Del Bosco fiasco hastens Canada's backtracking

Chris Del Bosco unwittingly gave Canada a chance to show one of our more famous qualities: our sense of humor.

One must step lightly here, but the CTV jinx just waylaid another otherwise admirable Canadian athlete when the gold-medal favorite crashed and burned in the men's ski cross final on Sunday and finished fourth. Rarely do you see a sports event prompt some people to get angry while others have to choke back laughter.

There may still be heartfelt outpouring for Del Bosco's journey out of addiction -- he deserves praise, but so do a lot of other people who don't get the network feature -- and still see this fourth-place result as a wicked burn on CTV's hype machine.

Hey, it was great television. The network had Del Bosco equipped with a helmet-cam, so it got some great television of the crash, complete with Jamie Campbell deadpanning, "There goes a bronze medal." Bronze was not the target, though. Del Bosco is No. 2 in the world in ski cross and had won a test event on the same course, so only gold would do. The same held true for Jennifer Heil, whose silver medal in the women’s moguls was nice but not what she wanted.

The network turned these Games into a product placement vehicle, stringing the country along on the belief the medals would fall like manna from heaven. Instead, its programming schedule has been anchored by Charles Hamelin, Heil, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Patrick Chan, Mellisa Hollingsworth and Del Bosco. There are still several gold medals that Canada has a shot at claiming, but the country's conversion rate has remained poor. For most people, the attitude is that it's time someone won.

You can already see CTV trying to save face without acknowledging its role in creating the sky-high expectations. Within minutes of the ski-cross fail, coming in the wake of the Hollingsworth apology tour, Michael Landsberg was out doing his man-on-the-street bit, shameless asking the leading question, "Is Mellisa Hollingsworth being too hard on herself?" Of course, the answer he got was, "Yesssss!"

Wisdom of crowds, indeed. Meantime, talk about moving the goalposts.

No doubt that does reflect the views of many Canadians watching at home. Del Bosco tried hard and, all together now, it just wasn't his day. However, that is the exact attitude Canada was supposed to have divested itself of once and for all at these Winter Olympics. There should be no backtracking. If you're worthy, it will be your day sooner rather than later in sports.

The men's hockey tournament, of course, will decide how most Canadians feel about the Olympics.

There is a sense that many people, after seeing another medal go poof, are starting to see red (and we’re not talking the Maple Leaf). Christine Nesbitt and Kristina Groves' result in women's 1,500-meter speed skating on Sunday night might put a lid on a pot that is changing from simmering to boiling.


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