Monday, February 22, 2010

It's still on loan

Canada's "Own The Podium" campaign (who in the heck came up with that silly slogan?) is starting to backfire. Nate Holland playfully quipped about Canada's new found ambition to take home medals, "They can take the thing home. We'll just rent it for the month." The Americans still have it on loan, along with the Dutch, Swiss, and Norwegians.

A lot of my friends (myself as well) across the country were really surprised about the "Own the podium" campaign and funding program. None of us ever expect Canada to win most of the golds. We're usually happy if we win a few surprise events (like the men's skeleton a few days ago) and hope for a gold in hockey but not much further than that. I cringed when the Canadian officials boasted about a home advantage, declaring their expectations to rack up medals in downhill, speed skating, and figure skating. The thing is, you don't expect athletes to win UNLESS they have been continually winning in World Cup and World Championships and I've never known of a Canadian skier or skater to dominate the circuit. It's unfair that our media keeps slagging the athletes, burdening them with unrealistic expectations because you really never know what will happen. It takes years to build a strong team and even then you aren't guaranteed victory. Athletes need to be cultivated young, and supported through the years as they gain experience in World events giving them the opportunity to peak at the right time. You can't just suddenly inject cash and expect results. What the hell is that? Continual support is needed, helping those who normally struggle to make ends meet. Unfortunately after this it's already been announced that the Canadian program will no longer continue. Pathetic.

Don't shoot me, but I sort of wouldn't mind the government eating a bit humble pie. The Brits and Swedes have beaten us in curling before, the Russians, Americans, Czech, Finnish, Swedes can kick butt in hockey, and pretty much every country can win figure skating. We're a country of a mere 30 million individuals, it's simple math.

Gold or nothing? That's not the Canadian way and never should be.