Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Canada Doing Well at Olympics

The unwise slogan "We own the podium" provided the start for a rare occasion of Canadian Nationalism. We began with unreasonable expectations that Canadians at home would have a huge advantage over visiting athletes. Certainly it helped, but our general attitude at the start failed to consider the extent of worldwide talent among athletes. The Americans have much more experience than us with nationalism, a bigger budget and ten times the population so it should not be a surprise that the United States is winning by far the most medals. The United Germanies are pretty tough and the Austrians and the French are better skiers, to say nothing about Norway, Sweden, Finland and Japan. China has put enormous resources into training its athletes.
What we have is hockey and over confidence in our NHL stars. We can beat Europeans who have a few NHLers on each team but the United States team is an NHL all star team as well and the outcome is always uncertain. Sometimes it will depend on which great goalie has the better night. Our women hockey players, however, are unbeatable and do not receive enough attention for their achievements.
Canada is high on gold medals and low on bronze and that is quite an accomplishment. We have done as well or better than can reasonably be expected. Remember this was the first time Canadians have won gold at an Olympics held in Canada which is major progress.
It is best to try to forget about slogans like "We Own the Podium" which may end up remembered with slogans like "Mission Accomplished". Canada literally does own the podium and built and hosts these Olympics and that is plenty to be proud of in this national achievement. Our athletes have been heroic and we can be proud of their achievements regardless of the medal count.

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