Sportswriter Gil LeBreton Compares Vancouver 2010 To Berlin 1936

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The Vancouver Olympics were an impressive display of Canadian pride and ambition, culminating in the most dominating hometown performance in the history of the Winter Games. You know who else liked dominating the Olympics, don't you? HITLER!

We missed this gem of a column by Gil LeBreton in Sunday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but it's worth revisiting thanks to this amazingly well-crafted lede:

After a spirited torch relay ignited pride in every corner of the country, the Olympic Games began and quickly galvanized the nation.

Flags were everywhere. The country's national symbol hung from windows and was worn on nearly everyone's clothing.

Fervent crowds cheered every victory by the host nation.

But enough about the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Wow. Just ... wow. He's not done though. Gil goes on to lament, at some length, about the blitzkrieg of Canadian TV Olympic coverage that focused almost entirely on ... get this ... Canada! Can you imagine? Us Americans watching on NBC would certainly know nothing about hometown jingoism that ignores anyone who speaks English as a second language.

They showed us Canadian Games, all right. And in most cases, nothing but Canadian Games.

I'm not talking about TV coverage. I have no idea what Bob Costas and NBC were televising back in the States


Let me summarize it for you, Gil. They were televising Americans. And Cris Collinsworth.

It was Canada's party, and no dead luger, no critical British tabloid and no visiting Americans were going to spoil it.

That attitude is regrettable, because a good, if not especially memorable, Olympics followed.


LeBreton spends the next three paragraphs talking about American athletes and two non-Americans who happen to play for the Dallas Stars. Why the cover up of Jere Lehtinen, Toronto Star? Oh, and why was everyone talking about bronze medalist Joannie Rochette so much? PRO-QUEBEC BIAS, THAT'S WHY!

China sold 6.8 million tickets to its 2008 Summer Olympics. Vancouver only made 1.6 million available. The Canadians wanted to "Own the Podium," but organizers made sure that they owned the grandstands at each venue as well.


The Beijing Olympics had 302 events. The Winter Olympics had 86. Most of which took place outside in the snow.

Team Canada hockey jerseys became the uniform of the streets. Maple leafs were either hanging or on clothing everywhere.


Go back in August. It looks that way all the time.

One thing I never saw: a simple flag or shirt with the five Olympic rings. Not anywhere. After 15 Olympics, that was a first.


Um, really? Generic Olympic ring shirts? Did you really see a lot of those in Atlanta or L.A.? You know what, let's just get back to the Nazis:

I didn't attend the '36 Olympics, but I've seen the pictures. Swastikas everywhere.

No political reference is meant, just an Olympic one. What on earth were the Canadians thinking?

An Olympic host is supposed to welcome the world. This one was too busy being (their word) "patriotic."

"Now you know us, eh?" chief organizer Furlong said.

We thought we did two weeks ago. Now, I'm wondering if Canadians can even recognize themselves.

Nice party. But so 1936.

Bravo. Just imagine if he'd seen these jackbooted thugs in action. Canadians are rightfully pissed about this column, because LeBreton has inadvertently revealed their plans to annex Czechoslovakia. Wait a sec ... LeBreton? That name sounds suspiciously ... Canadian, doesn't it?


Ohdeargod. It's coming from inside!

"LeBreton" did take the time to apologize—for "offending" Canadians, not for comparing them to Nazis. And, like any good sports columnist, found a way to turn it into another sappy column about the glories of international sport, the celebration of the "world of man," and other values that the Olympics abandoned decades ago. The idea that any country—especially the United States—cheers just as loud for foreigners as it does for its own is laughable. As is the idea that any adult still thinks it's okay to invoke Nazi imagery to round out a strained sports metaphor.


In these Olympics, Canadians only paid attention to Canada [Fort Worth Star Telegram]
Dallas-Fort Worth sports columnist likens our patriotism to Nazi Germany [The Province]