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Can someone explain to me why we’re still touting Ian Millar? His star horse died in the 80s, and he’s been terrible since then. He’s been in 9 olympics but won his first medal in 2008 – but only in the team event.

His past results, off CTV:

Munich 1972 – Finished sixth in team mixed jumping

Montreal 1976 – Finished fifth in team mixed jumping

Los Angeles 1984 – Finished fourth in team mixed jumping

Los Angeles 1984 – Tied for 14th in individual mixed jumping

Seoul 1988 – Finished fourth in team mixed jumping

Seoul 1988 – Finished 15th in individual mixed jumping

Barcelona 1992 – Finished ninth in team mixed jumping

Barcelona 1992 – Placed 54th in the qualifying round in individual mixed jumping

Atlanta 1996 – Finished 16th in team mixed jumping

Atlanta 1996 – Tied for 46th in the qualifying round in individual mixed jumping

Sydney 2000 – Finished ninth in team mixed jumping

Sydney 2000 – Finished 13th in individual mixed jumping

Athens 2004 – Finished 22nd in individual mixed jumping

Beijing 2008 – Won silver in team mixed jumping

Beijing 2008 – Tied for 23rd in individual mixed jumping

The man placed 54th in ’92, 16th in ’96, and 46th in ’96 again. Today, he had 4 faults in the qualifier.

Eric Lamaze, on the other hand:

Won gold in Beijing 2008

Won team silver in Beijing 2008

Won bronze at the 2010 World Championships

First Canadian equestrian athlete to win Olympic gold

And he had a clean ride today. So remind me why Ian Millar is on all the front pages?

Case in point:

Defending champion Eric Lamaze had the strongest performance for Canada as the veteran show jumper had a penalty-free round while riding Derly Chin De Muze.

Ian Millar , 65, posted the 42nd best score of the opening round. He finished with only four penalty points in his record 10th Olympic Games appearance. He rode Star Power on Saturday, which is the eighth different horse he has competed with during his renowned career.

ONLY four points??? Renowned career???? What on earth is in your cool-aid, Canada?

I’ve now danced on both sides of the ocean, and it makes for an interesting comparison. Some not very coherent thoughts:

  • It’s interesting how much stays the same. Swing is a tiny world, and you eventually get the same famous instructors, the same jazz routines, etc. etc.
  • The dance group here is apparently magic: every lead they touch turns to gold. I don’t know how they do it, but their leads get really good, really fast. Repertoire and musicality take as long as anywhere else to build up, but confidence is the key to a good dance, and their leads have just the perfect amount. Magic.
  • There’s a house style in every studio, and definitely in every city. I’ve noticed this most of all when dancing here with someone from Toronto: he dances like a Canadian. I couldn’t possibly tell you exactly what it is, but his repertoire screams Toronto Lindy. That’s not a value judgement in any way – I adore both styles. It’s just interesting to see that the difference exists.
  • On the same theme as the last point, people here don’t do dips half as often as in Canada. I wonder why that is.
  • They also treat blues very differently – there isn’t much of it, which definitely contributes to the reticence, but there is also definitely a level of discomfort with the closeness that you don’t see as much of in Toronto. In TO, there is very much the attitude that blues is just another style, another dance form. Here I think its sensuality takes the forefront in a way that it doesn’t in Toronto, and it makes people uncomfortable.
  • I love how interconnected both scenes are. Because everything is so close by in the UK, I think travelling to exchanges and other events is much easier, and it certainly seems like there are more of them here. I can’t wait until I’m done my masters and can actually make it to some of them. I’m also a little sad that I never got to go to Followlogie while I was in Canada.

The G20 riots weren’t pretty, and social media was there to capture it all. Still, what we saw wasn’t so much its successes as its limiations. Information about the riots poured down from everywhere – the Globe & Mail’s Live Blog, youtube, blogTO and Torontoist’s bloggers, tweets from everyone and their mother, and even the occasional facebook friend who braved the terror and reported back with cellphone pictures.

Still, for me, it’s CP24 and CTV’s old fashioned, live TV coverage that came out on top every time. For one thing, although the cameras could only cover a small area at a time, TV coverage wasn’t limited to the few-minute-long clips of a cellphone camera, or to Twitter’s 140 characters. You could watch an event from start to finish, see every side’s every move, and for the most part judge the events for yourself. The bias came from the editing choices, the commentary of the journalists and the angle of the camera.

Not so with social media. Although Twitter and blogs were updated live, they were horribly limited. The video that’s been going around in the past half hour or so has been that of protesters peacefully singing “Oh Canada,” and being rushed by police officers, on cue, as the song ended. It’s short, shot from up high, and leaves far more questions than answers: what prompted the order for the police to rush forward? were the protesters given a warning? did they obey this warning? were they really peaceful, or did the protesters you can see walking towards the police at the end of the video threaten them in any way?
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Tamil CP24

Protests have always made me nervous, but Toronto’s recent Tamil protests a bit more than usual. They’ve been able to gather massive amounts of participants – by CP24’s estimate, Wednesday’s protest was to have had 100,000 attendees, although I don’t think it actually reached those numbers – and have managed huge disruptions, from forming a human chain through the downtown core a few months ago to Sunday’s impromptu blockade of the Gardiner Expressway.

Peaceful protests are great, but unfortunately it doesn’t take much to change a peaceful protest into a deadly one – especially when so many people are involved. Just how real this concern is was shown on Sunday when, in CP24’s words, without prior warning “protesters overwhelmed a handful of police officers on bikes…and swarmed onto a downtown Toronto highway.” What if someone had been hurt? Or what if these kinds of numbers had been gathered for a more polarizing issue, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Are our police prepared to deal with (God forbid) violence on such a large scale? Canada’s usual lacklustre attitude to security, as well as the “handful of police officers on bikes” do nothing to reassure me, for one. There was a much larger police presence on Wednesday, but the fact that it was a reactionary, rather than proactive, measure worries me.

The protests also raise another question: to what degree do protesters have a right to disturb Canadian civil society for the sake of a conflict in which Canada is not directly involved? On the one hand, it’s important for NGO’s and protest groups to be able to get Canadian society off of its collective behind to stop massacres, and disrupting pedestrian and motor traffic in the downtown core is a great way to get the message across. On the other hand, the peacefulness of Canadian society (among others) is what sets it apart from places like Sri Lanka, so isn’t disturbing that peace therefore counterproductive? Shouldn’t we keep stable and peaceful countries stable and peaceful, while helping others become more so?

So far the protest has only been a nuisance, but one with a penchant for unplanned detours. Sunday’s fiasco was repeated again on Wednesday when the protest, which should have been confined to Queen’s Park,  spilled into the downtown core. Added to this is the use of the Tamil Tigers flag: although the protesters claim that it is nothing more than a nationalist emblem, it nonetheless brings with it a mental association as violent as the two crossed rifles in its design. This protest is clearly too volatile and potentially threatening for comfort, and while these questions apply to more than just the current situation, the time to answer them is now.