Terrible Tuesday. Welcome to a microcosm of Canada's 100 years at the Olympics: Two gold-medal prospects go splat like Wily Coyote whilst, on to the podium, steps someone of whom we've never heard.
Within 10 minutes of each other, on the CBC, Perdita Felicien turns into a puddle of tears. Simultaneously, on TSN, Peter Orr throws a double play ball into right field as the baseball team turns from gold-medal contenders to Keystone Kops. Serenity now! Serenity now!
Still, it figures if anyone could turn the hurdles into a contact sport, and throw the best hip check by someone not named Bryan McCabe, it would be a Canadian.
Which brings us to the upside. Don Cherry would be proud. I mean, she did take out the Russian.
There's Perdita winning the hurdles. Right there on CBC.
What? Oh, never mind. It's just a commercial for Royal Bank. Maybe this wasn't the best time to show this.
Pass the hemlock, Socrates.
What's that noise? Hmm, so that's what the Canadian anthem sounds like. Thank you Lori-Ann Muenzer. "I feel I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," says Muenzer who, until winning the sprint, was about as famous as your average bicycle courier.
Alexandre Despatie. The only Canadian who took a dive yesterday -- and still came up roses.
STRIPES & STARS
There have been suggestions from within the American Olympic movement and some media that World Anti-Doping Association boss Dick Pound is targeting U.S. athletes. Marion Jones' lawyer, Rich Nichols, said Pound is guilty of a "litany of anti-American smears."
So, let's review: Robert Fazekas lost a gold medal in discus for tampering with a drug test. He's Hungarian.
Shot putter Irina Korzhanenko has a gold medal taken away after testing positive for the steroid stanozolol. A Russian. Sex to be determined.
Weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis was stripped of a bronze medal because of a doping offence. He is Greek.
When last seen, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were hiding behind a Parthenon pillar -- not that they've done anything illegal. Guess, they're just shy.
Boxer David Munyasia was barred by the IOC after testing positive for a banned stimulant. He's Kenyan.
Five weightlifters, with names that look like a word jumble, failed drug tests before the Games. None was American.
Weightlifter Nan Aye Khine was stripped of her fourth-place finish after testing positive for steroids. She's from Myanmar, a place so remote most people believe it might be just north of Lilliput.
If Pound is targeting the Americans at these Games, his aim is about as good as Susan Nattrass'.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald, on the 100,000 security personnel at the Olympics: "To put that number in perspective, that's even more than the number of U.S. track athletes who failed drug tests."
The Web site of the Olympics reports: "With such a high selling rate, tickets to the Athens 2004 Games are already hard to find." Says Phil Mushnick of the New York Post: "That explains the empty seats - the people who bought tickets misplaced them."
HAMM IT UP
An NBC Olympics.com poll shows 35.1% of Americans think South Korean Yang Tae-Young should get a gold medal, too, after a judging snafu made a winner of gymnast Paul Hamm. But, 47.5% say the results should stand. Sounds fair. But you've got to be American, or a French figure skating judge, to understand why it's fair.
Felicien's bib number yesterday was 1313. At least she was dressed for the occasion, I guess.