Rare as Gold

I love the Olympics.

And I love Canada.

But I am becoming ashamed now.  The reason for my shame is a recurring problem, it happened in Athens four years ago and its even worse this time.  I'm talking of course about the dearth of medals Canada is getting in the olympics, or rather, people's whining about it.

Its seven days in and Canada hasn't got a medal yet.  People are complaining that our athletes aren't trying hard enough and how can we be a real country with no medals, look at Turkmenistan!

Well, thats too bad isn't it?  But I believe in the old saying 'Let he who hath made it to an olympic final cast the first stone.'  I am not an olympic athlete, and I never will be.  The determination and drive that it requires to get to the olympics, especially a mono-sport-obsessed country such as Canada, amazes me.  These people are fantastic, they are working hard, for their dream.  And we're complaining? What right have the citizens of Canada to complain that these athletes aren't trying hard enough.  As we sit in our armchairs eating popcorn watching some young swimmer, or runner or rower come in 8th or 20th in the world, what right have we to complain?

Are we willing to pay more taxes in order to increase funding and recruitment for sports?  Are we willing to fund prizes so that those who are successful can actually live off their success if they can't get a cereal box deal?  Probably not.  We want to pay as little as possible and we want these kids to make us feel good about being Canadian.  Well, in the spirit of Canadian fairness, that just isn't fair.  You get what you pay for and even then, its their dream, not ours.

For 365 days a year there is just one sport Canadians really care about, hockey.  Maybe a bit of curling and lacrosse.  Then every four years we get it into our head that we should be winning medals in the 100m dash, rowing, archery, weightlifting and gymnastics.  If Canadians really cared about those sports they'd support them all year long, every year. They'd watch the tournaments, they'd know who the athletes are already.  All we really care about is getting the medals to massage our weak ego.

So I hope our olympic athletes stop apologizing for not winning.  They have no one to apologize to. It is the Canadian public and the Canadian media that needs to apologize to them.  We should support them in their dreams and tell them that we are proud that they are there but that the achievement is all their own.

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