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Olympics: Ice shavings

What they're saying

"We've seen it before, especially when watching U.S. coverage of the Olympics, both summer and winter. That exclusionary attitude — the rest of the world barely exists and only American athletes matter. Winning at all costs is more important than performing or playing well. We've all seen it and groaned at the mindless, ultranationalist, Soviet-style blinkered attitude.

"We are better than that. … What will serve us best is the best of what we are — decent, humorous, worldly and inclusive. We can only hope that the TV coverage embraces all of that."

John Doyle, Toronto Globe and Mail writer, asking Canadians to get a grip on their Olympic obsessions

"We have a reputation of being nice, and it's kind of annoying. … I think it is great that Canada is finally turning around and standing up for ourselves."

Kaillie Humphries, Canadian bobsledder, to Canwest News Service on accusations that Canada's athletes have been given too much of an advantage with their access to the Olympic venues while restricting athletes from other countries

Number of the day

$1.25 million Amount of hush money London's Daily Mirror says married British soccer star John Terry agreed to pay the woman with whom he had an affair. That amount, the Daily Telegraph points out, would have more than covered the roughly $546,000 liability of British skiing and snowboarding's governing body, which went bankrupt last week and put at risk the Olympic participation of 14 athletes. The British Olympic Association said it has a contingency plan that will allow the athletes to compete.

Snow update

The unseasonably warm temperatures in the Vancouver area now have organizers using a snow-hardening technique at one venue. The snow at the Cypress Mountain skiing aerials and moguls sites is being artificially frozen by pipes buried beneath it that are filled with dry ice, which freezes or hardens the snow from the inside out. "It's something we haven't done before, so, for us, it's quite interesting," Peter Judge, chief executive officer of the Canadian Freestyle Association, told Toronto's Globe and Mail. Judge said the process doesn't pose a danger to the athletes. Meanwhile, organizers continue to import snow to the mountain's lower elevations.

Swifter, Higher, Stronger, Horsier

Some nonfashion types grumbled in 2008 about the outfits designer Ralph Lauren — he of the overpriced polo shirts — created for the U.S. Summer Olympic team. Not only did he slap his polo-player logo on them, they complained, he made the logo about as prominent as the Olympic rings.

So in his second go-round, Lauren's polo player is noticeably larger than the rings on the men's items.

David Lauren, senior vice president of communications, told the Boston Globe in an e-mail, "Ralph Lauren is the quintessential American brand that has always represented a patriotic sensibility."

And what's more American and patriotic than self-promotion?

Maybe snapping up free stuff? As the first U.S. athletes were checking in Monday, they were met with gear choices ranging from T-shirts, boots with red laces and uniforms. "Oh my gosh!" shrieked figure skater Amanda Evora, who chose new running shoes.

Ask us: Have a question about the Winter Olympics? E-mail us at and we'll do our best to answer it.

Olympics: Ice shavings 02/08/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2010 11:08pm]
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