The Jason De Vos Column

FOOTBALL has taken a bit of a back seat on the De Vos television this week with the Winter Olympics grabbing my spare time. The Canadian team have already won a few medals and if it were not for some shameful judging in the figure skating we would have at least one more gold.

FOOTBALL has taken a bit of a back seat on the De Vos television this week with the Winter Olympics grabbing my spare time. The Canadian team have already won a few medals and if it were not for some shameful judging in the figure skating we would have at least one more gold.

Doing well in Torino is important to us because we are hosting the Winter Games in 2010, in my wife's home town of Vancouver.

Canada is taking it very seriously and has a campaign called 'Own a Podium' with the intention to finish top in 2010.

We won't necessarily finish top of the medal table in these Games in Italy but we are setting the foundations and there is a lot of funding going into Olympic sports.

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I think it is great because some of my lasting memories and proudest moments are of the Olympic Games.

I can remember distinctly when Canada's hockey team won the gold medal in 2002, beating the USA 5-2 in Salt Lake City. That is up there with seeing Donovan Bailey kick Michael Johnson's backside in a special 150-metre race when the 200m and 400m reigned supreme but it took a Canadian to get one over on the Yanks.

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These Games have been good fun but as is always the case where you have judges involved there is always controversy.

It can be very hard, as we saw with the Canadian skaters, when you are clearly the best but get robbed by a judging error even when these things are subjective.

SHOCK horror - Chelsea lost. That will be the title blown then. Joking aside, it was an incredible result for them to go 3-0 down at Middlesbrough and all the more surprising because it is now so rare that they lose at all.

But shock results do happen every now and again and I have been on both sides. I was in the Canadian side that held the mighty Brazil to a 0-0 draw, and even though we were camped in our 18-yard box all game, we did it.

Mind you, I would not read too much into Chelsea slipping up because even with Manchester United and Liverpool challenging, Jose's side are streets ahead.

I'M glad to be among the Town lads backing the Spring Clean Suffolk campaign with the aim of helping clean up the county. There is no doubt my wife will have me making sure our property is spick and span and if she had her way I would be out in the village, too.

The Spring Clean Suffolk is aimed at addressing the culture of throwing litter around the county and is looking to use a number of initiatives to clean up the place - so good luck to them.

THANK you once again for all your e-mails, which also included a number of generous and flattering remarks regarding Ipswich Town taking up the option on my contract and me staying at the club.

One supporter, Dave Curtis, wrote to tell me how he had recently taken Clare Rustad to Portman Road as his guest.

Clare is someone I know, but have never met, as she is a Canadian international footballer. Women's soccer is huge back home and is really taking off. It is the same in the States, too, where it is as big as the men's game. That is helped by the law in North America that dictates that all funding for all sports has to be equal, irrespective of gender.

The women's game over here is struggling by comparison, although I have to say they play to a good standard. I know Clare was offered trials at Charlton but is studying at Cambridge University and another of our international women, Christine Sinclair, plays for Chelsea Ladies.

Part of the problem for women's football is the lack of funding and that it will always be in the shadow of the men's game.

Peter Webb from Thorold, Ontario, e-mailed saying he would like to come back to Ipswich on a Saturday only because he misses the buzz and atmosphere of a live game at Portman Road.

I know what he means because I know when the time eventually comes for me to move back home I will miss our games at Portman Road and the excitement 25,000-plus fans create.

I'M not sure where Craig Barker is from but he asks what has happened with Jaime Peters, as he has not heard much about him recently. Well, as I warned when Jaime first arrived, it is going to take him time to fully settle and adapt into a new culture.

Jaime was involved at Crewe although he didn't get on. You have to give him time. I know what a huge culture shock it can be. He is just 18, while I was 22 when I first came over here and it still took me a long time to adapt.

He is on crash course of football and catching up in some ways as the young lads already here have had that support and backing for some while Jaime is used to being at another level. In Canada all the top players tend to gravitate to one team and so win everything in sight but that doesn't necessarily make them better players because they are not being tested. Jaime made the right decision to come to Ipswich and already we can see improvements but he was never going to come in and be a Wayne Rooney. Eventually he will became a real force for this club and a real fans' favourite.

AND Jonas Strandell, who runs the Swedish Ipswich Town Supporters Club, asks which hockey team I follow and how I got interested in the sport.

The truth is I'm not a 'Hab' at heart as Jonas suggested, although they are from Toronto. I'm a Leaf, which is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I grew up with hockey as it's a way of life where we lived and always played hockey in the winter and football in the summer.

In many ways they go hand in hand and it was terrific for developing athletic ability. At age 12 I chose football down to my Dutch heritage, although I never thought I would become a professional at that stage.

Although at 15 I seriously thought about going back to hockey as I had the size and attributes which would have made me successful as a quick skater also needs power and strength.

It was a tough decision but I'm glad the way it has worked out.

My thanks also to Judith Nicholls, Joe Cheung and Phil Archer for their e-mails.

As told to Derek Davis

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