Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the games begin

Save for a few "take out the trash" announcements, I really don't expect a lot to be going on politically over the next two weeks. So expect a low volume of political content on this blog for the duration of the Olympics - after all, if Stephen Harper can take 3 months off politics to focus on the games, the rest of us are certainly entitled to a 2 week break.

So, with no election speculation, cabinet shuffle speculation, or Stockwell Day murse speculation to indulge in, what's a pundit to do? Well, how about torch bearer speculation?

Rumours are running rampant over who will light the torch in tonight's opening ceremonies. Let's run down the field:

Wayne Gretzky (3-1): He's the greatest athlete to ever play Canada's game and, short of giving William Shatner the honour, he'd be the most recognizable Canadian to an international audience. Still, his Olympic track record is underwhelming: 4th place in '98, and while he did pick the winning team in 2002, let's face it, picking a gold medal caliber Canadian men's hockey team is kind of like running as a Conservative in Medicine's hard to really mess up. Plus, Gretzky's candidacy has no doubt been hurt by the "Just Visiting" attack ads the Terry Fox foundation has been running against him all week.

Betty Fox (3-1): Having Terry Fox's mother symbolically complete his cross-country run in Vancouver would have everyone reaching for the Kleenex. There's also been some talk of James Cameron creating a Terry Fox hologram to light the torch. But knowing Cameron's level of modesty, don't be surprised if there's a James Cameron avatar standing right beside Terry as he does it.

Aboriginal athlete (6-1): Sydney did it in 2000, and it's certainly the "Canadian" thing to do. Other good Canadian options include having 10 or 20 torch lighters to ensure every possible group is represented, or calling a Royal Commission to make the decision and then just never getting around to lighting it.

Rick Hansen (20-1): Having already lit the Richmond flame, the Man in Motion is probably out of contention. For better or worse, this means no performance of St. Elmo's Fire tonight.

Nancy Greene (35-1): She's got the Olympic CV for the job, but I'm concerned she'll be too busy with her arduous Senate workload to have the time for it.

Joe Sakic or Trevor Linden (50-1): There's been some buzz around these local stars but, really, if it's an NHLer it has to be Wayne. I'm just disappointed no one got a "Rory Fitzpatrick for torch bearer" campaign going.

Stephen Harper (100-1): Long odds, but no one who has watched this government over the past four years would be at all surprised...


  • Looking at the calendar, there are only 17 sitting days gone because of this prorogation. What is this "three months" you speak of? Do Liberals have access to a magical calender that we're not privy to?

    By Anonymous Michael Harkov, at 9:58 a.m.  

  • I remember a comment that the organizers were saying everyone would automatically say something like: "yes, that's the obvious choice, why didn't I think of it?"

    With that in mind, I'm assuming it will be a surprise, meaning not Gretzky. How about Paul Henderson, or maybe even Steve Nash?

    By Blogger OmarF, at 10:43 a.m.  

  • Anybody know what Ross Rebagliati is up to these days?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 a.m.  

  • Great, now I have St. Elmo's Fire stuck in my head. Thanks alot.

    It's interesting to watch the Gretzky's backlash that's kicking around as hockey people don't really know how to handle it as he's still thought of through the "good old boy from Brantford" where as the reality is that he's been a LA/NYC dude for a while now.

    By Anonymous Sven, at 11:20 a.m.  

  • Ross was never shy about lighting one up, after all...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:42 a.m.  

  • In Calgary, Rick Hansen was one of the final group carrying the torch round McMahon Stadium, so I don't think he has a chance.

    Gretsky seems to be the choice of the Eastern media, but out here in BC, most people think that would be pretty disappointing. We want someone who represents the province.

    By Blogger jad, at 11:51 a.m.  

  • Don Cherry! ;)

    By Anonymous Michael Harkov, at 11:56 a.m.  

  • Well, I see Nash has already run. I only read the Globe at lunch. That takes out one of my picks.

    By Blogger OmarF, at 12:11 p.m.  

  • Hedy Fry would be a good choice, with a burning cross instead of the Olympic flame.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:45 p.m.  

  • Reports are it won't be Gretzky. I'm hoping for the Betty Fox/hollogram scenario.

    By Anonymous BC Liberal, at 12:55 p.m.  

  • Who picks the torch-bearer anyway?

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 2:09 p.m.  

  • We want someone who represents the province.

    Who cares?

    Don't be so provincial, fuck. Canadians really are some of the stupidest and close-minded people at times.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 4:02 p.m.  

  • Well, someone who could represent the sports, the area, the province AND the country would be nice - and Nancy Greene would be the obvious choice, so not likely.

    No Quebecois choices on the list? Perhaps Gaetan Boucher or Myriam (don't call me crazy) Bedard?

    My personal choice would be Barbara Anne Scott -- yeah, she carried the torch into the House of Commons, but wasn't that freakin' wonderful! She deserves an encore.

    Whoever it is, some will say 'Great choice', others 'WTF' -- I say, let's get it done and let the games begin. It's gonna be a great two weeks.

    Go CANADA Go.

    (just had to be a little 'provincial') :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:49 p.m.  

  • Zombie Pierre Trudeau.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 6:02 p.m.  

  • Some of the segments on the pre-show seem to suggest a ski setup which could be part of the lighting ceremony.

    By Blogger Paul, at 8:17 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Paul, at 12:21 a.m.  

  • And in stereotypical fashion, it was lit by committee after an appropriate pause to acknowledge mechanical failures.

    By Blogger Paul, at 12:22 a.m.  

  • Oh come on. jj had three of the five. And Wayne didn't get killed by his drivers as he stood without a safety belt in the back of the truck.

    Although I do wonder at the colour commentators mentioning how the torch was burning so unusually long during the travel through the street show at the end. Did they not notice the person with the extra torch he switched off to?

    I wonder if anyone noticed the Aboriginal dancers were dancing through their whole segment. Seems like it was an honest dance of honour and sacrifice for the athletes and games.

    By Blogger Niles, at 1:12 a.m.  

  • Different people paid attention to different things.

    Yes, the commentators clearly missed the two torch handoffs to The Great One - one, before leaving BC Place, the other en route.

    And many of the First Nations dancers could be seen to be taking at least short breaks at various times through the overall ceremony. They sure did a Great job!

    By Blogger Paul, at 4:30 p.m.  

  • Here, I don't really believe this will work.

    By Anonymous, at 6:21 a.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 11:40 p.m.  

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