Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wayne Gretzky Starts the Fire!

Like many Canadians I was waiting with anticipation to see who would be final torch bearer. After watching a brilliant show for the Opening Ceremonies, finally it was time. To me, it had to be Wayne. I don't know if there has ever been a more celebrated athlete in the history of our country, and he is the all-time greatest player at our country's most celebrated game.

At the moment the torch entered the stadium floor, I saw the man in motion Rick Hansen. I could not get upset at the selection of Rick, a man that I have tremendous respect for. He wheeled into the stadium, but then passed the flame on to Katrina Lemay Down. I was thinking "okay, I like and respect her accomplishments, but over Wayne?" Then she passed the flame to Steve Nash and I thought "no. Great athlete, but he abandoned the Canadian basketball team in the Beijing qualifying." Then he passed the flame to Nancy Green and I thought "she is amazing, and though I'd prefer it be Wayne, I can't complain about Nancy."

But when Nancy passed the flame on to Wayne, I was extremely excited! After a brief delay in the hydraulics, they all lit the interior flame, but it was Wayne who made the final trek to the waterfront to light the main cauldron. It was borderline magical to see Wayne travel through downtown Vancouver in the pouring rain carrying the Olympic flame. I kind of wish that I had stayed downtown for that moment, but the weather was foul and I wanted to watch the Ceremonies on my TV in my living room.

Then after the Ceremonies, Bill Simmons at ESPN Tweets about what a catastrophe the event was because there was a 4 minute delay raising the internal cauldron. I am normally a fan of Simmons, but he arrogantly rated the "catastrophe" as 96 out of 100. Then he posted an old article of his about how he hates the Winter Olympics, it is a joke, etc. So I opened I-Tunes, clicked on the BS Report, and clicked "unsubscribe". He won't be watching, he wants to make a public statement about it, so I will no longer be listening. It is a shame, because that was one of my favourite podcasts. I will also be boycotting his sponsor, Subway sandwiches. Mr. Sub is my new preferred sandwich destination!


  1. Kind of an over reaction. as a simmons listener shouldn't you know it was a joke?

  2. I didn't say that I would never listen again. Now that the NFL season is over, he will spend the next few months dwelling on basketball and soccer, two sports I care nothing for.

  3. I've been in 2 hotels at the same time as Wayne and he was the most ungracious person I have ever encountered.
    It was a huge surprise and a bigger disappointment.
    Perhaps he has mellowed since retiring but after my experience as a fan, he would not have been my choice.

  4. I can't speak to how nice a guy Wayne may or may not be. I did get his autograph when I was 9 years old and he never even made eye contact with me. Walter was really nice though.

    I just worship what he did on the ice. I think you will find a lot of elite athletes have developed similar aloof personalities (with exceptions of course).

  5. I am not a fan of Gretzky because he seems to have abandoned Canada for greener pastures down south just like Iggy but is not averse to the adoration heaped on him by Canadians who are proud of his international status.

    Iceman ... wanna bet how many medals we will get? I am going for 28 grand total.

  6. A suitable arrangement to create a combo of representative Canadian spirit and patriotism was arrived at. The cauldron got lit and there were no glitches, so I have no complaints. Stars like Gretzky are who they are, standing on their own merits of grit and achievement in their respective sports competitions. We have no Tiger Woods (that we know of) and I'd be happy to exclude any personality deficiencies and private pursuits from the selection criteria. The stature of one Terry Fox endures as the epitomy of true Canadianism.

  7. Fuck Bill Simmons.

    But one other thing: I think Betty Fox should have been the final torchbearer -- although to have Rick Hansen (former Wheelchair Basketball teammate of Terry Fox) as one of the final four was still pretty sweet.

  8. WG is about as Canadian as Ignatieff. How disappointing.

  9. I can't get too excited about Gretzky.Great goalscorer but a bit of a pantywaist as a hockey player and certainly his post hockey activities leave a lot to be desired.

    But I get nauseous at seeing General Dallaire honoured in any way for what surely was the one of the most cowardly acts ever in Canadian History. I assume Belgum is not represented at the Games becuse noone upslapped the SOB

  10. Yeah - I too wanted to puke when I saw Romeo Dallaire. A total ahole if ever there was one. He is amongst one of the top ten people I love to hate.

  11. "But I get nauseous at seeing General Dallaire honoured in any way for what surely was the one of the most cowardly acts ever in Canadian History. I assume Belgum is not represented at the Games becuse noone upslapped the SOB"

    Fuck that and fuck Belgium.

    Their troops conducted unauthorized live fire exercises while the peacekeeping contingent was critically undersupplied with ammunition. Left the UN forces with enough ammunition for a 60-second firefight.

    It's kind of hard to ride out to the rescue of your Belgian troops who aren't supposed to be on that mission in the first place (they were, after all, the colonizing state) when you're practically unarmed because they used up all your ammo.

    Dallaire spent his entire mission under-supplied with not only ammunition, but with the most basic supplies -- like water.

    Then they had the temerity to declare the blue beret of the UN to be a "symbol of cowardice" while they were the ones who were running for bloody cover, while Dallaire bunkered in the thick of mortar fire.

    Fuck. Them.

  12. Patrick, I am inclined to agree with you. I believe Romeo did everything he could. I would peg more blame on the Clinton Administration who was so spooked by Blackhawk Down that they willingly ignored a horrific genocide. I don't blame Romeo. While I may not agree with his politics since the incident, I harbour no ill will towards the man and I respect his service.

    I did not intend to start a debate about Romeo Dallaire when I wrote a post about how excited I was to see Wayne light the torch. I have to say, I was not expecting this much animosity towards the Great One.