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Canadian figure skaters robbed by judges

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The problem with judged events at the Olympics is that deep down everybody wants their own countrymen to win.

It's simple human nature.

Nationalism is at its highest during the Games, even among the most blase patriots.

Canadians who would never normally watch the luge or the bobsled races are glued to their TVs for a short two weeks to see how our athletes perform among the world's best. And the enduring question throughout the Games revolves around our medal standings and how we compare to others.

One week ago at the opening ceremonies, this nationalism was the good kind – the kind that makes international sporting events fun to watch.

It's nationalism that raises the sporting bar a little notch higher as world records get shattered while athletes are wearing their country's colours, proud to represent their nation. It fosters friendly rivalry between nations and makes national heroes out of regular people.

I never thought a curling team or a speed skater could become a country's sporting icons but for a brief moment in time, these people represent the pride and glory of their country.

When our top athletes don red and white Roots wear, even those Canadians whose Olympic dreams are entirely wrapped up in a puck, get a little riled up.

We all felt the disappointment when Canadian speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon fell on his face in the first few steps of the 500-metre event on Tuesday.

Likewise, we were elated when we got our first medal, a bronze, after 22-year-old Cindy Klassen came in third in the 3,000-metre women's speed skate.

And in past Olympic Games, Canada has shared in the shameful embarrassment of drug scandals that blight the country as a whole on the international stage.

But now forget embarrassment; forget disappointment and even forget elation. Canadians have been robbed.

Now that Canadian nationalism has the undertone of a quiet fury.

It's as though we've all been collectively ripped off with a silver medal in the pairs figure skating.

But this time we're not going to keep quiet about it and bumble along deferentially in our usual Canadian way.

The Canadian Olympic Association is demanding an independent inquiry into figure skating judges after gold medal hopefuls Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were awarded the silver medal.

The nationalistic hype surrounding Salé and Pelletier began long before they took to the ice on Monday night. They had the nation's support behind them perhaps more than any other athletes at the games (besides the men's hockey team) because we all knew they had big skates to fill.

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