A weird year in sports

DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:04 PM ET

The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver provided Canadians with some of the highlights of the year.

But the Games also provided us with some of the oddball moments -- some humourous, others that were a little embarrassing, and at least one that proved tragic -- that made 2010 so memorable.

Who can forget the sight of a soggy Wayne Gretzky, our national icon, and the Olympic flame being hauled through a downpour to a "secret location" in the back of a pickup truck as part of the Vancouver 2010 opening ceremony.

It was, without question, one of those "what were they thinking" moments of the Games.

That wasn't the only faux pas on the first day of the Games. A mechanical malfunction marred the lighting of the Olympic caldron at BC Place Stadium, causing Canucks watching on TV to simply shake their heads in disbelief.

Maybe we all needed a little chuckle after hearing the news that Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili had died during a training run in Whistler earlier in the day.

It really was an inauspicious start to the Vancouver Games, wasn't it?

Really, though, the weirdness started well before the Olympics even began.

Freestyle skier Ryan Blais thought he was an Olympian for, oh, about an hour before being told that, whoops, team officials had made a mistake and he hadn't made the team. Whew, talk about your emotional roller-coaster.

We can thank the women's hockey team and skeleton racer Jon Montgomery for a couple of funny, booze-fueled moments.

When the ladies beat the U.S. for hockey gold, they yukked it up with champagne and cigars ... on the ice. And while driving the Zamboni. Bad examples for the kiddies? Perhaps. Funny to watch? Absolutely.

Montgomery gave us the definitive Joe Canadian moment after sliding to the gold medal in skeleton when he walked through singing fans while chugging a pitcher of beer. Instant classic.

But oddities weren't reserved to the Olympics. Here's some of the others that caught our eye:

* The death of Pat Burns was reported on Sept. 16. Only problem was, the former NHL coach wasn't dead yet, which was confirmed when Burns made a phone call to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Sadly, Burns did pass away two months later.

* Georges Laraque made his living in the NHL beating people up. So it seemed very strange that he would resort to hugging trees when he retired. In July, Big Georges was named deputy leader of Canada's Green Party.

* Convicted felon and former NHLer Mike Danton returned to the ice with the Saint Mary's Huskies in January. Two months later, he was celebrating a Canadian university championship. Sometimes, friends, karma is merely a lapdog.

* Canadian model Elizabeth Minett was blamed by the British tabloids for causing England goalkeeper Robert Green to muff a shot during their World Cup game against the U.S. The tabs said Green wasn't over his breakup with Minett a month earlier. Crikey.

* In the QMJHL playoffs, Hubert Labrie of Gatineau banked a shot from centre ice off the end boards and then Montreal goalie Jean-Francois Berube's leg for the winning goal. Weird enough there. But this was in Game 7 of the series. In overtime. Situation and circumstance make the goal one of the oddest sports moments of the year.


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