VANCOUVER -- Canada's "Own the Podium" initiative goes far beyond limiting access to training facilities, according to a handbook obtained exclusively by Salty Caramel.
The guide, apparently passed out to Canadian athletes and coaches, contains instructions on how to behave and what to say (and not say).
For example, athletes and officials are to refrain from saying "Eh," in the presence of foreigners as it "sounds weak and leaves one vulnerable to mocking." They should also work on Americanizing their pronunciations of "about" and "pasta" to the harsher, less euphonious "a-bowt" and "pos-ta."
The movie "Taxi Driver," in which Robert De Niro is a down-on-his-luck New Yorker, is being played on a continuous loop in the communal rooms for Canadian athletes as an example of the ideal diction, with awards given nightly for the toughest "You lookin' at me?" rendition.
Courtesies such as holding open doors, shaking hands and initiating friendly conversations should be reserved until after competition, and behavior such as cheerful whistling should also be averted.
Under the guise of friendship, athletes can encourage visiting athletes to partake of poutine -- a Canadian specialty of French fries slathered in gravy and cheese curds with an average of 1,100 calories per serving -- "especially those from Asian nations, where there is a high incidence of lactose intolerance."
Although no mention is made in the handbook of logistical intimidation, participants from Africa and other nations with warm climates have reported heaters that didn't work at their Olympic Village housing. A Canadian official dismissed the complaint, saying, "Naturally the Canadian winter will feel chillier to those athletes who grew up near the equator." However, a visit to the rooms of athletes from Ghana, Jamaica, Ethiopia and Mexico revealed indoor temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below, despite thermostats reporting balmy temperatures of 70 degrees.
Participants aren't the only ones encouraged amp up the aggressiveness. The guide directs Canadians to tell their supporters to refrain from clapping, cheering or ringing cow bells for opponents at any point during the competition "unless a Canadian victory is assured."
In order to intimidate foreign tourists and possibly prevent them from attending events to cheer on their countrymen, a car was lit on fire by expertly trained firefighters after Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal in the moguls Sunday, with actors paid to play the part of rampaging locals. As preparation for the inferno, they watched tapes of Chicago and Detroit fans after their basketball teams won NBA championships, according to one of the participants. "I felt kind of bad, but it's work, eh?," said the man, who declined to give his name. "Ever since the X-Files stopped filming here it's been hard to get acting gigs."
Not every part of Canada's "Own the Podium" blueprint ended up working out, according to an assistant of one of the officials involved in the secret plans. Canada had originally hoped to have an Opening Ceremonies that exceeded Beijing's 2008 Opening Ceremonies in grandeur, but the "First Nations" participants balked when they tried to recreate the spectacular "wave" effect using the movable boxes.
"We bribed the Chinese director in charge of that box piece to replicate a grander version for our Opening Ceremonies with promise of citizenship and unlimited Google access, but our First Nations participants revolted when we told them it would require living in boxes for 18 hours a day for three months," said the assistant.