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A North American Perspective on the Olympics

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Medal count: Norway, Finland, Austria and Switzerland all whip the USA… who whips Canada.

1925 : The IOC defines amateur status and bans compensating athletes for time taken away from their jobs to train or compete, rendering the Olympics a leisure-class pastime. "An amateur is one who devotes himself to sport for sport's sake without deriving from it, directly or indirectly, the means of existence. A professional is one who derives the means of existence entirely or partly from sport." A member of the IOC, on the other hand, is someone who makes a handsome living, thank you, from the perpetuation of amateur sport.

1928: The first true winter Olympics are held in St. Moritz. Sonja Henie wins the very first gold medal in women’s figure skating and, taking a page from Tarzan, goes on to star in highly forgettable Hollywood films built around her prowess on skates. She refuses, however, to skate with a monkey. Canada beats everyone at hockey; get used to it.

Medal count: Norway 15; USA 6. Ouch!

1932: The Americans host the Winter Games at Lake Placid, New York. Canada wins gold in hockey.

Medal count: USA 12; Norway 10; Canada 6. It’ll never happen again.

1932 : Los Angeles hosts the X Olympiad when no other city – mired in the Great Depression wants it. For the first time, an Olympic village is constructed. American great Babe Didrikson wins two golds in javelin and hurdles and has a third snatched from her when judges rule her high-jump style illegal. As consolation, she becomes the first woman to appear on a Wheaties box in 1935. Canadian Horace "Lefty" Gwynne wins boxing gold in the Bantam weight division with a right hook no one saw coming.

Medal count: USA 103; France 19. Take that you cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

1936: The Winter Games are held in Garmish-Partenkirchen and for the first time ever, Alpine skiing events are held. The Austrian and Swiss teams boycott though because the IOC rules ski instructors ‘Gods’ as they’re known in Austria and Switzerland are professional athletes and therefore barred from Olympic competition.

Medal count: Hitler had hoped to win it all but those impure Norwegians and Swedes got in his way. The Americans did manage to beat the Canucks who, horrors, let the Brits beat them at hockey and came home with the silver medal… their only medal.

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