With the results of the women's Olympic 10k open water swimming marathon coming in today, there seems to be some consternation that Canada is not doing so well in the "Cottage Olympics." Indeed, with Canada's Zsofia Balasz finishing 18th, you wonder if she had a cottage at which to train, at all.
It's been brought to my attention by my Yahoo Sports compatriot Andrew McKay, that Canada should be doing better in these Olympics, simply because of all the "cottage-like" events being held. If there's one thing that binds Canadians together better than Timmy's, The Grey Cup, Hockey Night in Canada or even a good ol' fashioned dust up about CBC funding, it's the cottage life.
[Slideshow: Canada's medal winners in London]
Fist of all, I quarrel with the notion that we should be doing better in the so called cottage events. Adam van Koeverden's silver in kayak and Mark Oldershaw's bronze in canoe are excellent examples of Canadian mastery at such things cottage-related.
"Ahh," you say, "but they didn't win those events." Good point.
My counter to that would be that they are excellent, excellent results against powerful and comparable competition. Pretty sure that Norwegians and Germans have cottages, too. The only disappointment in that vein might be Oldershaw finishing behind David Cal Figueroa, of Spain. I may be wrong in this, but I picture Spain being a country of sprawling summer villas, as opposed to rustic, portage-worthy cabins. I plan on visiting Spain prior to the next Olympics, so I'll let you know what I find, in 2016.
Mr. McKay brught up trampoline as a "cottage event," as well. A stretch, don't you think, in trying to jerry-rig a little Olympic cottage event pride? Does the cottage set really get to claim that Rosie MacLennan's gold comes in an discipline that sees weekend warriors flying through the air all over the Canadian Shield? Maybe I don't spend enough time at people's cottages, but damned if I can report a lot of trampoline equipment scattered about.
Maybe I'm discounting all that drunken bouncing on inflatable whatchamacallit's out on the lake. However the aim of that is to not land on the thing, but rather, in the water. So, I'm more likely to credit those with building the diving resolve and trickery of the likes of Emilie Heymans, Jennifer Abel, Meighan Benfeito and Roseline Filion. If they ever make cannonball an Olympic event I have some relatives who would shockingly, suddenly, be thrust into the national limelight due to their wake-making prowess.
If you consider beach volleyball a cottage sport, fine. We're a disappointment there. Except for one small, little detail. The sand that the IOC trucks in for Olympic volleyball competitions is a special, extra smooth, non-sticky version, with perfectly formed and sized grains. I challenge the beach volleyball powers that be to beat Canada on a court filled with uneven sand, chock full of pebbles, shells and goose dung. Maybe even the odd beer bottle cap. That is real cottage beach volleyball.
Badminton is a staple at the cottage, yes. If you're to make the argument that Canada should have done better - much better in light of the scandal that had a number of teams disqualified - I will merely say this: Yes, Canadians play a lot of badminton at the cottage. Or, rather, they attempt to. Face it, every badminton game starts with good intentions, but always, always, quickly disintegrates into the rackets being used to ward off squadrons of blackflies. In fact, most badminton rackets at the cottage are not for playing at all. They're leaning up against a post on the deck and used solely for the purpose of repelling insects with extreme prejudice.
If Toronto is successful in landing the 2024 Olympic Games - should the city even go ahead and make an attempt - I would endorse, wholeheartedly, that dock building/maintenance be introduced as a demonstration sport. We could hold it in Huntsville, or Gravenhurst, Ontario. Heck, anywhere in MP Tony Clement's riding. It's already in terrific condition due to all the G20 spending back in 2010 and I'm sure a few more million could be earmarked for his good constituents for such an impressive event as Olympic dock building/maintenance. Heck, competitors could be made to wear "Canada's Action Plan" uniforms.
Some other cottage sports in which I believe Canadians would dominate:
Euchre, cribbage, charades, Pictionary, Jenga, Connect-Four or any other game that gets played at the kitchen table when the rains come in.
Beer Run: There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that moves faster than a Canadian who realizes he's out of beer and the store is about to close.
Marco Polo, not water polo. It's debatable as to whether the call of a loon is actually heard more often than that of a Canadian cottage Marco Polo player.
Synchronized barbecuing, individual event. I don't know about you, but I know I, personally, can work at least two grills at the same time. Can't every Canadian cottager worth their rib eye?
But that's pie in the sky wishin'. We missed our chance to have all these sports included in the Olympics when Dick Pound was a muckity-muck with the IOC. It is his greatest failing that he was not able to convince his masters of the value of frisbee skunk.
[Slideshow: Olympians around London]
So, cry if you will, over Canada's so-called weak showing in the Olympic cottage life events. You are a little premature, however. There's one more open water event coming. The men's 10k marathon.
Come on, Richard Weinberger, make us proud cottagers. Show 'em who's boss of the cabin at the Hyde Park Serpentine course. Richard's from Victoria, B.C., so the cottage nation should be celebrating a podium finish with a nice cold one on the dock. Unless training in the mighty Pacific Ocean is somehow offset by some kind of intangible we don't know about.
"It's only a couple metres deep, but I'm afraid to touch the bottom," said Weinberger, of the Hyde Park course. "It just freaks me out."
Uh oh. Time to lobby hard for the beer run.
More London Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Canada Sports
• Blake in trouble for wearing 500K watch
• Can Canada feel good without being overly golden?
• Video: Gold medal kiss caught on camera
• Photos: Canada's bronze medal victory over France
- Sports & Recreation
- Hockey Night in Canada