Thursday, February 18, 2010

6 comments Jay Mariotti Blames Canada

Jay Mariotti is a completely negative person. He uses any chance he can get to find the negative in any situation. Fortunately for him, someone died at the Olympics in Canada, which means he has a great chance to take out his anger at the entire nation of Canada. Unfortunately for us, we have to read it. I personally have no feelings about the nation of Canada. I do know they have the 2nd highest total of visits to this blog among all the countries in the world (Dead last? Slovenia. I am still building a fan base there, so give me some more time.), so that will always leave them with a fond place in my heart. Not to mention it was the setting for the movie "Strange Brew" which for some bizarre reason my parents allowed me to watch when I was under the age of 12, which lead to a battle from the age of 11 until I turned 21 to get my hands on as much beer as possible. So I like Canada, unfortunately Jay Mariotti doesn't.

Of course we should remember Mariotti quit his last newspaper job a few weeks after the 2008 Summer Olympics ended and after he had gotten a free ride to China on the Chicago Sun-Times dime, so there is a history of him being an asshole around the time of the Olympics. Something about world cooperation and spirit must piss him off.

Ohhhhhhhh, Canada. What have you done to yourself? You've invested $118 million to kick-start the performance of your Winter Olympics athletes, including the ridiculous launching of a "Top Secret'' initiative. You've declared not only that you're going to host the best Games ever, but that you intend to "own the podium'' and win the most medals.

How dare you attempt to increase national pride and exposure of your Olympic athletes by trying to make your country more competitive. That isn't the point of the Olympics. The point of the Olympics is for Jay Mariotti to get one last vacation, paid for by his company, before he quits.

In the process, you've ignored the plight of homeless, drug-addicted people -- such as the man jabbing a syringe into his stomach on Hastings Street -- in a decrepit neighborhood just blocks from BC Place,

So it's the social issues of Canada that Jay Mariotti is worried about. I know he doesn't think about this (or think at all) but every country in the world has social issues. If homeless people and drug addicts could prevent a country from hosting the Olympic games, there would be no Olympic games.

If Jay Mariotti thinks Vancouver is bad, he is going to REALLY love the 2016 Olympic summer games in Rio de Janeiro. It's like a crime capital that only the meanest and fiercest offenders of crime inhabit. Let's just say if Harold and Kumar were hardcore criminals, there would be a movie called "Harold and Kumar Go to Rio de Janeiro to Kill Some People."

Jay needs to recall Olympic events in the United States haven't always been without incident, considering a freaking bomb went off when the 1996 Summer Olympic Games were in Atlanta, Georgia. It was only a bomb though, right?

You've sacrificed your sound sensibilities, your lighthearted ways and your minimum-stress comfort zone to become, well, a pocket version of the United States of America, obsessed with winning at all costs.

I don't get why Jay Mariotti thinks the entire country of Canada is lighthearted and stress free. Apparently he just enjoys learning stereotypes and then wondering why reality doesn't always match up with the stereotype.

Look, Canada can NEVER be stress free. They never know when one of their NHL, NBA, or MLB teams will be taken from them and put down in a city in the United States like Phoenix or Memphis. That's a lot of stress for them to handle.

And worst of all? So far, you're failing to back up your yap.

Yeah Canada. You said you are going to try to win more medals and now after 5 days of the Olympic games you aren't winning the entire Olympic games! You are a bunch of loser hosers, eh! You couldn't even keep the Grizzlies from leaving Vancouver and now you think you are capable of hosting the Olympic games?

The Vancouver Games, after a chaotic first four days, stand to be recalled among the most ignominious, regardless of how many times your athletes eventually reach the medals stand --

Let me say this. The death of the luger was very tragic and the fact Olympic officials didn't take enough responsibility for it, and blamed the luger, is very disturbing. In fairness to Vancouver and the entire country of Canada, the International Luge Federation isn't completely made up of Canadians. If the International Luge Federation or IOC didn't like the track conditions they could have done something, but they didn't.

We used to drink your Labatt's, laugh at your comedians, melt in your terrifically diverse cities and admire your peace and tranquility. Now, we're wondering what the hell is wrong with you.

Apparently Jay Mariotti believes only Americans can be arrogant when it comes to sports and he finds it to be an admirable quality only in Americans.

Have you taken mass quantities of hubris pills?

Ok, that is a "Coneheads" reference and though Dan Aykroyd is Canadian, Jane Curtin is not, and "Coneheads" doesn't have very much to do at all with Canada. In fact, I am pretty sure the movie was set in New Jersey, which as much as some people would like, is not located in Canada.

