"Because the Olympics are such an international forum, it's a way of showing excellence on an international scale [it's] almost like Canada breaking out of its little bubble of self-doubt, of constantly being in the American shadows." Matthew Hayday University of Guelph History Professor
Cara Campbell - The Ontarion - University of Guelph's Independent Newspaper
Canada seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. As a country that was founded as a colony for France and England, four hundred years later we appear to be having a tough time trying to figure out our national personality.
"Sports figures, for better or for worse, have a lot of high public visibility," said Hayday.According to Hayday, Canadians become "hyper-patriotic" when they see a fellow countryman, or woman, standing on top of the podium, and he sees this as Canada's desire to have international recognition for our unique identity.
The recent controversy surrounding the language of signs being posted at Olympic venues in Vancouver does little to encourage the thought that Canadians have a strong sense of unity from sea to sea. Many affiliated with the Olympics claim that there is no need for the signs to be posted in French as well as English, despite both being official languages.
"I think you're going to see in speed skating-almost all the short track speed skaters are Quebeckers, and Canadians go nuts," said Hayday.
"They don't care about the language divide then, but if you try to put a bilingual sign in front of the arena where they will actually be competing, that triggers divisions among Canadians."