From America, with love
Congratulations! No more tears. Your ragtag bunch of scrappy underdog college -- excuse us, university -- kids just took out the fearsome Soviet hockey juggernaut, setting the stage for Rocky Balboa single-handedly to end the Cold War oh, wait. That was the Miracle on Ice. But hey, your collection of highly paid elite professional grown men still beat the Russkies! Which means you're on the way to reviving your moribund Olympic mojo and putting this whole "Own the Podium" fiasco behind you -- provided you follow our five-point plan for becoming a future Winter Games powerhouse:
1. Expand curling: You say hockey is your national sport. But let's get Dr. Phil real: You kick serious tail in rock tossing and ice sweeping. So petition the International Olympic Committee for more of it. Senior curling. Downhill curling. Bikini beach curling. (Ratings would go through the roof.) What did the United States do when we got tired of getting pwned in Euro-centric events like Nordic combined? We got Jacques Rogge & Co. to add snowboarding. We'd get them to add skateboarding and competitive eating to the Summer Games slate if we could. More medals for us, dude.
2. Make tennis and golf Winter Olympic sports: According to your own Olympic officials, Team Canada is struggling because rabid home ice fans are too enthusiastic. Too loud, even. (Also the same reason Duke always loses at Cameron Indoor.) Solution? Make the Winter Games home to two sports where boisterous rooting is kept under wraps. Then hire Stevie Williams to enforce matters. Problem solved.
3. Award selves platinum medals: Lots of 'em. As many as you can afford. Hey, it worked for Yevgeny Plushenko. Oh, and if you're still feeling that strange hollow gnawing sense of complete and total existential inadequacy that comes with being a second-rate Winter Games power even though half your land mass is essentially glacial, make a diamond-encrusted vanity pendant in the shape of your own head. Marquis Daniels did the same thing. And he's Marquis Daniels.
4. Invade Russia: Granted, it didn't work in World War I. Or WWII. And it's pretty much a suicide move in Risk. Still, there's only one way to ensure Team Russia doesn't bite back at the Sochi Games.
5. Go back to being Canadians, already: Own the podium? Please. Arrogant claptrap. So very, very us. So very unlike you. Don't pull a Heidi Montag on the face/chest/etc. of your national character. Just be yourselves. Work hard, try your best, have fun. Life goes on, win or lose. Cool perspective. Reasonable, levelheaded ironic detachment. That's your essence. Stick with it. Especially now, in the wake of your Olympic wipeout. Isn't that how you shrugged off "The Love Guru," "Thicke of the Night," and losing both the Montreal Expos and the Vancouver Grizzlies? Leave the emotional, knee-jerk reactions (invading Grenada, anointing/demonizing/redeeming Bode Miller) to the experts down south. Besides, do you really want more Pitka a Thicke-helmed late-night gabfest the lousy Nationals and Grizz or the special heartburn that comes with being good at the Olympics? Not if you've seen the "Today" show lately, you don't.
Canada, you've already grasped something we'll never understand: Sometimes you win by losing.
Beer and cigars for everyone!
Patrick Hruby is a freelance writer and ESPN.com contributor. Contact him at PatrickHruby.net.