By macleans.ca - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 0 Comments
We like to stay up on the latest developments, so have no excuse for…
We like to stay up on the latest developments, so have no excuse for missing this:
The underdog star of ski jumping at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics showed up on the reality show called Splash! The Daily Telegraph calls the show, “so bad, it’s compelling.” Translation: “Surprise rating hit.”
Here’s Harry Wallop describing Eddie’s turn on the diving reality show, which stars Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley:
“By night he is Eddie the Eagle, a reality television performer and after-dinner speaker, often to be found on cruises around the Caribbean being paid handsomely to talk about his life story. Currently, the latest episode of that is Splash!, where in the first round he was dressed in a ludicrous purple spangly costume. He looked like a bulked-up Mr Magoo who’d got lost in Pineapple Dance Studios.”
By John Geddes - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 9:57 AM - 19 Comments
Stephen Harper has been wrapping up his stump speeches with an allusion to Wilfrid Laurier’s famous prediction that the twentieth century would belong to Canada.
Harper goes on: “But even Laurier at his most optimistic could never have imagined what I saw as Prime Minister: Canada, among all the nations of the world, winning the most gold medals in a Winter Olympic Games ever.”
To be fair to Sir Wilfrid, he made his “it is Canada that shall fill the 20th century” remark in 1904, and died in 1919, five years before the first Winter Olympics were held until 1924, in Chamonix, France.
By Scott Feschuk - Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 11:30 PM - 12 Comments
With this, I conclude my reports from the Winter Games. (My expense-account padding will continue indefinitely.) Fittingly, I end with boobies. Street boobies, no less. But I save those for the end, because that’s just like me. Thanks to all who followed along here and across the Macleans.ca site. Here are some pics from the real and forever Hockey Day in Canada:
I high-fived 118 people walking along Robson. This girl Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 7:49 PM - 5 Comments
… or we’re the monsters of the world.
Also: a young woman in Gastown just screamed: “I wanna celebrate gold by making a sex tape!”
French or English, young or old, that’s a kind of nationalism we can all get behind.
By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 5:55 PM - 14 Comments
Doing this on the spur of the moment. I don’t know a ton about curling. I do know, however, that from a distance Donald Sutherland looks like a homeless man. (Lest you think this a pejorative statement, I also believe that many homeless men look like Donald Sutherland.)
2:56 p.m. PT Another Olympic venue, another blast of Trooper over the soundsystem. I can’t believe the 1988 Olympics are almost over.
3:01 Bagpipes. People standing and clapping. Some folks seem drunk. This seems kind of familiar but I can’t– hang on, is someone going to try to feed me a haggis now?
Everything is in place. The ice is ready. The medals podium sits just off to the side. John Morris has just enough facial scruff. And we’re underway, throwing stones for the gold. Canada opens with the hammer.
For those of you wondering about my own knowledge of and personal expertise with this sport… Number of Briers attended: One. Number of bonspiels watched on TV after failing to convince my Dad to Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 2:02 PM - 18 Comments
It comes down to Ryan Miller.
If patterns hold, Team Canada will muster more shots tomorrow than Team USA. It will probably win the balance of quality scoring chances. If Miller is on – and he’s been nothing but on the entire tournament – then the chances of an American victory rise considerably.
We must therefore do all we can to Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 26, 2010 at 5:41 PM - 18 Comments
Did you catch the very end of the U.S.-Finland game? I’m a little worried – not so much by the American victory, which was impressive, as by what I saw afterward.
When the buzzer sounded, the broadcast cut to the suite from which U.S. GM Brian Burke and his gang were watching – and we saw Burke and company exchange a series of double fist bumps. Both fists, tight together directly in front the body, touch the other guy’s two fists, boom!
Does Steve Yzerman have an equally manly victory ritual of his own that he shares with his underlings? Could this be our Achilles heel? Quick, send someone out to the team bus to teach Yzerman a jive handsake!
