Welcome to StickTaps, my new blog series covering a week’s worth of my favourite things in the sporting world. This week I discuss a number of Olympic stories plus a new hockey program starting in Florida. Cheers and enjoy! – Lach
- Rio 2016 comes to an end, Canada takes home 22 medals
The Summer Olympics ended Sunday night after 19 days of competition in Brazil. While the US easily won the medal count with 121 medals in total, Canada tied their best ever showing at a Summer Olympics by taking 22 medals. Swimmer Penny Oleksiak was Canada’s most successful athlete in Rio, winning a gold medal in the 100M freestyle, a silver in the 100M butterfly, and two bronze medals in the 4x100M team relay and the 4x200M relay. Oleksiak’s fantastic run earned her the honour of Canadian flagbearer in the Closing Ceremonies last night.
- The Usain Bolt and Andre de Grasse Bromance
Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse had his own coming out party in Rio, winning a 200M dash silver and bronze in both the 100M dash and the 4x100M relay. But nothing else caught the internet’s attention like the bromance between De Grasse and Jamaican Olympic legend Usain Bolt. The pair were in direct competition with each other during the 100M final and the final two rounds of the 200M. Bolt and De Grasse finished 1st and 2nd respectively in both 200M rounds, and shared a good laugh at the end of the semifinal run. The smiles disappeared when De Grasse came within 0.002 seconds of beating Bolt in the final, but let’s hope this running bromance never crosses the finish line.
- Japanese PM turns into Mario at Rio 2016 Closing Ceremonies
Okay, I admit it; I’m a bit of a nerd. That’s probably why the Tokyo 2020 preview portion of the Rio Closing Ceremonies was the highlight of my Sunday night. The big moment came when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe realized he was going to be late for the show, and in order to get there on time, he morphed into MARIO. Using his signature teleporting green pipe, PM Mario tunneled his way into the Maracana Stadium to thunderous applause. What Japanese creation has more international appeal than an Italian-American plumber?
— . (@lmfaofa) August 22, 2016
- John Oliver’s take on Ryan Lochte
Last Week Tonight on HBO is one of my favorite TV shows, and in the latest episode John Oliver discusses the scandal surrounding American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. Lochte claimed that while in Rio, he and a few fellow swimmers were robbed at gunpoint. The claim turned out to be untrue, and that the group had actually vandalized a gas station washroom while drunk and been confronted by a security guard. Oliver’s Lochte segment can be found below, where the show refers to him as “America’s Idiot Sea Cow”. (WARNING: This video’s language is not suitable for the workplace.)
- Florida Panthers launch Learn to Play Program
This might come as a shock to you, but even with two NHL franchises and a few popular minor league franchises, the state of Florida is not exactly a hockey hotbed. The Florida Panthers are trying to fix that with a brand new program called Learn to Play, a series of hockey camps for kids aged 4-8 with no hockey experience. For just $100, the Cats will not only give attendees six weeks worth of coaching and on-ice practice; they’ll also supply each player with a brand new set of hockey equipment to keep after the camp is over AND a free pair of tickets to a Panthers home game. This is far and away the best hockey program deal I’ve ever seen, and I would love to see other NHL teams follow this path in the future. If you live in the South Florida area with a child that fits the age group, I full heartedly encourage you to sign them up. To learn more about the program, click the link here.