Much is being made of Canada’s gold record at the 2010 Olympics: 14 gold, the most ever.
Quite an accomplishment, but we should check the math: The final tally is more like 34,019,726 million gold, one for every single Canadian.
Neil Young, who haunted Sunday’s closing ceremonies like a ghost from Winnipeg, sang Long May You Run, which was nice, if the wrong Olympic season, but he could have really hit the target with Heart Of Gold, a more evocative — and accurate — celebration of the New Canadian Attitude (trademark registered).
It was born on the streets of Vancouver, as thousands lined up for hours for a chance to buy Canada-branded Olympic gear, no matter that it was made in China. The new ’tude burst free on the final day when Team Canada wrote the mother of all happy endings in the gold-medal hockey game.
The Canuck genie is out of the bottle and with any luck it won’t look around, come to its senses and crawl back into the bottle with a meek little apology.
Somehow, over the last two weeks, the people took over from the nattering negativists of the media (your friendly columnist included), and stopped the complaining. So what if it rains all the time or it’s crowded or the stupid hydraulic arm doesn’t work and the Games cost more money than the GDP of Uzbekistan, etc. We rock. Jon Montgomery rocks. Joannie Rochette rocks. Nickelback rocks. Canada rocks.
For me, the New Canadian Attitude came out loud and proud in that ridiculous Michael Bublé-Busby Berkeley production number with the giant inflatable beavers and flying moose that capped the closing ceremonies. What a magnificent combination of hoser humour, uncharacteristic excess, unbridled goodwill and Molson-induced pride. You want Canada? You got it!
Here’s the thing. The Games are over and the guests have gone home: How long will the golden grins last? How long before the negativists, who have been lurking patiently in the dark shadows, re-emerge, fingers wagging, hands wringing, scolding us to remember all the things that pull us apart?
This coming of age thing is interesting, especially how it goes down elsewhere. The British media are furiously trying to stuff us back into the bottle, complaining about an unseemly display of national jingoism from a country that once knew its place. Our American cousins, however, are extending a hand across the border: Welcome to the world, kid. You’re looking good.
And now, as goalie Roberto Luongo said at the end of the greatest game ever: “It doesn’t matter what they say. I’ve got the gold around my neck. They can’t take that away from me.”
Or me. Or you.