The day’s second semi-final in men’s hockey, pitting Canada against Slovakia, gets underway at 6:30 PT. See you then.
5:09 p.m. PT They’re showing the gold medal match in women’s curling on the scoreboard screen at Canada Hockey Place. A win for the home side would be historic, in that Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 26, 2010 at 1:45 PM - 22 Comments
I met a Finnish guy last night at the bar at the Hotel Vancouver (I’m not staying there; I just like to stop by every now and then to stare at cashmere). The Finnish guy predicted a win for Finland in today’s men’s hockey semi-final. I’d had a few drinks so, what the hell, I agreed Finland was a mortal lock – and you don’t go back on that kind of a solemn commitment. I’m calling it: a Finland victory.
The game, assuming they decided to play it out anyway, begins at noon PT.
Twenty minutes til puck drop: Finland will be skating from left to right on your computer screen. Finland is in white, the U.S. is in blue and the crowd is in… red.
Breaking news: There are six players on the U.S. team named Ryan, and another with the surname Ryan. Seven Ryans. The best the Finns can do is two Jarkkos, two Samis, one Miikka and one Mikko. Not a good omen, Finland.
20:00 Canada Hockey Place is still filling up as the puck drops. Not especially raucous, but the bulk of the crowd is rooting for the United States – especially scalpers holding gold medal tickets and Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 26, 2010 at 1:01 AM - 14 Comments
The gold medal in ladies’ figure skating belongs, wholly and authoritatively, to Kim Yu-Na of South Korea – but at the Pacific Coliseum tonight, the crowd belonged to Joannie Rochette. Completing her program to thunderous applause, Rochette skated a small circle and blew a kiss to the sky as flowers fell to the ice from above.
On Sunday, Thérèse Rochette died from a heart attack at 55. Tonight, her daughter Joannie won bronze at the Winter Games. “I’m so proud,” Rochette said later, touching the medal around her neck. “I know this: My Mom was with me every step of the way tonight.”
Fifith in Turin, Rochette had been waiting four years for tonight’s four minutes. Competing to Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saëns, the Canadian skater took to the ice attired in something blue, skimpy and sparkly – basically, what a girl would wear in a rap video had rap been invented by Liberace. Rochette wasn’t flawless, but her athletic and casually energetic performance gave her Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:45 PM - 2 Comments
I am at the big Olympic final of ladies’ figure skating, because when push comes to shove you definitely want to turn to the guy whose expertise in the sport consists in its entirety of having seen Blades of Glory on an airplane.
But I learned something at the ladies’ free skate, apart from the fact the women in my life don’t wear near enough sequins or eyeliner: I learned that at figure skating competitions in the Olympics, you can for $20 buy a small radio and earpiece that enables you to hear real-life “figure skating experts” analyze each program as it is taking place. No more having to nudge mean European journalists to inquire, “Is that a triple lutz?” – which is especially awkward when the answer is, “No, it’s a single Zamboni.”
As a veteran of precisely zero figure skating competitions – not counting the ones in my dreams where Johnny Weir and I skate a doubles program against Optimus Prime and a Siberian tiger (we lose, but it’s tough to beat that kind of chemistry) – I thought, hey, earpiece, good idea. And it was! You could even email questions to Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:58 AM - 10 Comments
Welcome to the second Olympic mailbag, where, fine, I’ll be the one to ask even though we’re all thinking it: What would it take for our ice dancing gold medalists to make out just a little bit in front of us all on TV? I’m only talking about second base (unless it happens after 10 p.m.). They’re very pretty. Do it for your country, you selfish brats.
The following questions were actually submitted by actual readers. Remember – there’s no such thing as a stupid question, unless the question is: Should I pull my goalie after he’s given up four goals in a single period or should I wait til he’s surrendered six and the game is completely out of reach?
I heard that Lindsey Vonn tweeted about you today. What did she say again? – museme
Actually, that tweet was about her shin, though it’s easy to see how you could be confused: I, too, am tender beyond belief and painful to live with.
