The Last Olympic Post


I don't see the point in this article. It strikes me as a tad excessive in its nit picking of Italian irreverence. Not to mention condescending and ungrateful to an Olympic host.

Torino, as a major industrial and manufacturing hub, is not the first place people think of when they plan their romantic get away to Italy. I told my wife to expect an article or two along the lines of this one before the games started. Thanks for stating the obvious Canadian Press that Torino was not like Lillehammer.

Interestingly and ironically, Italy has many other places that would have matched Lillehammer. Alas, this is not the first time Canadian sports journalists take their stab at Italy. Rare is it where I find a thoughtful piece about Italy in Canada's national sports pages. I wonder how they would react if an international journalist wrote such a piece about stunningly beautiful Vancouver in 2010.

For once, it would be nice for mainstream editorial boards to write with more care when it comes to Italy. Perhaps they should consider placing a permanent reporter there so as to pick up on the many intricate nuances that make up the Italian character - or at the very least consult someone who knows a thing or two about Italy.

As for the article's attempt to draw a link between Italy's alleged indifference to the games with poor medal counts consider this. There were 84 gold medals up for grabs at Torino. Germany won the most with 11. A total of 18 countries won at least 1 gold for an average of 4.6. Italy won 5. Fans had plenty to cheer about and be proud of. Historically, Italy has won 36 gold and 100 medals. This places them in the top 10 nations.

Incidentally, I have noticed that people attempt to judge a nation's performance by dividing the number of medals won into the population. This is erroneous because it does not consider that finite number of medals available. Countries with big populations will always 'under perform' next to tiny countries. That's why you see countries like Bermuda top such lists. In order for giant countries to measure according to this method they would have to win over 75% of the medals. I hope to revisit this in detail soon.

Let's take a look at the countries who are usually ahead in the rankings. Most are Nordic or Northern countries like Norway, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Finland, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Italy holds its own among these nations. They were expected to win 10 medals in Torino - they won 11. While it may be far from the 20 won in Lillehammer, it's still in historical range and a decent number for a Southern European nation - though it is also considered an Alpine state.

In the land that gave the world brilliant motorbikes, exotic high performance cars, beautiful bicycles, legendary soccer moments and clubs and superb athletes, they did just fine. Italians in different parts of the country just have a different way of showing it. The reporter took on a subject that proved too big to handle.

-Watching the closing ceremonies I noticed that they handed off the games to Vancouver. During the part where the guy who was cracking the ice, it would also have been cool to unleash starving polar bears on an unsuspecting caribou tribe - or seals. Good old fashion carnage. Now that's a good way to capture the world's attention. Canada: Land of unforgiving frost, permanent Arctic darkness, dancing Natives and carnage. Works for me.

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