December 15 2008


December 15 2008


Eric Lamaze

Banned from two previous Olympics for cocaine use, the 40-yearold show jumper from Schomberg, Ont., finally made it to the Games. He and his horse Hickstead won gold and silver medals in Beijing.

Ingrid Betancourt

After being held captive in the Colombian jungle by FARC rebels/narco-terrorists for six years, the former presidential candidate looked gaunt and defeated in her last “proof of life” video. But liberty came suddenly on July 2: the army tricked FARC into putting 15 hostages on a helicopter, and whisked them to safety. The next day, reunited with her now-grown kids, Betancourt likened freedom to “nirvana, paradise.”

The Reena Virk trial

Kelly Ellard, now 25, won yet another trial in the 1997 beating and drowning murder of 14-yearold Reena Virk of Saanich, B.C. The Virk family has already endured three trials: one hung jury, two murder convictions, both overturned on appeal. Enough, says the province, which wants the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the latest retrial decision.

Bears and more bears

Bears were sighted pawing through urban garbage, dining and dashing at the Subway in Kitimat, B.C., mugging hikers and joggers, and one killed a hunter in Alberta. Still, attacks on humans are the exception. Usually, when the two territorial species collide, it’s curtains for Yogi.


Another spring, another flood, another airlift for the 1,900 members of the northern Ontario Cree First Nation. It’s the unfortunate legacy of a federal governmentordered relocation onto a flood plain in 1957. But Ottawa nixed the idea of relocation last year, and the feds are refusing to hand over millions in rebuilding money while Indian Affairs pores over the natives’ accounts.

New Kids On The Block

To every boy band there is a season, turn, turn, turn. A time for gold records, a time for solo work, and now, a time to gather the not-so-hirsute-anymore boys for the inevitable, slightly desperate reunion tour. The Kids’ saccharine album, The Block, debuted in Billboard’s No. 2 spot.

Suburban retro chic

Undies flapping on clotheslines— long verboten in developmentsare the new flags of environmental consciousness, while tap water is its official drink. And, of course, the grass is always greener when cut with a push mower.

Ripped van Wrinkle

Just in time for the Olympics, two icons of Games past—swimmer Mark Spitz and gymnast Nadia Comaneci— signed up to shill for Botox. Even gold medallists, it seems, worry about frown lines.

Karl Marx

His big idea—capitalism is doomed by impoverished workers—is currently playing everywhere. And governments bailing out the banks and big business—isn’t that socialism?


Dara Torres

The 41-year-old U.S. swimmer bagged three silvers at the Olympics, two years after giving birth and eight years since her last Games. Her first appearance:

1984. Most of her Beijing teammates hadn’t even been born.

Anwar Ibrahim

Years ago the former deputy PM of Malaysia was jailed on laughable corruption and sodomy charges. Now, he’s opposition leader and there’s a new sodomy charge and a possible 20-year sentence. Politics and bedfellows— no harmless cliché in Malaysia.

Tampa Bay Rays

How did this baseball team go from dead last in 2007 to the 2008 World Series?! Dropping “devil” from their name? Changing their uniforms? Whatever the case, the remarkable turnaround helped blunt the disappointment after the Philadelphia Phillies rewrote the fairy tale ending, 4-1, in the finals.

Short hair

Posh, Katie Holmes, Rihanna—for these red carpet strutters, the bob was just a way station en route to a souped-up pixie.

Robert Latimer

The unrepentant Saskatchewan farmer was released on day parole after serving seven years for killing his 12-year-old daughter, Tracy, who was in pain and disabled by cerebral palsy. When asked by a parole board member whether he’d do the same for a terminally ill relative, Latimer, who refuses to apologize for what he says was a mercy killing, responded, “I don’t think so.”

U find me pis

Via cellphone, injured survivor Bob Pomponio guided rescuers to the site of a Vancouver Island plane crash that claimed five lives. His battery was low and phone reception failed, so he sent texts. Before rescuers arrived, he also received two—both marketing appeals from Telus.

José Ramos-Horta

After a botched assassination attempt by rebels in February, the peace activist president of East Timor recuperated in Australia. Back home now, with lasting nerve damage, he visited his alleged would-be killer in jail. “I stared at him. He turned away, embarrassed, and couldn’t look me in the eye,” said Ramos-Horta.

Christina Applegate

The Married With Children actress, 37, roared back from hasbeen status—and cancer and a double mastectomy—with an Emmy nomination for Samantha Who? Currently undergoing reconstructive surgery, she vows, “I’m going to have the best boobs in the nursing home.”

The white stuff

Much of Canada enjoyed a very white winter, just like the ones we used to know. The nostalgia got old, however, when driveways were still being shovelled in April. Snowfall records across the nation fell like—oh, you get the idea. Even in Victoria, an April accumulation record that had stood since 1940 was broken.

Bill Reid’s treasures

With the price of gold soaring, experts feared the worst when thieves stole 12 pieces, worth an estimated $2 million, of the late Haida artist Bill Reid’s gold jewellery and artwork from B.C.’s Museum of Anthropology. Happily, all the pieces were recovered by police. Although several had been damaged, none had been melted down.

CBC journalist Mellissa Fung was freed from captivity in Afghanistan after spending four weeks in a hole

Comfortable clothes

Goodbye skinny jeans and miniskirts, hello harem pants, maxi dresses and looking pregnant even when you’re not.

Robert Downey Jr.

After years in and out of rehab (and jail), and Hollywood handwringing about untapped potential, the 43-year-old actor delivered, big-time, in Iron Man, which raked in US$600 million with a clever combo of cheek and special effects.

Kiefer Sutherland

The actor walked free in January after serving 48 days for his second drunk driving conviction. The 24 star, who worked in the jail’s laundry, was called

a model prisoner—and colleague: he arranged to do his time while his show was on hiatus.

John Babcock

Canada’s only surviving First World War veteran regained his Canadian citizenship, at age 107, during a ceremony at his home in Spokane, Wash., some 90 years after moving to the U.S. Welcome back, sir. M