September 22, 2009

Canada Protects Home Advantage at Olympics : Count the American speedskater Catherine Raney among the athletes, coaches and officials of several sports surprised by Canada's approach to hosting the Winter Games in February. Raney, who spent more than 7 years living in Canada and training with the Canadian national team, was told after the 2006 Olympics that the Canadians did not want foreign athletes training with them leading to the 2010 Games in Vancouver. She and many other foreign athletes had expected to spend quite a bit of time practicing at the Olympic sites, but have been granted only minimal access. "They're playing nasty," said Raney, now living and training in Utah. "I think every one of us would love to prove to them that what they did wasn't right, and we're ready to show it on the ice." A decades-old open-access agreement between the luge teams of the United States and Canada has come undone. Americans said that most Canadian athletes took 60 to 100 extra practice runs in Utah before the 2002 Salt Lake Games. Canada offered the United States 18 this time, in a trade for 18 Canadian runs at this year's world championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Americans refused. "It just doesn't seem like it's in the Olympic spirit," said Derek Parra, who won gold and silver speedskating medals for the United States in 2002 and now coaches the team. "It's un-Olympic." Among Parra's charges is Raney, who remains close friends with Canadians whom she will race against in February. She might have provided the sharpest rebuke to her neighbors to the north. "It's Un-Canadian," Raney said, laughing. "Isn't it?"

posted by tommytrump to olympics at 09:08 PM - 9 comments

I guess it's time to kick some Canadian booty.

posted by jjzucal at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2009

As the Olympics become more and more infested with "sponsors" who's primary goal is to promote products by their sponsored athletes winning gold, we're going to see the home teams try to give themselves an advantage over everyone else. How else are they going to support the Olympic teams that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain each year.

posted by stalnakerz at 10:58 AM on September 23, 2009

I think this is acceptable to be honest. Isn't the whole point to have home team advantage?

You're right stalnakerz: I remember previous olympics you weren't allowed to eat any fast food other than McDonalds (love how they promote the olympics, because the first thing I think of when I think of McDonalds is health and athleticism), no coke from that rival company etc...

It's pitiful. I'll probably watch the Olympics as it'll be on at a sensible time, and in Canada we should get great streaming coverage online (CBC's coverage of the summer games was exceptional. ALL events were streamed).

But my interest in the Olympics is considerably less than it was, say, 20 years ago. Now it's just another means to sell stuff.

posted by Drood at 01:55 PM on September 23, 2009

Canada has an Olympic team?

Thought this entire Vancouver Olympics deal was simply a means for politicians to funnel taxpayer $$ to their buddies.

posted by cixelsyd at 03:20 PM on September 23, 2009

Canada has an Olympic team?

Thought this entire Vancouver Olympics deal was simply a means for politicians to funnel taxpayer $$ to their buddies.

The two things are not mutually exclusive.

posted by juv3nal at 03:36 PM on September 23, 2009

Drood, You can have a home team advantage without shutting out opponents from testing on the tracks. Since the Luge and Bobsled courses are typically built or modified for that year's events, this would be like opening a new track for F1 or Nascar and not allowing anyone to test (I know F1's done it in the past, but it doesn't make it right). Considering the number of runs USA gave Canada in the 2002 games and the open access agreement between the two countries, this just sounds downright dirty, even if there is a valid reason why.

posted by stalnakerz at 05:04 PM on September 23, 2009

Home team advantage? Two words:

Montreal. 1976.

Technically that's a proper noun and a number, but you know what I mean. Pedants.

posted by owlhouse at 05:04 PM on September 23, 2009

Montreal. 1976.

Oh yeah? I'll see your Montreal 1976 and raise you a Calgary 1988 .

posted by tommybiden at 05:52 PM on September 23, 2009

Big Canada wants to do well in Vancouver, who can blame them? Our U.S. team always brings a small army of athletes to the Olympics and takes most of the medals, and now we're complaining about not getting equal training time?

My family and I visited Vancouver this summer and had a terrific time. Canadians are the nicest people in world to tourists, and much nicer than I've seen Americans treat people from other countries. We got a chance to visit the new speedskating venue in Richmond, which is an engineering marvel, and they emphasized how important it was for Canada to represent itself well at home, and I hope they do. Not only that, but my favorite F1 Grand Prix is back on the 2010 schedule for Montreal, so I'm looking forward to visiting another one of my favorite Canadian cities again.

posted by eccsport78 at 10:14 PM on September 23, 2009

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