The Winter Olympics exist?

In Australia, the Winter Olympics aren’t really a thing. This year, Team Australia sent a grand total of 60 athletes to Sochi, a record number.  A friend told me that the entirety of Australia’s Winter Olympics Team could make up Team Canada’s hockey teams — I’m not entirely sure if he was joking or not.

It’s pretty easy to forget that the Winter Olympics are on in Australia — they are not televised to the scale that they are in Canada, and the nightly updates on the news are something of a novelty. Never mind that Australia’s first winter gold medal was awarded to Steven Bradbury at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, in 1,000 metres short track speed skating, because everyone in front of him fell over. Thus spawned the Australian saying: “He did a Bradbury,” announced when an unexpected champion appears out of nowhere.

The energy that Canadians have for the Winter Olympics is amazing to me. “If you study for your midterms when the Winter Olympics are on, you’re not Canadian,” my friend informed me when I expressed my concern for us skipping a whole day of study and class so that we could watch men’s hockey, cross-country skiing (an event I didn’t even know existed until I watched it), and curling.

There’s even a Team Canada display in PAS and every mall worth going to. On a recent weekend trip to Toronto, I noticed banners up on every street, proudly cheering, “Go Canada Go!” There was an Olympics update halfway through the Leafs game I was lucky enough to go to. Canada is crazy about the Winter Olympics.

It’s fun actually having a team to cheer on at the Games, to be honest. Every day I can flick on the TV and see the Canadians slaying their opponents; it’s genuinely shocking when they don’t win a medal.

I found love watching Virtue and Moir, and I adore watching the Team Canada ads that come up on YouTube. In fact, I’ve become so engrossed in everything Team Canada at the Winter Olympics that I managed to miss the news that Australia got itself a medal. I’m not even sure what event we won a medal in.

Canada and Australia are stark contrasts when it comes to success at the Games, but it’s ridiculously satisfying to finally support a team that is expected to win. There’s something to be said about sitting back in a comfortable couch with a slice of pizza and a bubble tea listening to a guy with the most stereotypically Canadian accent critique the Austrian hockey team’s technique.

&ldquo;Look at them, passing the puck all sloppy. They&rsquo;re <em>scared</em> of the Canadians. Look, all the Canadians have to do is skate up to them and they panic!&rdquo; His insight helped me figure out what was even happening in the game.

At very least, the Winter Olympics have allowed me to tick off a prerequisite of pretending to be Canadian: I now own Team Canada mittens. I am one of you.