Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Go for the Gold, or Fourth Place

Have you heard of the 'Own the Podium' program that Canada created for its 2010 athletes?  The goal of Vancouver 2010 was to be the overall winner of the games with the highest medal count.

Well, we probably won't be owning the podium this time round.  We've heard American snowboarders saying, 'Canadians might own the podium, but we'll be borrowing it for 2010'.  We've heard criticism from competing countries.  We've even heard our own team blaming the program for their losses in speed-skating.

Obviously it would be super awesome wicked to see Canada up there with 25 medals, but at the end of the day, does it really matter.   And if so, to whom?

The IOC counts the 'Olympic Winner' as the one with the most golds. Well guess what?  We have 6, with Germany and the US only one gold ahead of us.

And even without winning the most golds, I am pretty sure for us, these Olympics have been pretty golden.  Alexandre Bilodeau winning the first gold on Canadian soil with his brother by his side. Virtue and Moir winning the first Canadian (actually North American) gold in Ice Dancing and bumping those pouting Russians off the podium.  And just a few minutes ago, Ashleigh McIvor won the first gold in women's Ski Cross - EVER!

Those are just the golds.  We have silvers and we have bronzes too.

And if they gave medals to the top 10 in all the events, Canada would definitely be owning the podium.  Sure, getting fourth probably doesn't feel as good as getting bronze, but it's fourth!  IN THE WORLD!  

Melissa Hollingsworth tearfully apologized to messing up her heat and losing a medal.  Ummm, you came in fifth Ms. Hollingsworth.  You came fifth in the world in a sport where you are going 140km/hour head first on ICE!  

Heck, I can't even slide down a toboggan run properly!    Delsbosco came 4th in ski cross - he was trying for second but ended up falling and winding up fourth.  Meh. He beat ALL the other competitors to make it to that final.  And even though he fell, he still finished his race.  Isn't that the message Olympics should be sending home?  That even when you fall, you stand tall and proud and finish the race? 

Davey Barr came  in 6th in that same event.  Sixth out of 33 - and two days before he wasn't even good enough to be on the Canadian team!  He made it because two other skiers got injured and now he's SIXTH in the world!

Canadians focus solely on our losses.  Well, that's what it seems like in the press.  The weekend wasn't great.  Sure, we lost in hockey.  To the Americans.  But our women are still kicking ass.  And when it comes to curling - our teams are kicking BUTT!  Maybe we should focus on the other most played ice sport in Canada.  

The Olympics shouldn't be about medals and winning.  What about sportsmanship? I know that is a very Canadian viewpoint, but it's  good viewpoint.

Take yesterdays ice dancing win.  When the final numbers were up, and the gold was awarded to Moir/Virtue - did they gloat?  No, they thanked Canada for all their support.  What did their biggest competition and training buddies do? (who are American) They rushed up to their friends with tears in their eyes congratulating them.  And not that fake, 'I'm so happy for you' (not), White/Davis were genuinely happy for their friends.  It was amazing.  I cried.

The Russians, on the other hand, continue to be bad sports.  From having ex-presidents write VANOC complaining that our judges are corrupt and our Olympics are horrible all because your greasy-haired skater didn't get gold?  

(reminder Russia:  it's because of your corruption in the 2002 Olympics that sent figure skating into a whole new points system and put cheaters like you in the spotlight) 

To the ice dancers pouting on the bronze podium in their ridiculous outfits and tacky make-up.  Maybe if they hadn't offended Australia, Russia would have had a chance.  Nah.  The Canadians really did rock it.

The other amazing thing about the Olympics is family.  I adore watching the family of athletes cheering on their loved one - winning OR losing.  When Scott jumped up to hug his crying brothers and they lifted him off his feet?  Crying.  Maelle's mom waving her flag, her cheek covered in maple leaves?  Crying.  We are really seeing how family makes these athletes who they are.  Joannie Rochette has to skate today, after losing her mum only a few days ago.  I feel that with the knowledge of her mum watching over her, and feeling the support of our entire nation, she will do her best ever skate.

The most incredible thing about these Olympics, I feel, is how this city feels.  For once, everyone is happy.  Even in the rain. People are smiling, talking to each other.  We are all proud of our Canadian team.  Heck, we're excited about every athlete we see.  We're making friends with people all over the world.  We've joined together as one nation, proud, strong and happy - in our wins and losses.

And in the end, isn't that the real gold?  Cue 'After School Special' music . . . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YES!!! That's EXACTLY how I feel :) Thanks Friend!! xoxox