While Whistler is more of a winter sports community there's no doubt that the community will be glued to televisions from July 27 to Aug. 12 as London, England hosts the Olympic Summer Games. Technically there's a two-day overlap with Crankworx Whistler this year, but that's why DVRs were invented...
London is eight hours ahead of us, which means it's going to be tricky to watch live events. A competition scheduled for noon BST takes place at 4 a.m. PST here, which is either very early or very late, depending on the hours you keep. Since most of us will be sleeping through the action, spoiler alerts should be in full effect — always ask a person if they know what happened before you start talking about it so you don't ruin the surprise when they sit down to watch the rebroadcast or press play on their DVR.
If you don't have cable or like the idea of laying on the grass while you watch, Whistler Olympic Plaza will be broadcasting the Games on two big screens. For more, see Page 53.
With so many athletes and sports — 10,500 athletes from 205 countries, 26 sports and 302 ceremonies with three medals awarded in each — it's going to be a hectic three weeks.
Although Canada is a longshot in a lot of events there are lots of good reasons to tune in this year:
1. Canada probably won't suck
Before the 2010 Games we were internationally infamous as a nation of chokers. We unperformed, were underprepared, were overhyped or sometimes lacked the confidence we needed to compete with the best in the world.
The low point came in 1988 when our national team in Seoul, Korea earned just 10 medals — down from 44 medals in 1984, when the powerful Soviet Union team boycotted Los Angeles. We bounced back in 1996 with 22 medals, dropped to 14 in 2000 and to 12 in 2004. It was a national crisis of sorts, an embarrassment that prompted the federal government to start funding sports and athletes once again.
In 2008 in Beijing the team showed life with 18 medals — our best showing in 24 years, and this year Canada, through Own the Podium, has set its sights on placing in the top 12 for total medals earned — a feat that would have required 24 or 25 medals.
There are a lot of reasons why this number is achievable.
Canadian cyclists are bona fide favourites in a number of events this year.
In mountain biking, Catharine Pendrel is the current world champion and consistently one of the top riders on the World Cup circuit. Emily Batton and Max Plaxton are also posting the best results of their careers.