Canadian Maple Leaf is a thrilling experience and something that transcends political debate.
A couple of days ago, I was served up a remarkable lesson in patriotism when in an interview, Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of Canada's Federation Cup tennis team, (who are competing this weekend in Montreal against Serbia), in an accented but excellent English talked about pride and patriotism and how excited he and the competitors were in representing their country.
Anybody who thinks francophones aren't excited to see Canadians compete wearing the red maple leaf is just plain wrong.
As for sovereigntist fans cheering for Canada, there is no contradiction. For them, as it is in other provinces, it is an extra thrill to have local athletes medal, but in no way dampens the enthusiasm for medalists from the opposite end of the country.
Most sovereigntists don't hate Canada. They prefer to move on, like a maturing teenager moving out of their parents home, certainly not in anger or acrimony.
And so cheering for Canada is perfectly natural.
There are some very militant haters, who will cringe at the sight of Quebecers marching under the Canadian flag, but they are few and far between and an unhappy and frustrated lot, at that.
|Sisters Maxime, Chloe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe, left to right, have all made it through the first round at Sochi|
The COA insures that Canadians from all provinces and backgrounds have an opportunity to compete and train while respecting language requirement as best they can.
It isn't perfect, but as good as we can expect.
|How well will this prediction pan out?|
I'm happy to note that our government has made a financial commitment that only heavyweight countries can afford, full in the knowledge that to achieve at the Olympics, substantial dollars must be invested in athletes.
So cheers to our government for spending the money, an expenditure that most Canadians are proud to finance through our taxes.
These next two weeks is the payoff for the investment we taxpayers have made and for the athletes, it's the culmination of a dream, one that only an elite athlete can understand.
So let's wish all Canadian athletes much success and thank them all for representing us with their dedication and effort.
Here's a summary of Canadian medal contenders according to Jeremy Freeborn at Examiner.com
"Canada's top Olympian will be Charles Hamelin of Levis, Quebec who is projected to win four medals in short track speed skating.
Charles Hamelin- Multiple medal contender
The eight gold medalists are Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg in women's curling, the men's hockey team, Kaille Humphries of Calgary in women's bobsled, Hamelin in the men's 1000m short track speed skating, Maxence Parrot of Cowansville, Quebec in men's slopestyle snowboarding, Kaya Turski of Montreal in women's slopestyle skiing, Alexandre Bilodeau of Montreal in men's moguls and Marielle Thompson of Vancouver in women's skicross.
The 14 silver medallists are Brad Jacobs of Sault. Ste. Marie in men's curling, women's hockey, Mikael Kingsbury of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec in men's moguls, Rosalind Groenewoud of Calgary in women's halfpipe skiing, Mike Riddle of Edmonton in men's halfpipe skiing, Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal in women's moguls, the mixed relay luge team, Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ontario in women's slopestyle skiing, the men's short track speed skating relay team, Patrick Chan of Ottawa in men's figure skating, the figure skating team event, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of London, Ontario in ice dancing, Dominique Maltais of Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois, Quebec in women's snowboard cross and Spencer O'Brien of Courtenay, British Columbia in women's slopestyle snowboarding.
Finally the seven bronze medalists are Hamelin in the men's 500m and 1500m short track speed skating events, Valerie Maltais of La Baie, Quebec in the women's 1500m short track speed skating, Alex Gough of Calgary in women's luge, Mark McMorris of Regina in men's slopestyle snowboarding, the women's long track speed skating team pursuit and the women's short track speed skating relay team." Link
Looking through the photos of Canada's Olympic team it occurs to me that there's a lot of very good looking specimens both men and women.
Have a look who's hottest over HERE
As good a performance as one can expect from Canadian athletes, it pales to that of the Norwegian delegation which is predicted to win the most overall medals of any nation.
Considering that Norway has one-seventh of Canada's population and one seventieth of America's population it is a stunning accomplishment.
Incidentally, I think Canada will do better in the GOLD category then the predicted 11 above and can come away with as much a fourteen.
Ah to dream!.......
By the way, have you have a laugh at some of the lack of preparedness by the Sochi organizers?
It was a bit funny, especially watching reporters bitching and moaning over the conditions.
What did they expect, IT'S RUSSIA.
Have you ever watched those Russian dash cam videos?
Here's another chapter.....enjoy.