It’s day 11 of the 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada is short of its “Own the Podium” Goal. Chris Rudge, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s CEO, said Canada’s goal was to finish first in the 2010 medal standings which would mean winning somewhere between 28 and 34 medals. Today, Canada has only 11 medals. With less than 7 days left, achieving the goal seems out of reach.
The good news for Canada: the IOC determines the “winners of the Games” by the number of Gold medals – not overall medals. By today’s count, Canada is behind the US and Germany by only 1 Gold medal. (Canada has 6; the US and Germany – 7.)
Now, this post is not meant to be negative about our athletes. I can only imagine the difficulties they need to overcome; the sacrifices they need to make to even compete. The point is this: as Canadians, are we satisfied to say “we’re glad you showed up”? Or, do we want to stand up, be loud and say “we want you to get the Gold; we know you can get the Gold; and we expect you to get the Gold”?
Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged Canadians to “show some boisterous uncharacteristic patriotism” when the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Games began. Saying “there’s no need for Canadians to apologize for being proud of their country and its athletes.” (Really? He had to say that??)
Canadians should be proud of their athletes. Canadians should never apologize for being proud. And, Canadians should feel comfortable expecting to win, demanding to win, and cheering their hearts out when the wins come in! This also means that when the wins don’t come (which was the case over the past few days of the Games), Canadians can be disappointed. This is not disappointment in the athlete; it is disappointment in the performance.
When it comes to hosting the Games and being hospitable to the World, Canada is a leader – just ask Calgarians. When it comes to Health Care, and even the economy – Canada’s systems are envied. When it comes to Peacekeeping – the World turns to Canadians. When it comes to open-mindedness, Canada can tap dance around 98% of the rest of the world (my number, not a fact).
When it comes to sports, however, Canada is not the country that comes to mind first – except for hockey but, I’m starting to think that may be only in our own minds. Now, even if 2010 isn’t our year, we’re setting a precedent. We stood up and we said we would win. Make no apology for that, Canada. If we don’t take it all, let’s take our lumps and learn from them. In 2014, let’s take Sochi (Russia) by storm… and, if we can’t wait that long, I say we shake up London (England) a little in 2012.
I say let’s take this Olympics and learn (not make excuses), and let’s blow the World’s socks off next time ‘round… Do you believe?