Saturday, February 20, 2010
Watching a replay of Montgomery's night right now. Jenn Hedger says that at this point he can do whatever he wants.
He smirks and I can imagine what he's thinking as he gives the girl with the giant hands the eye.
After poor Melissa Hollingsworth showed us the heartbreak of these Games, joining Wotherspoon and Felicien and others whose dreams ended in sorrow Jon Montgomery showed us the absolute best that these Olympics have to offer.
Smalltown boy with a quick grin and a closeknit family and a thirst for beer gave us what may be the greatest moment of these Games and certainly his walk through Whistler will be remembered for years to come. I have never seen anything like that, ever. Absolutely brilliant and another example of what is becoming very clear. Despite the tragedy on the luge track and the weirdness of the pickup track and the fiasco with the Olympia ice surfacer these Games have become a success and they have become a success where it matters most, with the athletes and the spectators. On the ground, as it were, its terrific.
I've enjoyed the Games so far. Canadians have done well. For every athlete that has fallen a little short, another has exceeded expectations, which is always the way. Just look at Julia Mancuso who has been a one woman wrecking crew. Nobody saw that coming.
Montgomery is an interesting cat. He's really a mix of what used to be Canadian and what Canada is becoming. Canada when I was growing up was a smalltown country, nearly completely white. We ate meat and potatoes and canned vegetables. Spaghetti was exotic. We were quiet and while we were proud of being Canadian our patriotism was restrained and at times indifferent, a reflection, I think, of the staid Protestant roots of a dominant Ontario, dull and grey.
In the years that have passed since I was a boy this country has changed and continues to change before my eyes. Even in the smaller towns and cities new Canadians are changing the face of the country and for the better I might add. Our kids eat Pad Thai and butter chicken and we have to get on the Ethiopian kick next I think, as a new joint opens in our neighbourhood every second week. Ease of travel means that what was once rare has become commonplace, Canadians going far afield and seeing the world. The wealth and future of what is now an urban country is edging away from the centre and into a bold and proud west and north and yes, even east. Canadian cities are vibrant and thriving and so is our country, even as we struggle through difficult economic times.
And Jon Montgomery is a reflection of this new Canada. From the west. Bold and bright and quick with a joke and self deprecating all at the same time, he reflects the best of this country, the confident young smart man who has conquered the physical domain, the young man secure in himself and in his future.
For us older folk (and I'm not really that old I know but I am old enough to remember different times) its an interesting thing to see. Our country has gone from being quiet to a pride that was at times insecure and smug and now is passing into a new and different patriotism. It marks my age I guess that although I am a fierce patriot I am a little uncomfortable with the chest thumping and the offputting Own The Podium campaign. Having said that when I read Canadians putting our country down I find it even more frustrating. I guess I'm of a generation that believes that we live in the world's greatest country (and I know all of you non Canucks will have varying mileage here, I would expect nothing less of course ;) ) but are quite happy to keep that little secret a little closer to the heart, to quote another great Canadian.
Posted by Black Dog at 2:10 PM