It's an attitudinal shift," said Chris Rudge, the COC's outgoing CEO. "There's a desire to do better, and, hopefully, sponsors are going to want to be associated with success. You can stop an advancing army but not an idea whose time has come -- Victor Hugo said that. And this is an idea whose time has come.''

I wouldn't expect Canada's Winter Olympics resurgence to just magically happen this year, but the Canadian Olympic Committee is just trying to get the country and athletes pumped for the Olympics in Vancouver. I don't see a problem with this.

Canada botched that dream when a Georgian luger crashed and died on a track that was too fast, in part the fault of Vancouver organizers who allowed racers, in conjunction with the International Luge Federation, to travel at insane, 95-mph speeds.

Vancouver organizers may have allowed racers to travel at fast speeds, but the ILF could have stopped it and they did not. Also, in luging it is not unusual for racers to go at high speeds, so that wasn't the problem. The layout of the course, and specifically the turn that Kumaritashivili wrecked on, was the problem with the course. Multiple people outside of Vancouver organizers had the chance to do something about this and they did not. It is not just Canada's fault.

Granted, there are not deaths at every Olympic games, but at every Olympic games there is something that would cause the host country embarrassment. Canada is not alone in this and it shouldn't necessarily reflect poorly on the country's attempt to host the Olympic games any more than the deaths in Munich reflected on Germany in 1972, the bomb in Atlanta reflected on the United States in 1996 and the human rights violations reflected on China in 2008.

In luging, the entire point of the sport is to race at high speeds, so I am sure Kumaritashivili knew the risks associated with the sport. That of course doesn't excuse his death, but it's not like he was figure skating, he was participating in a fairly dangerous sport.

Seems the 21-year-old racer was among those who were very worried, except he communicated his fear over the phone with his father, not with anyone in a power position.

"He told me: 'I will either win or die,' " David Kumaritashvili told The Associated Press at his home in the former Soviet republic.

Again, I am very sorry this person died and it never should have happened, but he was participating in a sport where he raced around on a sled on ice at high speeds. There is inherent danger in that and this statement shows that he knew of that inherent danger. It of course doesn't mean he deserved to die. The host country of Canada isn't the only group that dropped the ball on this.

I find it hilarious that Jay Mariotti can't mourn the loss of this person's life without pointing the finger at Canada for his death and then somehow attempting to tie this in to Canada's new "let's get more competitive" initiative. There is no link there, but somehow Jay tries to find one.

And then they had the audacity, these International Olympic Committee and luge officials, to blame the accident on Kumaritashvili's driving errors. Meanwhile, they moved the start of the weekend luge events to the lower women's start, reducing speeds dramatically in what only can be seen as an admission of culpability.

This is a no-win situation for the IOC. They had to move the start of the luge events lower down to make the track safer, in which case just like he did, people like Jay Mariotti are going to scream this is evidence of culpability and ignore it as an attempt to keep other lugers safe. If the IOC had not moved the start of the luge events down, Jay Mariotti would have screamed they don't care if more people die.

His death was not about a driving error but about a dangerous track. We all know it is the fault of a large group of people...possibly the Vancouver organizers, the IOC, and the International Luge Federation. My point is Jay Mariotti can find fault in the problem trying to be solved. It won't bring Kumaritashvili back, but it will hopefully prevent further tragedies.

Canada deserves its share of blame for the fatality. In the zeal to win, win, win, officials protected their home-venue advantage before the Games by showing a crass reluctance to let opposing athletes use their facilities.

This where Jay Mariotti ignorantly blames Canada's new competitive spirit for the death. So according to Jay, and in complete contradiction to what he was just arguing, he doesn't think the luge track was inherently dangerous, but this tragedy could have been prevented if Kumaritashvili had access to practice on the luge track more often before the Olympics began.

One minute Jay is arguing the track was inherently dangerous and it had nothing to do with Kumaritashvili's driving ability and the next minute he is saying there would have been less danger if Kumaritashvili had gotten to practice on it more, which leads someone to believe more experience driving on it could have prevented his death. Either the track was inherently dangerous or it wasn't. Jay can't have it both ways.

Thus, Kumaritashvili didn't have the opportunities to grow accustomed to the track in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics.

This did not directly cause his death if that turn was inherently dangerous. If the turn was a death trap waiting to happen, no amount of practice could have prevented his death, it would have occurred to anyone who accumulated the speed Kumaritashvili did. It sounds harsh, but Kumaritashvili told his father he was going to die, he didn't say, "if I had a chance to practice more I would feel more safe."