Given the newfound popularity of “cross” sports, when do you expect we’ll see the Skeleton Cross, and will you be participating? – Thwim
You know what I’d like to see? Biathlon cross. Every time they got to the shooting range, it would be like the climax of Bonnie and Clyde. In fact, why don’t we “cross” every event? Launch four Norwegians off Continue…
By Anne Kingston - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 10:09 AM - 1 Comment
(But they did, for a few terrifying hours, run out)
The email from a colleague arrived around 6. He had heard, via the Olympic grapevine, that Saxony House is so popular they’d run out of beer. What? A German pavilion without beer? So as Maclean’s intrepid party/Pilsner reporter, I hoofed it over to Stanley Park’s Vancouver Rowing Club—which has turned the space over for the Olympics—to investigate. My interrogation began with two staff in the main party room, where a band played Omp-pah-pah and Dire Straights covers and patrons were downing plenty of liquid barley. The line of questioning seemed to amuse them. “Are you a spy?” one of them asked. “She’s a spy!” the other declared.
Undeterred, I worked my way into the VIP lounge for the lowdown—and some fabulous sausage smeared in Saxony mustard (like Dijon, only more mellow). As it turns out, the rumour is true. Last Friday night, they exhausted the 270 kegs of Wernesgruner pilsner they’d imported, forcing beer-drinkers (i.e., everybody) to switch to Kostritzer, a dark beer for a few hours, Antje Rennack, assistant to the managing director, revealed. But the next day, another shipment arrived.
Mystery solved. But by this time I was enjoying myself nobbing among the Saxony VIPs, finding out more about the German state, and taking in the lovely views of English Bay. Since they can’t legally import sausage, a father-and-son team from Saxony (part of the VIP contingent) make it daily at a local German butcher using imported spices. They expect to go through two tons by the Games’ end.
Saxony House’s managing director Hans-Jürgen Goller arrived to field more questions. He’s been planning for the Olympics for three and a half years, he said. His first choice for a headquarters was the Roundhouse in Yaletown, now home to Casa Italia, but he wasn’t sure he could fill it nightly. Then there was a wrangle with the IOC over the fact that Saxony is not an IOC member.
But he seems happy where he is. The crowd is 90 per cent Canadian, 30 per cent of them of German origin, and 10 per cent German tourists. Usually there are line-ups. It’s far quieter on nights when Canada’s men’s hockey team plays, he says. “Canadian fans tend to stay in the city core. They want to be alone.”
He says one of the reasons Saxony set up at the Games is to stir awareness. Apparently it’s not yet on tourists’ radar. That’s a shame. If Saxony House is any indication, the actual place must be a blast.
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 8:16 PM - 20 Comments
UPDATE: My ears still hurt.
First Period in a Nutshell
Great to see Jonathan Toews given a chance to play with Rick Nash. He’s been very good but underused. Everyone in the rink standing for the opening faceoff! Incredibly noisy. Crowd’s “Let’s Go Canada!” chant fun but loud enough to cost me two fillings. You win this time, decibels! Boyle to Getzlaf at 2:21 of the first. 1-0 Canada. I’m sure there have been louder places to be: inside a jet engine, for instance, or across from Rosie O’Donnell at dinner. Canada utterly dominating the play and taking it to the Russians physically. This is the team we all thought we had. My ears are actually ringing. I look across the rink and see people coming back from the concession stand. HOW CAN PEOPLE GO TO THE CONCESSION STAND DURING THIS GAME??? IT’S CANADA-RUSSIA FOR CRISSSAKES!! Right now you get the feeling Brenden Morrow would run over an old lady if she had the slightest Russian accent. God, even Joe Thornton is playing well. Had Twitter on there for a minute and came up with a new rule: I’m no longer following anyone who tweets during the Russia-Canada game unless Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:39 PM - 6 Comments
You can’t put a price on drinking beer in the company of some old-time NHLers – unless you’re the operators of the Molson Canadian Hockey House at the Winter Games, in which case the price is $450. That’s how much it costs for an all-day VIP pass to a tent near Canada Hockey Place, where you can stand on plastic carpet, drink some beer from the open bar, eat overdone lemon chicken and potentially bend the ear of Stan Smyl. For the Canada-Russia game, they jacked up the price to $750.
