It was not the rioting in Ukraine that almost overshadowed the international competition. It wasn’t that Canada finished in fourth place with a total of 25 medals which was right behind the huge country of Norway. The Scandinavian powerhouse had one more gold medal than us and one more in the overall medal count. Even the fact that our U.S. neighbours accumulated three more medals than Canada didn’t bother me. I was consoled by our 10 gold medals which was one more than the States won. What really irritated me was my schedule that barely allowed me to see any of the action as it unfolded. I missed our women’s hockey team winning gold in an exhilarating 3-2 overtime victory over the States. I slept through our men’s hockey team dominating Sweden 3-0 in the gold-medal round. Sadly, getting eight hours sleep was important to me this year than seeing our men take top honours. Even my wife woke up and watched the 6 a.m. game while I slept. My unpatriotic behaviour most certainly is grounds to be charged with gross indecency and conduct unbecoming of a Canadian. The two infractions carry a penalty of one-year suspension of a person’s citizenship. I understand time served can take the form of a community sentence, in particular working at a local skating rink on weekends, so if I am found guilty you may see a lot of me in the food booth at the rink. My highlight of the Olympic games was watching two of three Canadian sisters compete in freestyle skiing. Two of the sisters placed first and second and the third performed well, but did not finish in the top three. Now that is what I call a true family affair. It was the only action I saw from start to finish that resulted in not one, but two Olympic medals for Canada. I did not get to see our men and women curling teams capture gold, but saw some of the pairs figure skating competition in which the States edged out Canada for the top honour. It was projected Canadian athletes would win 11 to 13 gold medals and take home approximately 30 pieces of podium hardware. According to the experts, we didn’t measure up with a fourth-place finish in the gold medal race. However, I say that is pile of bull since a multitude of things can happen in any competition that can change the outcome in a fraction of a second. Projections are only that – projections, and I am very proud of our athletes’ performance. Canada’s 25 medals came in the form of 10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze. Russia, the host country had 13 gold medals, 11 silver and nine bronze for a total of 33 medals. The tiny country of Norway had 26 medals: 11 gold, five silver and 10 bronze. USA collected nine gold, seven silver and 12 bronze for a total of 28 medals. I was comforted to know that the States did not beat the record-setting number of gold medals that Canada won at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Our athletes won a total of 14 gold medals at the Vancouver Olympics and also took home seven silver and five bronze for a total of 26 medals. This year, the Russian team fell one short of the Canadian record. The 33 medals they garnered throughout the games was also four less than the States won in 2010. While dreams were being realized by the elite who stood on the winners’ podium, the bulk of the athletes had to contend with the fact that they were not the best in the world (at least at that point in time). For some, it was a chance to gain experience and look ahead to the next Olympics. For others, the winter games spelled the end of their competitive career. It’s sad that not everyone can emerge victorious, but that is the nature of sports and any competition. Of far greater consequence is the tragic loss of life at Kiev where residents rioted against police throughout the Olympics. The future of Ukraine may be in the balance as it seems civil war can erupt quickly in any country these days. The violence had claimed 77 lives and 570 people had been injured as of Friday. It is truly unfortunate that mankind cannot settle differences through dialogue or sports. Wouldn’t it be great if a government could be toppled in a tennis match or a dictator ousted in a game of cricket? I definitely would not miss those games, especially a gold-medal round!
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