Canada will deliver a great Olympics

Column by Nick Craddock

When you think aboot Canada, what comes to mind?

If you’re like most Americans, the answer is probably a) nothing or b) a cartoonish moose playing hockey with a beaver chugging maple syrup in an effort to stay warm in frigid temperatures.

After all, it’s common knowledge that igloos have poor heating systems, but utterly ridiculous that moose possess the motor skills necessary to play hockey.

Such stereotypes and lack of reverence for my home and native land pain me to the core. However, I urge all of you who have yet to appreciate Canada’s (obvious) greatness to follow the Vancouver Winter Olympics. This is the third time Canada has hosted the Olympics, following the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta — but who’s counting?

Starting Friday, these games will serve up a chance to see athletes hidden from the public eye for three years and 11 months at a time.

Apolo Anton … who? Oh, that speedskater with a soul patch who is sponsored by Gillette. That’s counter-intuitive, but I digress.

Not only will the games showcase the drama of sports and bring many nations together in the competitive spirit, but it is my hope that people will be reminded of what makes Canada the remarkable nation that it is.

Canada, America’s “little brother” and/or “hat” as you probably know it, should be given its props, or propers if you don’t like the vernacular.

Having lived in Vancouver for four years, I can attest to the beauty of the landscape, which offers a scenic backdrop for the games to take place.

From the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, a more picturesque scene could not be painted. Unless, of course, the artist painting said scene happened to be Canadian.

The beauty of Vancouver extends into more residential areas, too. Instead Cracker Barrels and Waffle Houses, Tim Hortons coffee and donut shops will provide many a tourist in Vancouver a tasty lunch. Timbits (please, Google this word) for everyone!

As some of you may know, the weather in Vancouver has been unseasonably warm recently, and only half of last year’s amount of snowfall was present at the Cypress Mountain venue.

I used the past tense in the last sentence because Canadians are skilled problem solvers. Get this: We put hay down for a non-melting foundation and transported snow from other mountains. Dare I say genius?

But, enough about aesthetics; the sports, including curling, speedskating, skiing, snowboarding and so on remain the main attraction.

I think it should be clear that Canada will lead the medal standings, and by “lead” I mean finish somewhere just above midtable.

Of all the sports, hockey is what I, and millions of other Canadians, look forward to the most.

I’d like to think Canadians helped avoid their hockey-crazed stereotype by temporarily renaming the primary hockey arena GM Place to Team Canada Place.

Looks like corporate sponsorship ran into a buzzsaw of Canadian patriotism.

If I were a contestant on “Jeopardy!” with Canada’s favorite son and the show’s host, Alex Trebek, and the category was “Excellent Host Countries of the Olympics,” I would reply to every clue: “What is Canada?”

I hope this column didn’t seem too pro-Canada. In fact, I shouldn’t even be writing for the opinions page because it’s very non-Canadian of me to push my thoughts on others.

But surely, if you don’t alread, by the end of the Olympics you’ll admit Canada is pretty cool, eh?