Running up the white flag
So "Own the Podium," the largest international Canadian effort since Guy Lombardo first played Auld Lange Syne in Times Square is just as dead as the musician.
After pumping $117 million into athlete training (nothing wrong with that) and promising to bring home -- wait they ARE home -- 27 medals, the residents of the Great White North are throwing in the great white towel.
"Woe Canada," was the headline in the Vancouver Sun.
For all their money and boasting, Canada has five gold medals -- 10 overall -- putting in the same ballpark as the mighty winter power South Korea.
The U.S. has 25 medals, seven of them gold. The salt-in-the-wound moment was U.S. men beating Canada's best in hockey. U.S. women are playing for the gold on Thursday against Canada.
"We'd be living in a fool's paradise if we said we're going to catch the Americans and win," said Chris Rudge, chief executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Their house has become our house, and you know what Ray Lewis says about protecting that.
The last time the United States took home the most medals was at home in the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics. The team's highest take was 34 medals, again at home in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City (Germany earned 46).
And the last time the U.S. team truly stunk? Why in Calgary in 1988, when the team earned just six medals.
So why the carnage?
The Olympic Committee says maybe their athletes were too pumped. Or maybe the partisan crowd was too partisan. Check out this quote in The Province newspaper:
"We've never seen anything like that and maybe we were ill prepared to how we would react to Canadian fans really showing their colors," said Nathalie Lambert, chef de mission of the Canadian Olympic team. "We've never seen this before."
The pressure to perform extended to luge -- LUGE -- when a businessman here promised to give the Canadian team $1 million for a gold medal. The athletes responded with a collective gag.
Canadian athletes are frazzled, some of them bursting into tears at their failure and apologizing for letting down their nation.
But maybe there's hope.
Whistler Village, scene of nightly outdoor parties last week, has all the zip of a retirement home these days. Bars are not packed. You don't have to wait two hours to get a $38 cheeseburger. It won't be long before the nightly head-banger concert is dialed down and headlined by Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot.
Just maybe with the volume turned down and the hype machine unplugged, the Canadians can get their bearings and end these games on a high note.
And just to be good guests, we should tiptoe out of town with our Olympic bling and save our chest-thumping theatrics until we're south of the border.