This violated a code of sportsmanship that other host nations routinely abide by. Before the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Canadian lugers were allowed 60 to 100 extra practice runs at the facility. Before Vancouver, Canadian organizers offered only 18 extra runs to U.S. luge officials, who rejected the offer and criticized Canada for ``a lack of sportsmanship.''

Maybe Canada was taking this new competitive spirit too far, but the newfound competitive spirit of Canada did not cause the death of the luger. The track doesn't change when a person from Canada takes a run on it, it is the same track for each luger, some got more experience than others. Considering no Canadian won a luging event, obviously this advantage did not help Canada.

Not to sound insensitive, but if Jay Mariotti is saying more practice runs would have prevented Kumaritashvili's death, then part of the reason he died was his driving errors...caused by a lack of experience on the track. Of course then the blame is still on Vancouver organizers, the International Luge Federation and the IOC, but it also frames his death less about an inherent track problem and becomes more of a problem encompassing a lack of practice on the track. These are two different issues with two different solutions to the problem.

"For sure, there's an advantage," said Tim Farstad, executive director of Luge Canada, defending the decision to the New York Times weeks before Kumaritashvili's crash. "That's the nature of our sport -- every country has an advantage on its own track. It's not like a 100-meter sprint, where it doesn't matter where you sprint."

Looking back, his comments reflect the height of insensitivity. And did the lockout help the mother ship? It didn't in the men's luge finals, where two Germans, Felix Loch and David Moeller, won gold and silver, and Italy's Armin Zoeggeler won bronze. The top Canadians, Samuel Edney and Jeff Christie, finished seventh and 14th.

I don't get why Jay Mariotti is angry then. The lockout didn't help Canada and obviously the fact they didn't get to practice on the track a whole lot (if other countries got treated the same way the United States did) didn't hurt other countries much when it came time to actually race. Sure, it is uber-competitive for Canada to do this, but this act is no different than a country like China lying about their gymnast's ages in order to gain a competitive advantage (which they did do this. You can't convince me otherwise) of being able to use older and more experienced gymnasts.

Looking back at the article Mariotti wrote immediately after the death of Kumaritashvili, it sure sounds like multiple lugers got a chance to try out the course since there was 73 crashes during the test runs. So obviously those lugers who won medals and those who crashed in practice got a chance to do some extra runs. I am not excusing Canada's competitive behavior or excusing them for the death of Kumaritashvili, I don't see what the new spirit of Canada to win the Olympic games had to do with his death or how not letting other countries practice on the track as much gave Canada a huge advantage.

Ohhhhhhhh, Canada. In establishing the "Own The Podium'' program, officials pledged to win 35 medals in Vancouver. So far, their athletes have won four, already falling behind the U.S. in the medals race.

Because a country should be able to turn around their Olympic program and attitude in a short amount of time? Who gives a shit if Canada wants to win more medals or won't let other countries practice as much if they still aren't winning medals?

But the corporate pressure to win may be too much for Canadian athletes. From the day they were born, they've been taught that Americans are haughty, self-centered and money-hungry. Now, they're being told to adopt the same attitudes?

I think they are being taught to have more competitive fire and take pride in their nation's ability to compete in the Olympics. I venture to say if there were a smaller country that wanted to compete at a higher level, Jay Mariotti wouldn't have this attitude. I can't remember him knocking Jamaica for trying to have a better bobsled team.

Maybe Canadians need to cheat more. That's what American athletes do best, right?

I literally have no idea what this means in terms of the Olympics. No 2010 Winter Olympics athlete from the United States was caught or accused of using PEDs. Other countries had Olympians banned for using illegal substances this year, but not the United States. In fact, Jay Mariotti just gave an example from Salt Lake City where the United States gave Canada extra runs on the luge course. That sounds like good sportsmanship and the opposite of cheating to me. Basically, I have no idea what Jay means by this.

although, in fairness, we should be proud of classy Olympians such as Apolo Anton Ohno.

Jay Mariotti sure loves himself some Apolo Anton Ohno. He used him as an example when criticizing Michael Phelps marijuana use in January 2009 and now he is the shining example of an Olympic athlete for Jay. If only there was a competition in the Olympics that involved dancing with 5th rate country singers against washed up stars of television and sport, Ohno may have won the gold instead of silver this year.

(Ok, I am done with my Ohno fan baiting for a while. In related news, I learned today that Ohno and I share the same birth date. Different year, but same date. I don't know what this means.)

I was doing a search on Apolo Ohno and I wonder if the Ohno messages boards liked this article.

How fascinating, amid the push for gold and glory, to hear the boss of the country's hockey effort suggest his team isn't the favorite. No team is saddled with higher expectations than Team Canada, yet new executive director Steve Yzerman, eight years after Wayne Gretzky built a gold-medal winner, says Russia should be favored.

