Canadian triathlete Simon Whitfield took doping tests just before he left for China, again a couple days before his race this week, and, because he won a medal, right after taking his silver.
|STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR|
|Simon Whitfield: No dope.|
Some athletes have complained about being regularly drained of blood and having to pee in cups. Not Whitfield. “I wanna get drug tested over and over again,” he said. “I want them to put a little GPS thing on my wrist and then say track me down. It’s inconvenient but I tell you what, it’s inconvenient if people affect you by cheating.”
Speaking of triathlon, former IOC member Paul Henderson of Toronto was giving huge kudos to International Triathlon Union President Les McDonald, the Vancouverite who practically forced the sport into the Olympics (and for that, Simon Whitfield and a grateful nation should give thanks).
Henderson said the Chinese wanted to have triathlon finish at Tiananmen Square but that McDonald wanted no part of what would’ve been a political statement. He demanded the best, said Henderson, and the venue the Chinese ultimately delivered was “the best I have ever seen in any sport,” Henderson wrote in one of his regular, highly-entertaining emails that pillory politicians who don’t provide needed cash for sport but gladly show up to hobnob with athletes.
After the race, while he said Canadian Olympic Committee types were patting themselves and Whitfield on the back, Henderson said he saw McDonald standing alone. “I went down to Les and put my arms around him congratulated him on his years of dedication as the rest of the shallow COC and Canadians took credit,” Henderson wrote in his Tuesday email.
“There were tears in his eyes, as kindred spirits, as he knew at age 78 his days at the top of International Sport were over and that Canada would not recognize what he had accomplished.
“Les should get the Order of Canada,” Henderson said. “He is a great Canadian.”
The China Daily every day has Language tips so Chinese can learn English, or maybe so English speakers can get around in Beijing. It’s kinda hard to tell. But a recent one was quite fun.
Labelled as “Cheers”, it contained translations for “Have a mouthful,” “Drink a round” and “Let’s raise the glasses.” There also was a question you could pose to a friend: “Are you good at drinking?”
It’s one thing to finish behind the Americans and the Chinese. But it’s got to grate on the nerves of the Aussies to see the Brits gathering gold medals by the bucketful. The Aussies are steaming mad that the Brits have taken from a long sporting tradition by borrowing Australian coaches and bringing them to Britain as they aim for great success in London for the 2012 Games.
But wasn’t it the Aussies who lured some of Canada’s best to the land Down Under in advance of the Sydney Games? It’s the way it is, mates. You guys did it. The Brits are doing it. Canada will do it if we ever get the Summer Olympics, and you can bet some of the folks behind the 2015 Pan American Games bid are still hoping to some day grab the big show for Toronto.
The Brits, naturally, have no intention of rubbing the Australian’s noses in it. Far from it. Especially not the tabloids. After the Brits surpassed Sydney in the medal standings the other day, the Sun newspaper in London carried the following headline, “G’day, Sport.”
Softball came into these Games trying to prove it had grown more competitive. And there was the U.S., once again marching through the competition like Sherman through Georgia (too bad Atlanta recovered to beat Toronto for the 1996 Olympics, but there you go).
The Americans did require extra innings to beat Japan yesterday, which at least someone could – and probably will – point to as a potential changing of the guard. Ideally, as far as international softball is concerned, someone other than the U.S. will win gold. But the Americans in the tourney outscored the opposition 57-2, according to Associated Press, so best not to put any money on it.
Canada was a huge disappointment. But they may have done their sport a favour - and possibly helped Canadian girls get to the Games in 2016 - by losing to Australia and giving a country outside North America something to cheer about. Softball isn’t on the Olympic program for 2012, but it could be voted back at an IOC meeting in the fall of 2009. A more competitive, interesting medal round would go a long way to making that happen.
McDonald’s likes to give out notebooks to reporters at the Olympics, and they always come in handy. Often there are coupons for free Big Macs and all that. This time, it came complete with useful translations for words like hello and goodbye and congratulations (pretty handy if you’re attending any event where Chinese athletes are competing).
There also were phrases in Chinese, such as “Where is the nearest subway station,” and “Do you speak English.” The best, however, was the following: “I would like to order a ….”, followed by Chinese translations for Big Mac, French Fries and Corn Cup. Oh, and at the end, there was a translation for “I’m lovin’ it.” Sigh.
COME SAIL AWAY
While Henderson raved about the triathlon venue, and others, COC president Mike Chambers was telling the Star about how fabulous things were down in Qingdao, site of the Olympic sailing venue. “Our sailors told they’ve never seen anything better. There was a huge, huge, brand new loading facility for the boats. They built the race course close to shore and put up stands so people could watch. And the village was a luxury hotel.” The ocean was already there to begin with, we’re told. But I bet if they’d had to, the industrious Chinese would’ve built one of those, too.
Asked to describe the Chinese men’s sabre team, their coach, Christian Bauer, replied, “They are mentally weak.”
After she lost the gold medal in the women’s 50 metre freestyle by 0.01 of a second the other day, American swimmer Dara Torres replied, “Maybe I shouldn’t have filed my fingernails last night.”
In the too much information department, comes the following comment from Ukrainian jumper Jean-Claude Van Geenberghe. Asked about his horse, Quintus, Van Geenberghe replied, “At first he was not quite a good horse. He was not very careful. Now he is my second wife.”
After winning a gold medal, Australian sailor Malcolm Page was queried about future plans. “I am going to get fat,” he said.