Those of lesser means and greater sanity can enter the Hockey House for $99, which gives you the opportunity to a) pay $7.50 for a one (1) Molson Canadian and b) make fun of the idiots who paid $450 to stand on the other side of the velvet(ish) ropes. As one guy put it: “If I get to shake the hand of someone like Yvan Cournoyer, that makes it Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 2:40 PM - 4 Comments
There are some subtle differences between the Olympic media centres in Whistler and Vancouver. The biggest difference is size. Let me attempt to give you an illustration of what I mean.
Imagine the Whistler Media Centre to be the size of Gary Coleman. That would, by comparison, make the Vancouver Media Centre the size of a 5,000-foot tall Gary Coleman (* comparison may not be to scale, or useful in any way). Bottom line: It’s enormous.
It has a huge food court, dominated by McDonald’s. It has its own Olympic merchandise shop and bank and postal outlet. But I came upon the biggest and most important difference while wandering around on the second level, up where the press conferences are held.
There, off the beaten path, I came across a sign and a room that Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 6:14 PM - 33 Comments
The official Maclean’s liveblog of tonight’s win-or-else-continue-to-be-millionaires-with-no-lasting-repercussions game for members of Team Canada is being written by Yoni Goldstein. Think of him as Batman and me as his boyish ward. If it helps complete the picture in your mind, I’m wearing a mask and tight green shorts. (UPDATE: Jacques Rogge just handed me a robe.)
Note: I’d like to provide you with as much hilarious, never-watched-hockey-before cluelessness as Wells did last week, but alas I am both a Canadian and a guy.
OOPS: Turns out Yoni won’t be liveblogging, so I’m your only Maclean’s-based source for tonight – unless you want to dig up one of Coyne’s old posts and substitute in the word “hockey” wherever it says “equalization.” Which I recommend, by the way.
4:04 p.m. PT A comprehensive compilation of all the important information I have gleaned from tonight’s warmup, which is currently underway: Canada is wearing red.
4:15 Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States, including Danny Williams’ mitral valve. I am at Canada Hockey Place, sitting in primo seats reserved for the members of the Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 2:10 PM - 40 Comments
Submit your Olympics-themed queries below. And remember – there is no such thing as a stupid question, unless you’re asking whether Galen Weston should just keep on airing those ads where he crows about how his President’s Choice frozen salmon is going to help Canada’s skiers kick some international ass.
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:33 PM - 23 Comments
Leading hockey stat-wrangler Gabe Desjardins offers a sobering statistical treatment of Canada’s chances for hockey gold. It’s sobering because it’s not at all based on a pessimistic view of the preliminary round—which, indeed, went some way toward vindicating Steve Yzerman’s roster selection and had the useful effect of clearing away the irrelevant detritus of past trophies from the goaltending question. (When was the last time you saw a Canadian team dominate a U.S. one from goal line to goal line so decisively?) Even on the explicit, historically derived premise that Canada has the strongest team in the tournament, it would be hard to peg our chances of winning gold at much higher than 25%. On Desjardins’ pretty reasonable estimates of underlying national team strength, the figure is not close to 25%. I crunched the numbers, leaving room for the possibility of being helped somewhere along the way by an upset of a strong rival, and I get about 19%. That’s assuming we have a 100% chance of beating Germany tonight, when the real figure is probably more like 93-95%.
Even Canada supporters who don’t quantify this stuff instinctively have probably already grimaced at the terrible logic. What are the most generous possible probabilities you could assign to Canada beating Russia and beating Sweden? Even if it’s 70% for both, that leaves us, basically, with only a (.7)² shot at merely making the final. In other words, about 50-50.
