Olympic Bet of the Day – This has been a continued lesson in why I don’t bet parlays on a regular basis. On most days I have had a winning percentage – yesterday it was four of five – but I haven’t made a cent on parlays because I have yet to sweep one. Frustrating, but fun as well. Today I am only going to go with a four event parlay, so maybe I can finally win one. The events are: Canada (-110) to win the gold medal in women’s hockey, Canada (-225) to win women’s curling semifinal, Yu-Na Kim (-700) to win the women’s figure skating, and Norway (-1.5 +110) in the men’s curling. That will pay $562.
The Other Stuff
It was a pretty exciting day to be a Canadian yesterday. Everywhere I went to today – the bank, the store, and so on – everyone was talking about nothing but the hockey game – the Canada – Russia quarterfinal. The country is obviously crazy about hockey, and this tournament being at home and all has really captured the collective imagination. More than 19 million people in Canada watched at least part of the German game the day before (there are only 34 million of us), and that number will be dwarfed by the Russia number. We have a long and bitter rivalry with Russia – we won the famous Summit Series way back in 1972, and it still gets talked about constantly and heroically. We haven’t beaten the Russians since 1960 n the Olympics, though, and in 2006 they knocked us out in the quarterfinals, and we wound up a humiliating 7th. Even though this is only the first of three playoff games, there isn’t a sporting event that could have mattered more to the country. It’s like our Super Bowl if everyone in the country had their hometown team in the game.
On top of the importance of the game there was the sheer brilliance of it. The two best players in the world were in the game. 12 of the top 21 scorers in the NHL this year were in the game, along with the best of the KHL. This was firepower like we never get to see in one game at full throttle in any sport. Brilliant.
Given how Canada had played in the tournament so far the country was incredibly nervous. I wanted nothing more than a win, but I was increasingly certain as the game neared that we didn’t stand a chance. I’m a fan of the Calgary Flames and the Michigan Wolverines, so I have become very accustomed to underwhelming performances in the face of high expectations. That certainly wasn’t the case here. In a word, we crushed them. It was 7-3 on the scoreboard, and it wasn’t even that close in reality. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was very, very good. We beat the Russians into submission with physical play and speed, and scored some pretty spectacular goals. It was enough to allow the country to breathe a collective sigh of relief, and to honestly and truly believe again. Canada is going to win what is ours – the hockey Gold Medal. Seventh place is for other countries.