Apolo Ohno disqualified: Let the USA-Canada rumble begin!

When Apolo Ohno was disqualified from the 500 meters Friday, it marked the start of a weekend of high-stakes US-Canada clashes as the Vancouver Olympics close.

David Gray/Reuters
Apolo Ohno surveys the wreckage of his final-turn fourth-to-first sprint in the 500 meter short track speedskating race at the Vancouver Olympics Friday. Ohno was disqualified.

Friday, American Apolo Ohno and Canadian Francois-Louis Tremblay were in the last turn of their race at the Vancouver Olympics when the shenanigans started.

When they ended, Monsieur Tremblay was sprawled on the ice, and Ohno was disqualified for bringing a little too much Heisman flare to the short track.

That was just an appetizer for this weekend, folks.

As the Vancouver Olympics near their conclusion Sunday afternoon, both the Americans and Canadians have three rock-solid medal chances left. In all three, the two nations staring each other in the face are … guess who?

It’s time to drop the steel cage. The next two days are going to be a cross-border rumble.

Who's the boss?

Canada has the inside track on the gold-medal crown, with 10 to America’s eight. But the US has already virtually locked up the overall medal lead with 35, eight more that Germany.

In Beijing we resorted to all manner of nonsense to decide which was the greater measure of Olympic superiority. Here, it will be much easier.

Drop the puck!

Before that, on Saturday, the US and Canada will face each other for gold in the final of the men’s team speedskating pursuit, then they’ll race on the bobsled track, where USA 1 and Canada 1 enter the final two heats 1-2.

But on Sunday, there might still be some debate about who owned the podium during the Vancouver Olympics.

How appropriate, then, that the US and Canada will hold a friendly hockey game at noon Sunday to decide the matter.

If America wins, Canadians will have to send all their firstborn sons to Texas and stop using the letter “u” in color. If Canada wins, America has to replace the stars on Old Glory with maple leafs and Don Cherry gets to kick Stephen Colbert in the shins repeatedly without being assessed a two-minute minor for roughing.

Rumor has it that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had planned on coming to Vancouver to attend closing ceremonies as well as Russia’s expected gold-medal hockey match. When Russia lost to Canada in the quarterfinals, 713-3 (it felt like that, at least), he backed out.

What about the closing ceremonies? The Olympic spirit?

Be serious. This is hockey.

Getting a jump start on the weekend

The US and Canada have already gotten into the spirit ahead of this weekend. Canada beat the US, 2-0, in the women’s hockey final Thursday, giving the Americans silver medals that they appeared to cherish as much as a wedgie from their big sister.

Then Ohno, boxed out by Tremblay on the final turn of the 500 meters Friday, tried the better-DQ’d-than-fourth-place jailbreak rush and left Tremblay in a heap of Lycra and steel. The Canadians also took gold in the race.

An hour later, the Canadians again bested the Yanks, turning the volume dial in the Pacific Coliseum to 11 with a convincing win in the men’s relay. The US finished third – a good result, actually, but two places behind maple leaf nation.

No matter what happens, really, North America’s Winter Olympic alpha males will be able to share the spoils of what has been, for each, a historic Games.

Never has America won more than 34 Winter Olympic medals. It will here.

Never has Canada won more than seven gold medals. It has already won 10 here, and is almost certain to win more.

It’s just that that last gold medal Sunday afternoon might mean a little more than the rest.


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