The historic estimate of our chances in a single game against Russia, even taking into account some weak pre-Ovechkin Russian teams, isn’t 70%; it’s 57%. Which feels approximately right. Home ice helps, but a lot of the home-ice advantage is really a “home time-zone advantage”, and the Rooskies have had a week to adjust to the new clock. And the chance of Slovakia bumping Sweden out of our way helps too, but then, Slovakia isn’t chopped liver. The sky grows darker yet, and the sea rises higher.
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:00 AM - 6 Comments
Coach: I had a late lunch yesterday at a bar on Robson and overheard a few guys analyzing the performance of Canada’s men’s hockey team. I thought you’d appreciate hearing their input since they seemed pretty confident they had it all figured out. That’s why I took notes. I guess what I’m saying is: Give this a read and it’s pretty much “Good night, Germany.”
P.S. The language they used was a little saucy so I took the liberty of replacing the “f-word” with the names of various Osmonds.
Cast of characters: Guy in Detroit Red Wings cap (DRW); guy in Shea Weber Team Canada T-shirt (SW); guy in Just a Foul Mood (JFM).
DRW: Here’s one thing I don’t Donny get. This Merrill business about chemistry.
JFM: Marie right.
DRW: You’re making $40 million Jimmy dollars a year or whatever, you should be able to step on the Merrill ice and Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:37 PM - 24 Comments
It’s quite a shock to come to Vancouver from Whistler. Despite the Olympic presence, the mountain resort retains its small-town feeling. It’s crowded but there are few lines and fewer delays. Vancouver is a madhouse. The entire downtown is like the scene at the pier in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. Today, I counted 57 people in line… at a hot dog vendor.
Down the street, meanwhile, the queue for the Olympic Super Store at The Bay was at least two hours long. And what the people didn’t know – and I didn’t have the heart to tell them – was that another punishing lineup awaited: the one to pay. I walked slowly along the queue and, at the risk of feeding a stereotype, I can only tell you the truth: The women were, for the most part, cheery and chatty; as for the men – let’s just say I haven’t seen this many looks of distress and resignation on men since the invention of chastity.
I also spent some time at the Olympic cauldron. No one just comes to see the cauldron. People come to take photos of the cauldron – which, by the way, in person is even uglier than it appears on television. It looks like an industrial plumbing job gone horribly awry. With the fire shooting out the top, I think of it as the Devil’s Toilet.
As a photographic attraction, however, the cauldron is a blast to hang around, because it’s never a long wait to get an earful of Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:15 PM - 6 Comments
UPDATE: Mike T. wins – again! Are none of you man or woman enough to stop the Mike T. caption juggernaut?!
Lindsey Vonn and I are very happy together, thanks for asking, but I suppose we should nevertheless get some closure on the Caption Challenge. I’ve selected five finalists. Vote for your favourite. Winner as of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday gets some official Olympic merchandise valued in the Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM - 73 Comments
Lindsey Vonn, poster girl of the 2010 Winter Games, has just crashed out of the Ladies’ Super Combined. Gamely, she walks the media cattle chute to answer the same questions over and over, though – to be fair to reporters – they are sometimes asked with hilarious accents. Finally, she reaches the wretches of the print media. She is weary. She looks around. Once and then again she meets the gaze of Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:56 AM - 14 Comments
A makeshift sign outside the Archdiocese of Vancouver tells passersby they will find within “a chapel” and “a big screen TV.” The people who walked in Sunday afternoon weren’t looking for a chapel.
The big screen was tuned to CTV coverage of the Olympics. The Canada-U.S. hockey game was approaching. At first, the crowd was made up mostly of older couples. One man quietly read a copy of The B.C. Catholic. But as gametime neared, more families and younger people rolled into the Archdiocese, located just a few blocks from Canada Hockey Place. Nearby restaurants and bars were jammed. The lineup for Live City and its jumbo screen stretched around the block. As one father of two put it: “This place is our fallback plan.” “Mine too,” said the only guy in the room in a USA hockey sweater.
