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olympics closing ceremony

By Polly Sanders || It was a nice run …

Team USA explored new territories and tackled the great Canadian frontier at the Games of the XXI Olympiad in Vancouver, bringing home our first Nordic combined gold medal as well as our first men’s four-man bobsled gold in over sixty years.

On the other hand, for the first time in nearly forty years, the stars and stripes were nowhere to be found on the podium following the women’s figure skating competition. Kim Yu-na, the “Queen of South Korea,” lived up to the excruciatingly-high expectations of her county and skated an ethereal performance, breaking modern scoring records.

Mao Asada took home the silver for Japan while bronze medal winner Joannie Rochette touched the world with her grace under extreme grief.

She skated, as we know her mother would have wanted, and finished third in what was considered one of the most memorable performances of these Olympic games.

It even made Scott Hamilton choke up …

Of course, we know the highlight for Sic Willie was the girl-on-girl action – specifically when his two lady loves came into snow bunny conflict.

The lovely Lindsay Vonn was ahead of the less-than-lovely Schulia Schlancuso when Lindsay fell on the giant slalom, preventing Schulia from completing her run.  That was probably for the best as “Schulia Schlancuso Slalom winner” sounds absurd.

Another highlight was the U.S. men’s hockey team – whose final match against Canada was the most watched hockey game of all time as well as one of the best.

With less than a minute on the clock, Team USA scored a goal to tie the game at 2-2.  Right about that time, Facebook was ablaze with excited status posts from people who hadn’t seen a hockey game since the Mighty Ducks.  The U.S. couldn’t seal the deal, though, losing to Canada in overtime and sparking some creative “Puck the USA” signs on the streets of Vancouver the next day.

To be honest, though, I was happy for Canada.  Think about it … all they have is hockey and maple leaves – no army to speak of, no sunny beaches, no Tom Petty songs dedicated to their women,  just hockey and maple leaves.  So, let’s let them have their hockey moment.

A tip of the mountie hat to you, Canadian hockey, well done.

The closing ceremonies seemed about as goofy as the opening ceremonies, but my time here in Vancouver (or as I imagine Vancouver might be from here in my living room) has led me to believe the Canadians are a very endearing northern cousin.

In a charming nod to the failed “erection” of the opening ceremony torch, a mime pulled out the forth prong of the Olympic cauldron to start the night.  While mimes are about as cool as juggling unicyclers at your sixteenth birthday, it was nice to see the Canadians being so lighthearted. It reminded me of Beijing. Or not.

One thing that was a bit odd about the closing ceremony were the blue medical gowns handed out for some sort of crowd effect.

I’m not sure exactly what the desired effect was, because to me it looked like they were all in line to see the gyno.  As they each waited their turn, other people dressed in white ran around hapahazardly with snowboards, briefly falling into formation at various intervals.  It was so bizzarely uncoordinated, it reminded me of the University of South Carolina flag girls. Eventually they arranged their white and red snowboards to look like the signature maple leaf. The Canadians love that maple leaf, don’t they? Even more than we love our Palmetto tree.

My favorite part of the closing ceremonies, though, was when the entrance of the Indian chiefs was announced.

They apparently sobered up from the eighties-inspired tribal outfits donned in the opening ceremonies and came in this time wearing more respectable traditional garb.  It was nice seeing Canada honor them as they entered with such dignity, though Chief Justin George seemed a bit sheepish, probably because when you think about it his name sounds more N Sync (or Wham) than Indian.

Next, the Mounties came out to raise the Canadian flag.  Mounties are so nice looking, aren’t they?  Not at all threatening.  They look happy in their red jackets, like they want to give you a cheerful side hug.

I can see why they never go to war.

The closing ceremony continued, but to be brutally honest, I didn’t watch. I liked ending on a happy red Mountie note and slept very peaceful with visions of sugared maple syrup dancing through my head.

Sic, however, stayed up for the moment that made internet infamy Tuesday – NBC’s Bob Costas deadpanning the entrance of “the always enjoyable giant inflatable beaver …”

That’s a wrap!

See you in London …