Will Olympic gold-winning Canadians remember new anthem lyrics?

Bobsleigh brakeman Jesse Lumsden apologizes in advance should he forget

Will Olympic gold-winning Canadians remember new anthem lyrics?
Canadian bobsleigh duo Jesse Lumsden, back, and Justin Kripps aren't sure they'll remember the changes to "O Canada" if they win gold at the Winter Olympics. © Matt Roberts/Getty Images

The Canadian Olympic Committee will tell its athletes competing this month at the Winter Games that there are new gender-neutral lyrics to "O Canada."

Whether or not the athletes actually remember those new words, amid the euphoria of winning a gold medal, is another question.

"My goal, and I'm very open with saying this, is it's not about winning the medal, it's about standing on the podium and singing the national anthem," bobsleigh brakeman Jesse Lumsden said Tuesday.

"I can promise you this, the lyrics of that national anthem have been ingrained in me for 36 years. I'm not going to remember that change. For anybody who I might offend, I'm sorry."

The Canadian Senate passed Bill C-210 on Jan. 31, changing the official lyrics of "O Canada" from "in all thy sons command," to the gender neutral "in all of us command."

The COC confirmed Monday that athletes will be made aware of that in the coming days.

Bobsleigh pilot Justin Kripps doesn't like his chances of remembering the new words either.

"I would say slim to none. Luckily it's just a few words," said Kripps. "When I sing I kind of just mumble anyway because I have a terrible singing voice."

Competition begins Wednesday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with the opening ceremonies Friday.