SOCHI, Russia — The single most American way to look at Olympic medals standings – particularly when the United States is on top – is with disinterest.
The most golds? The most total medals? Who cares, of course we win, we are the Americans. Second place, fourth, whatever? Who cares, this is stupid anyway, a nation as great as ours doesn’t base its self-worth on whether we have two citizens capable of stacking themselves on a luge sled and whip down an ice track fastest.
This serves America well, a tried and true game plan of utter arrogance for the Olympics and it would be going well this time around except for one thing … we are currently getting crushed by Canada.
Gold medals, silver medals, all medals, it doesn’t matter how you count it up, the Canadians – with just 30 million people – are eating our lunch (probably a chicken noodle soup and a grilled panini from Tim Hortons). Then to quench their thirst they are going to that sweet beer fridge they brought over that only opens if you have a Canadian passport.
Yeah, Canada is cool. The U.S. is not, at least not yet. There’s time and more events and hockey and all of that, but thus far, the Canadians are on a roll, extending their hot streak from the Vancouver Games and winning and winning and winning.
[Photos: The many intense faces of Olympians]
As of Wednesday morning here, the U.S. was in fourth place with just seven medals, a mere two gold. Canada has nine and four, respectively. The United States is also trailing Norway – which leads all nations in medals – and the Netherlands – which is in third behind Canada – but who knows anyone from Norway? Who even knows where it is? And the Dutch are too nice to hate. Or so everyone says.
Canada is a different story. They’ve been waiting for this for years, the chance to get all politely smug up there – “team’s doing well, eh?” – quietly mocking us over mogul races and dreaming that their ridiculous bastardized version of football will somehow gain supremacy.
The province of Quebec has six medals alone, so maybe the solution is simple: 51st state. The Canadians will warn that Quebec is a handful. It’s a little nutty, too prideful and always threatening to secede. This is no problem for us; it’s just Texas with poutine rather than Frito Pie.
Everything changed four years ago when the Canadian Olympic Committee created a campaign to bolster competitiveness in athletes who too often were known for being kind, considerate and in fourth place. “Own the Podium” was the slogan and it worked; the Canadians won the most golds in Vancouver – although the U.S. won the most overall medals.
Fortunately no one remembers who won men’s hockey.
Well, this Own the Podium thing keeps going and going, as relentless and annoying as Justin Bieber. Own the Podium? Look Canada, North America isn’t big enough for two egomaniacal, boastful countries that claim ownership over communal property. Stop stealing our act.
Naturally, the Canadians have managed to pull this aggressiveness off with none of the ugliness.
They produce saintly sisters who not only both medal but hold hands after. They have a coach who sees a Russian – a Russian! – break his ski in cross country and runs out and gives him a new one.
“I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line,” the coach said.
Dignity? The coach is actually from California, so spare me the maple syrup.
Look, the U.S. is clearly rattled. We didn’t medal in men’s half-pipe snowboarding even after two Canadian athletes mocked Shaun White as a coward on Twitter. When we aren’t even doing well in the so-called slacker events, these are dark days.
“Sorry America,” snowboarder Danny Davis said. “Sorry America.”
Sorry, indeed. We don’t even have a good beer fridge. And we’ve actually been accused of teaming up with Russia, of all nations, to cheat the ice dancing judging and assure a victory over the Canadians. Who knows if it’s true – the way our Charlie White and Meryl Davis can twizzle, they probably don’t need any help.
It doesn’t matter. The mere accusation, made by a French newspaper, is humiliating enough. We are teaming up with Russia to assure victory in ice dancing?
Seriously? Is there no pride left?
Jonathan Quick and the guys better win that hockey tournament because this could become unbearable, the snickering to the north, the sportsmanlike “nice try, guys”, the Celine Dion ballads.
The world order is all wrong when Moose Jaw has bragging rights over Manhattan in anything other than being named after parts of a moose’s body.
Someone pour me a Molson.
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