“Either of you Catholic?” I asked.
“Not so Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM - 18 Comments
Liveblog: Canada v. U.S. in women’s curling
Welcome to the debut of live curling coverage here at Macleans.ca. I spent about 15 minutes last night asking a friend about the finer points of this great Canadian tradition and I think I’ve decided that it’s one of two things: chess on ice, or glorified shuffleboard. Over the next three hours we’ll endeavour to settle this age-old debate.
12:01pm CTV is hyping this as Super Sunday. Warning: higher-than-usual likelihood of disappointment ahead.
12:05pm You are looking live at Sheet C where the Canadians and Americans are about to settle once and for all which is the better country in North America. The stones are off and sliding.
12:12pm We’re apparently all here to see Cheryl Bernard, who my friend Michael Grange has likened to Courtney Cox’s character on Cougar Town. And apparently that was a compliment. The complicated nature of femininity at the Olympics is officially the most intriguing storyline of these Games.
12:15pm Ms. Bernard was on just now yelling “Hard!” quite forcefully. I take no position on the sexiness of this. In other news, we’re scoreless at the end of one.
12:24pm The crowd so far seems fairly well-behaved. Apparently we made a Danish curler cry last night. I’m generally of the opinion that if you can’t handle crowd noise, you shouldn’t be competing in any sport that takes place before an audience (which, I believe, is almost all of them) and that any sport that requires silence from its viewers is somehow less worthy of being called “sport.” But I’m open to being convinced otherwise.
12:30pm The U.S. slides the last one untouched through the House, but still gets a point. Americans leads 1-0 at the end of two.
12:33pm The U.S. skip is said to struggle with her draw weight. So that’s apparently what happened with that last shot.
12:42pm Ms. Bernard hits a perfect shot to take out an American stone and Canada has three in scoring position. I’m impressed. Even if I’m not entirely sure what’s going on.
12:44pm The American skip slides another one through, Bernard draws one perfectly and Canada leads 4-1.
12:50pm CTV is now showing us Skicross qualifications. Getting back to our discussion about femininity and the Olympics, that Danish curler apparently once posed topless.
12:58pm Back to curling. A scoreless fourth end, Canada holds its 4-1 advantage.
1:07pm Organizers are apparently urging fans to keep quiet. Russ Howard, doing colour commentary, seems noise-positive. Or at least noise-tolerant. Everybody seems to agree it’s better to have more fans with noise than less fans without noise. Strange to hear sensible sports commentary.
1:14pm Another nice shot by Bernard, another mistake by the Americans and it’s 6-1.
1:27pm And then there’s this: a male snowboarder has departed Vancouver, of his own accord or at official behest, after vaguely sexual pictures of him frolicking with his bronze medal were published by TMZ. Feel free to try to square that with all of the above.
1:33pm Bernard has apparently done “extreme hiking” in Brazil and kayaked in the Arctic. So basically, curling is the least athletic thing she does in her spare time.
1:36pm Bernard removes an American stone and Canada lies three, but the American skip curls one in to make it 6-2.
1:47pm Two American stones and two Canadian stones piled up above the button. Terribly complicated discussion ensues within Canadian team as to what they should do. This is fascinating. Even if, as noted, I don’t entirely understand what they’re saying.
1:51pm Canadians take out an American stone to the left of the pile. Americans try to break up the pile with marginal success. There’s not a lot of crude language in curling. This is why they can be hooked up to live microphones and athletes in other sports can’t.
1:54pm Bernard hits a nice shot and lies three. The process is outrageously complicated, even if the ultimate goal is very obvious and understandable. The appropriate analogy is possibly love or marriage or foreign aid.
1:58pm Canada takes three and apparently that’s it, 9-2. Canada is redeemed as the dominant force in North American curling and I have watched my first full curling match. That seemed spectacularly easy. Cheryl Bernard is like Courtney Cox crossed with Michael Jordan. Or something.