398af4f3dc158210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2010-02Gloves are off as Canadians come out fighting for gold, and I salute them298af4f3dc158210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____Gloves are off as Canadians come out fighting for gold, and I salute themOK, admit it. Who fed the Canadians after midnight?<p>OK, admit it. Who fed the Canadians after midnight?
Until recently, their most belligerent act involved sewing Maple Leaf badges on to their possessions to avoid being mistaken for Americans. (Americans, meanwhile, like to carry guns to avoid being mistaken for Canadians. I know who I am backing).
But somebody must have slipped them some delicious tree sap after dark, because the Canucks have turned nasty. Specifically, they have turned nasty in their pursuit of gold medals at the Winter Olympics.</p>
<p>Firstly, they were so desperate to win gold on home soil - a feat they failed to achieve at the Montreal and Calgary Games - that they restricted other nations to minimum practice time at the Vancouver facilities.
Then, when British athlete Amy Williams overcame this skulduggery and won gold in the skeleton bobsleigh, the Canadians made an official complaint about her helmet. It was rejected.
Some people have criticised the hosts for soiling the Olympic ideals of fair play. I say: "Go Canada. I stand on guard for thee."</p>
<p>Why do we tolerate gamesmanship in some countries but not in others? Why do we congratulate Australians for their "win at all costs" attitude but not Canadians? Why do we offer nothing more than an indulgent chuckle about state-sponsored cheating in South America, like the arrest in Colombia of England footballer Bobby Moore on trumped up shoplifting charges before the 1970 World Cup?
Like the Canadians, the English are also fettered by expectations of gentlemanly conduct. Well, I am sick of getting a pat on the head and a Fair Play Award while others connive their way to victory. So, go ahead Canada, take the gloves off, throw the rulebook out of the window and punch below the belt. And if you get caught, just cover that maple leaf and pretend to be American.</p>
<p><i>Will Batchelor is a writer, broadcaster and self-confessed cynical sports fan.</i>