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Tue, August 17, 2004
USA now the Creamed Team
By -- Toronto Sun

Day 3: Canadians Blythe Hartley and Emilie Heymans won bronze in synchronized diving.

Good thing. It was beginning to look like our best chance for a medal was The Little Blue Cow.

SPEAKING OF DIVING

Not sure who actually won the synchronized diving, but I'm guessing it was the U.S. basketball team.

THREATS 'N' CONSEQUENCES

Organizers claim they've sold more than half the tickets for Games events. But, all those empty seats say the terrorists have won. And they haven't even blown anything up, yet.

THORPEDOED

Canadian Rick Say was a laudable sixth in the big 200-metre freestyle duel won by Ian Thorpe. "I'm happy to say I was there," Say said. "There were probably about a billion people watching this race."

Actually, make that one billion and one spectators -- assuming you include Michael Phelps. He was never in this race.

TRACK MARKS

The 20-kilometre walk is Friday. Nobody knows why. Face it, as races go this basically looks like a bunch of guys in a hurry to get to the bathroom ... Maurice Greene owns the personalized plate MO GOLD. The joke around track and field circles during the past year is that it should be changed to SLO-MO, since he has been unable to find anything but reverse gear.

OLYMPIC PANORAMA

Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times, on the U.S. basketball loss to Puerto Rico: "Let's just say it's over. That would be the United States and the thing formerly known as basketball dominance. Those items don't go together anymore. Just like J-Lo and Diddy don't go together anymore."

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: "The U.S. baseball team didn't make the tournament, and now the basketball team is rocked to its already shaky foundation. Please don't tell me that the U.S. baking team's apple-pie entry was eliminated in the prelims of the Cultural Olympics by a Dutch pecan strudel."

BIG SACRIFICES

The cost of these Games can't be measured merely in dollar signs. There were 20 construction-related deaths in building the Athens facilities. In Sydney, there was one.

So, maybe the real heroes here aren't guys named Thorpe or Phelps. Maybe the true heroes are every Tom, Dick and Stavro or Akram who held a shovel. One guy said he walked 1,600 miles from Iraq to get work. Meantime, in Canada, we have guys who get into a sweat just thinking about having to walk to the unemployment office. Go figure.

RANT OF THE DAY

When the Americans left for the Olympics they were told not to be overly enthusiastic in their victory celebrations. Who knew restraint would be so easy.

The disappointments began even before the Greeks lit an Olympic flame that sits on something that looks suspiciously like the world's biggest phallic appendage.

Right now, that fickle finger is pointing directly at America in Aristophanic proportion. The U.S. baseball team failing to make the tournament is like, oh, the World Cup of hockey without Canada. And, now, Allen Iverson and his posse have turned into the American Creamed Team.

The U.S. media are aghast. They are looking for fall guys. Well, get a grip on your Yankee doodles, good buddies.

We've been there, done that. Fact is we haven't heard this much upset since Chicken Little yelled that the sky was falling and the Canadian media demanded a royal commission into the state of hockey.

Maybe, instead of Larry Brown, this team does play like it's being run by Charlie Brown. But there wasn't much wrong with Canadian hockey and there isn't much wrong with American basketball. It's just that the world caught up with our national game and, now, it is catching up with hoops.

James Naismith would be proud, although that probably isn't much consolation around America's water coolers.




Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
Yes, it depresses me
No, it's just sports
I'm disappointed, but not worried
We'll get 'em in Turin
Don't care

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