One minute Jay Mariotti is criticizing Canada for being too competitive and the next minute he is criticizing them for not believing enough in their hockey team. You can't win with this man in any fashion. Up is down and positive is negative, no matter what anyone tries. Canada's hubris is something they should be embarrassed about until Jay thinks they should brag more about their ability in hockey, in which cause their lack of hubris is something Jay questions.

"They've got some of the top forwards in the world right now," said the former Detroit Red Wings great. "They're the No. 1-ranked team in the world. They're the favorite going into this tournament. We have to play our best, and with a little bit of luck the other countries can dethrone them. Do you think they'll have a parade in Moscow if the Russians win the silver medal? They won't. The expectation in Russia is gold. The expectation in Sweden is gold. Whether they admit it or not, the USA is in this to win a gold medal."

Basically what Yzerman is saying is that every other country wants to win a gold medal and expects nothing less, why should we? There really isn't anything wrong with this.

The "Own The Podium'' missions extends to clothing. Seems the long-track speedskaters are wearing state-of-the-art bodysuits said to be more aerodynamic than human skin.

God forbid the Canadian Olympic Committee inspires their athletes to win more medals and put on a better performance in front of their home country AND gives them the clothing and tools to do this. What is Canada thinking by completely dedicating themselves to winning more medals? The entire country is really ruining Jay's stereotyped impression of them right now. It's really not cool.

So far in long-track events, the Canadians have one bronze medal.

Clearly, this is the fault of the suits nor did the suits help the Canadians enhance their competitiveness at all. Jay wants to blame the suits and not the athletic ability of the Canadians in speedskating.

And this Top Secret enterprise? Would you believe they've studied whether curling brooms actually melt the ice, rigged up a missile radar system to track skiers and built a "human slingshot'' to hurl fast-track speedskaters into corners? The price tag for that mission: $8 million.

I hope Jay realizes the United States just gave up THIS YEAR trying to put a man on the moon again. Each year the United States (mostly Congress) spends millions of dollars on absolutely laughable studies. I don't think Canada spending $8 million to help their Olympic athletes perform better is the worst example of government spending.

Ohhhhhhhh, Canada. The elephant is laughing at you. Between a fatality on the luge track, the incessant rain, the delays on the ski hills and those scary protests in which crazies wear masks and break windows at fancy department stores, you seem unfit to host the Games.

This makes sense coming from Jay Mariotti whose own country had 2 people killed and 111 injured when a bomb when off in the middle of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996 during the Summer Olympic games. Obviously, he doesn't think the terrorist bombing of the Olympics should preclude the United States from hosting the Olympics again, since he was all about Chicago getting the 2016 Summer Olympic games. What's with the double standard?

Also, Canada has no way to control the incessant rain nor the protesters. Rain happens and protesters happen wherever the Olympic games are held. Except for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, where even the most diehard protester is afraid to go for fear of being murdered.

Much less Own The Podium.

How dare you try to improve your country's chances at winning medals Canada! In the eyes of Jay Mariotti (and without any good reasoning on Mariotti's part) your selfish attempts to improve Olympic morale and the medal count of your country killed someone. This could all be excused if you won some more medals, but you haven't.


rich said...

You've sacrificed your sound sensibilities, your lighthearted ways and your minimum-stress comfort zone to become, well, a pocket version of the United States of America, obsessed with winning at all costs.

Because the USA sucks too you see.

We used to drink your Labatt's, laugh at your comedians, melt in your terrifically diverse cities and admire your peace and tranquility. Now, we're wondering what the hell is wrong with you.

You see in other parts of the world, athletes are the ones killing! Donte Stallworth is back in the NFL overlooked by JM, but a man dies doing something he didn't have to do? That's taking it too far! We like to stop at crippling them for life (Kevin Everret, anyone with concussions, boxers, etc).

Why is Jay blasting off on Canada as if the track design was part of a general election? Someone (more than likely highly involved with luging) designed the track and it probably got signed off by a bunch of other people who are highly involved with the sport. By the time it got to the people in charge of the Vancouver Olympics and the IOC, they probably figured "hey all these people who know about luging say it's okay, so we'll just sign off on it."

I don't get how this reflects poorly on Canada at all. Was it tragic? Yes. Did it create somewhat of a black cloud over the games? Yes. Do you blame the nation holding the games for the failure of a sub-committee of a sub-committee to design a solid luge track?

Blaming the luger for his own death was stupid and classless, but again, that's a strike against the COC and not the entire nation.

Seems the 21-year-old racer was among those who were very worried, except he communicated his fear over the phone with his father, not with anyone in a power position.

