One more day of Olympic fun, and then it’s a long wait until Vancouver.
I have to admit that Spouse and I have been complete summer games junkies over the last few days. We have been camping out at night on the fold-out sofa bed in the living room so that we can fall asleep in front of Bulgaria vs. Hungary in handball. I admit this is slightly odd.
It seems to me that Canada could not have picked a better athlete to carry our flag in the opening ceremonies than Adam van Koeverden. Scratch that, Canada could not have designed a better athlete to represent our country. The guy was a big favourite in the K1 500 and a medal hopeful in the K1 1000. For whatever reason (and van Koeverden, to his credit, has no truck with those who believe in the alleged “curse of the flagbearer”), he came out flat in the final of the K1 500 and finished eighth out of nine boats. He gets out of the boat, looks in to the camera and apologizes. He then rests for a day and comes back for the K1 1000 final, in which he goes out strong and leads all the way – until he is passed in the final 75 meters by a guy from Australia, relegating him to the silver medal position. In an interview with CBC’s Diana Swain broadcast here in the Eastern time zone this morning, van Koeverden says he is in no way disappointed, is honoured to have won a silver medal, and takes time out to voice his respect for the Australian athlete who nipped him at the wire. He also manages, in the course of about a five-minute interview, to point out the increase in collegiality among athletes at these games, where even sprinters (who customarily stare each other down as if they were rival gang members) are high-fiving each other and congratulating one another and observes (without sounding cranky or piqued about it) that athletes in the summer games sports who are not named Kobe Bryant or Yao Ming would appreciate it if people would pay just a little attention to their sports in non-Olympic years. This guy has more class in his little finger than most folks will ever see. I am so fiercely proud that my country produces athletes like this guy; I wish we could bottle what he has and inject it into the bloodstream of each and every player on my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.