Time to backtrack after lamenting last week about the ‘forgettable’ Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Canada had a spectacular second week. Let’s call it unforgettable.
Swimmer Penny Oleksiak made Canadian Olympic history, winning three more medals to boost her career total to seven, making her the most decorated Canadian Olympian ever.
Damian Warner of London, Ont., now lays claim to being the greatest male athlete in the world after breaking the 9,000-point barrier for an Olympic record and winning gold in the decathlon, the event that truly separates the men from the boys, or the true athletes from the pretenders.
“When you go through the whole battle of the decathlon and finally finish and you get the result you were looking for, there is no greater feeling,” Warner said in a Sportsnet.ca story. “This is a dream come true.”
Still on the track, we’re calling Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., the world’s fastest man after he finished third in the 100-metre sprint, and took gold in the 200 metres.
Normally, the title of the world’s fastest man goes to the 100-metre gold medal champ, but since the Italian winner, Lamont Marcell Jacobs, has had some steroid rumours swirling around him, we’re going to anoint De Grasse with that title.
And finally, the Canadian women’s soccer team followed up its emotional semi-final victory over the United States by beating Sweden in the gold medal game on penalty kicks, putting a bow on the fabulous career of 38-year-old Christine Sinclair who, if she lived in a soccer-mad country, would be enveloped in Gretzky- Jordan- or Messi-type hysteria.
So yes, the 2020 Olympics held in the summer of 2021 has been rather spectacular for Canada, which finished with 24 medals and stood an impressive 11th in the overall standings, ahead of such countries as Brazil, Cuba and Spain.
Overall, Canada finished with seven gold, six silver and 11 bronze medals, the most ever by our country.
So, unforgettable? You bet. Our athletes did us proud and Canadians get to watch them in action again in three years’ time, in Paris, France.
• Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com, on the Dodgers’ burgeoning payroll: “Will LA start selling beer on the instalment plan?”
•RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “According to a U.S. study, outdoor activity may improve mental health. Unless the activity is watching the Baltimore Orioles.”
• Golfer Phil Mickelson, in a tweet to Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele: “Can’t wait for you to mark your ball with the Gold Medal in one of our matches! I’ll totally respect it cuz that’s something I would do.”
• Humourist Steve Burgess of Vancouver, on Twitter while travelling across Saskatchewan: “It’s part of Canadian history that every Prairie town has its Chinese restaurant. In Val Marie, Sask. (home of Bryan Trottier) it’s in the Val Marie Hotel. Food is good and there’s optimism the TV will be fixed in time for Friday’s Riders’ game.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “Damian Warner set an Olympic record 9,018 points to be the first Canadian winner of Olympic Decathlon. Being Canadian, Warner spent his time during the medal ceremony apologizing to the silver and bronze winners for beating them.”
• Kaseberg again: “In Tokyo, Bruce Springsteen’s daughter, Jessica, did not make the Olympic equestrian jumping finals. It turns out, when it came to jumping, Jessica’s horse was born to run.”
• Norman Chad, on his Gambling Mad offering on Twitter: “Synchronized swimming is a Broadway musical under water.”
• Chad again, on the Olympics ignoring his favourite sport: “No bowling in the Olympics? No Olympics in my home.”
• Bob Molinaro of pilot online.com (Hampton, Va.): “The Buffalo Bills apparently are threatening to threaten that they’ll shuffle off to Austin, Texas, if the city doesn’t use taxpayer money to cover the entire cost of a new stadium. That’s a bad bluff. Austin already has a pro football team — the Texas Longhorns.”
• RJ Currie again: “Happy Birthday to Angels’ all-star outfielder Mike Trout. It seems like only yesterday you were a minnow.”
• Another one from RJ Currie: “The CFL season kicked off last night without preseason games, with the expected mistiming, bad reads, botched calls and confusion over Canadian rules. And that was just TSN play-by-play man Rod Black.”
• Headline at theonion.com: “Loyal Russell Westbrook Fan Tired Of Buying New Jersey, Relocating Whole Family Every Year”
• Another theonion.com headline: “‘I Want To Be In The Olympics Someday,’ Says Delusional Kindergartner Already 4 Years Behind In Elite Training”
• This really happened, from fark.com: “Astros’ Alex Bregman, en route to a game, sees a broken down car on the side of the road. Stops to help the driver who happens to be wearing, wait for it, an Alex Bregman jersey.”
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By Bruce Penton