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Archive for the 'The Winter Games' Category

03 1st, 2010

Wipe that smile off your face! The Olympic fun police are on the prowl.

It wasn’t enough that International Olympic Committee Mr. Miserable-in-Chief Jacques Rogge had to sour the last games in Beijing with his dour criticism that sprinter Usain Bolt’s celebratory showboating is “not the way we perceive being a champion.”

This time, just as everyone was having a little fun at the Vancouver Games drenched in tragedy, it is Canada’s gold medal-winning women hockey players who have had to apologize for being happy. Champagne-and-cigars happy.

Long after the joyous crowds had gone home, with only cleaners, venue staff and journalists – busily telling the story of Canada’s 2-0 win over the United States – still in the building, the women went back onto their home ice at Canada Hockey Place with cold ones in their hands and had themselves a party.

Anyone with a sense of humor couldn’t help but laugh at the photos of Haley Irwin and Meghan Agosta on their backs on the ice, sharing a fat cigar, or Irwin pouring champagne down the throat of Tessa Bonhomme. Goalies Charline Labonte and Kim St-Pierre posed at center ice, lying on their stomachs with a giant bottle of champagne resting just above the Olympic rings. Rebecca Johnston clowned around on the ice-resurfacing machine.

It was raucous, but it wasn’t football-hooligan nasty. It wasn’t inappropriate like Scotty Lago caught on camera at a party with a woman kneeling below his waist, trying to kiss the snowboarder’s bronze medal.

It was deserved. Canada’s women didn’t bag their third straight Olympic hockey gold on Thursday by being pushovers. The team works hard to be a world-beater. If they were men, no one would have begrudged them a celebratory drink or 10.

They had a great time,” Vancouver organizing chief John Furlong said Friday of Boozegate. “They let their hair down. Yes, they said they were sorry, but they’re great ambassadors for hockey, and they shouldn’t regret what they did for a moment.

But the thing about the stuffed shirts at the IOC is that you can always expect at least one of them to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Rogge has done it at these games, by ducking blame for the training-run death of Nodar Kumaritashvili on the too-quick Olympic sliding track. His assertion that “everyone is responsible” for the Georgian luger’s crash was really the same as saying that no one is, because it avoided singling out individuals who might be called into account.

With Canada’s women, it was Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director of the Olympic Games, who stuck a ski boot-sized foot in his mouth.

Informed by an AP reporter of the celebration, Felli said: “If that’s the case, that is not good. It is not what we want to see.”

We will investigate what happened. We will talk to the federation and the NOC. We will first find the facts and then act accordingly,” he said.

So, we can presume, can we, that not one IOC member, not a single one, has drunk a drop from the fully stocked bar and the stock of British Columbia wines on offer at their Vancouver hotel.

And why didn’t any of them pipe up when Jon Montgomery paraded through the streets of Whistler, guzzling from a large pitcher of beer, when he won gold for Canada in skeleton?

The easy assumption would be that it disturbs some people that women drink and smoke cigars like men. But we’ll give Felli the benefit of the doubt and guess that he was miffed only because he wasn’t included in the party.

At risk of looking like the biggest partypooper since prohibition, the IOC executed a halfpipe-sized U-turn on Friday.

Spokesman Mark Adams said the Olympic governing body would write to Canadian organizers asking for more details. He was careful not to call it an investigation.

For this mini-affair to end here, as it should, here’s what the letter should say: Have a good time. We’ll send over a few Olympic-sized packets of hangover tablets.