So let me get this straight... He was terrified of the track, but didn't open his mouth to say anything? How in God's green earth was the COC supposed to make changes in the track when people weren't telling them the problems they were having.

Thus, Kumaritashvili didn't have the opportunities to grow accustomed to the track in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics.

If I remember correctly, he died in a training run? So he wouldn't have died if he had more training runs, but a training run? Like you said BGF, if the track were inherently bad, extra training would have given Kumaritashvili (and others) more opportunities to crash. However, he died in a training run, so saying "he wouldn't have died if had more practice" is logically inconsistent.

Then again, this man blamed Canada for the weather... You see Canada is much better at predicting weather than we are in the states (they're not better than us though!) and knew about the rain 4 years ago, but decided "eh, screw it." Canada didn't set the dates for the Olympics and it's not like they choose the only mountain that was getting rain, so what exactly were they supposed to do? Call the IOC and tell them "hey guys, it aboot to rain here eh? Maybe we can moove the Oolympacs to next week eh?"

Martin F. said...

I for one am upset that they have discontinued our manned space program for want of a couple billion dollars. Considering the insane amounts of money we are spending in others areas of our balloning national budget, I think the 3 billion dollar NASA budget should have been maintained. My company could have funded NASA from teh profits we made the last year, though as a company in the drug retail industry, probably not the wisest investment. That's enough about that.

Jay's a moron. I have thousands of homelesss here in the Los Angeles region, does that mean we should recall the Olympic team and forgo participating ever again until all the homeless are taken off the streets? garrrrrrrr.

Dylan Murphy said...

You can't blame Canada for prediction Olympic domination. Of course they wanted to win. They operate in the United States' shadow. Although I have to say, Montreal is awesome. Gotta love a city who has an entire street basically dedicated to strip clubs and retail stores. I also won $450 there playing poker at the huge casino (whatever it's called) over the summer.

ivn said...

I'm sure Canada is reeling from the pure vitriol coming from the keyboards of Jay Mariotti and Rick Reilly. They are the true voices of America.

Along the lines of dangerous host countries for international sporting events, we have the World Cup in South Africa this summer, which is a truly fantastic place if you feel like getting mugged. Peter King is apparently going to be there. I wonder what MMQB is going to look like?

"I got carjacked the other night in downtown JoBurg. The guy smashed the window, slammed my head on the steering wheel, then pistol-whipped me twice for good measure. Say what you will, but South African carjackers lead the world in grittiness!"

"Boy, apartheid had to have been a real blemish in this country's history. Who knew colonialism could be such a bad thing?"

"To whomever left me in a bathtub full of ice in a seedy Pretoria housing project: would it kill you to take care the mold in your bathroom?"

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, Jay Mariotti absolutely hates everything, the USA included. Canada just doesn't do the killing right, you are right. They have the athletes die when in America the athletes are the ones doing the killing, that's how to do it.

I think how you believe the track got approved is actually approved. Someone designed it, another person signed off on it and the IOC and Canadian organizers accepted it.

I thought it was interesting how he tried to tie Canada's need to do better in the Olympics to this guy's death. Like it directly caused it or something. I think others complained about the track, but the logic doesn't make sense. The problem wasn't more/less practice but the design of the course, which Canada as a country and I would be the COC had very little do to with.

Martin F, I like the space program and there is a reason for it, but I was just trying to point out millions of dollars were being spent here on trying to get to the moon so getting the athletes better facilities was a much smaller expense for a government to pay for. He absolutely is a moron. He is reaching to blame Canada for some things.

Dylan, if I am not wrong, that is where Bon Jovi got the "Slippery When Wet" album title from...a strip club in Montreal.

I know PK has talked about it, but I can't believe I forgot a/b the World Cup in South Africa. I am more excited for the potential disaster that is Rio. It will end up being fine, but that won't stop me from not attending b/c I am afraid of the crime.

Haha, I can completely see Peter making a comment about Apartheid and how he didn't know how bad it was. It is going to happen. The bathtub of ice thing is very "Hostel-esque" but nonetheless funny.

KentAllard said...

Being hated by Mariotti is a mark of distinction. I guess the Canadians have never cared much about winning, which is why there were riots in Montreal in 1955 when Rocket Richard got suspended by the league for punching an official.

Canadians by an large are nice people, but the idea they don't care about winning is ludicrous. Their new program seems to be working, too, as they have already done better than the last two Winter Olympics held in Canada.

I want more details about Mariotti watching the homeless guy stick a syringe in his stomach. That's a new one. I've heard of injecting drugs into your tear ducts, but never into the stomach.