Colbert's a psychologist?

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency

As any athlete will tell you, success in sports is not just physical, it’s also psychological. The Americans must know this, because they’ve got Stephen Colbert on board as “assistant team psychologist” for the speed skating squad. Colbert, who arrived in Vancouver Wednesday to do segments for his nightly Colbert Report TV show, offered his skaters this masterful piece of visualization advice: “Imagine that I have stuffed your suit with meat, and I have released wild dogs on the ice.”

Joke’s on you, Stephen: your secret tactic is now in print for our skaters to see. And they will race like they had suits stuffed with maple syrup, with wild GRIZZLIES released on the ice. The gold medal’s in the bag.

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Being under Olympics house arrest — I stay locked up in my home all day, every day, watching the games on two TVs while surfing dozens of websites for oddball tidbits — I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every single Olympics-related commercial. Five dozen times each.

Some are cute, like the goofy Coke snowball fight or the snowboarding Aflac duck. Some are heartwarming, like the (not technically Olympics-related) Tim Hortons ad with the new Canadians arriving at the airport, or the (not technically a commercial) CTV interstitial with Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, stickhandling and shooting a puck like a pro.

And some really bug the crap out of me. The inane Chevrolet talking car commercials are like a cheese grater being dragged across my eyes and ears, while the President’s Choice spot in which Loblaws executive chairman Galen G. Weston doesn’t want to take too much credit for the success of the Canadian alpine ski team because “after all, we’re Canadian,” seems to belittle the years of hard work and training these athletes have gone through. It’s about more than sponsorship bucks and Blue Menu frozen dinners, my friend.

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When newspaper writers make a silly mistake, it’s our policy to issue a correction. So please consider this a correction to Wednesday’s story about gold medallist Lindsey Vonn and the other top Olympic beauties. Somehow, Russian speed skater Yekaterina Malysheva was left off the list.

Maybe it was because the photo of Malysheva was mistaken for a shot of Canadian actress and puck bu... errr, hockey aficionado Elisha Cuthbert, but whatever the case, we regret the error. And we’ve suddenly become even bigger fans of speed skating.

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Steve Tilley is following the Olympics experience on TV and on the Web throughout the Winter Games. You can e-mail him at steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca or follow him on Twitter at @stevetilley.

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