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Canada Strikes Gold in Synchronized Spelling

Canada Strikes Gold in Synchronized Spelling
Revell, Loubens, Bellinger, Grabbens of Canada in perfect unison.

While there has been much weeping, wailing and gnashing of hurdles over our nation's disappointing performance in the Athens Games, a golden ray of sunshine shone down today on the Canadian synchronized spelling team.

As friends, families and spelling enthusiasts looked on, team captain Anita Revell of Winnipeg, Graham Bellinger of Port Moody B.C., Nigel Grabbens of Bowmanville, Ontario and Sara Loubens of Edmonton completed a flawless group spelling of 'pusillanimous,' and won gold for Canada in the mixed Synchronized Spelling 48-65 kilogram division.

"Clear, crisp spelling, with impeccable cadence and punchy enunciation," said CBC spelling commentator Vincent Marbury. "If Spelling Canada can manage to keep these four spellers and their large egos together, and they don't choke, there could be several more gold medals in their future."

An emotional Revell called it the greatest moment of her life. "All of the years of practice, dedication and mysterious needles that the doctor told me were totally harmless have finally paid off...Oops. I think I've said too much."

The Canadian victory marked the end of Japan's cinderella run in Olympic synchronized spelling. The Japanese enjoyed a relatively easy path to the final, receiving two byes in the round-robin. They then won the semi-final in controversial fashion, after a member of the Norwegian team was caught by officials with a dictionary down his shorts. Norway was subsequently disqualified.

The Japanese team's run of luck ran out, however, when they stumbled on the word 'truck.' leaving the door open for a Canadian victory.

"We were surprised to see Japan in the finals, since none of them speak English," said Canada's Olympic chef de mission Harold Ohshit. "But we'll take the medals however we can get them!"

After years of ridicule, spelling enthusiasts are hopeful the gold medal win will finally bring some respect to their sport.

"It might happen," said Grabbens, a 37-year-old reference librarian. "I mean it's a silly sport for sure, but is it really any sillier than the trampoline?"


Posted on August 28th, 2004

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