Canadian athletes: success or failure?
After 11 days of competition, would the results achieved by the Canadian Olympic team be considered a success or a failure?
It all depends on who you ask.
A member of the media would tell you that Canada’s performance so far has been a colossal failure, as countless medal favourites have “choked” and come away empty-handed, having let the pressure get to them. They would probably read you a list of athletes who were supposed to win and didn’t.
They would probably talk begrudgingly about the Own the Podium program which cost hundreds of millions of dollars and isn’t producing results. Needless to say, they would probably focus on the negative.
However, an average Canadian spectator would likely tell you that the games have been a great success (except of course for men’s hockey, where anything less than an undefeated run to the gold medal was always going to be considered a failure).
They would glow with pride when talking about Alexandre Bilodeau, who captured the hearts of every Canadian when he won the nation’s first gold medal on home soil with his breathtaking run in the freestyle moguls on the second day of competition.
No doubt they would also mention Christine Nesbitt, who won a gold medal in the 1000 metre women’s speed skating event, which coincidently was on her 20th birthday.
And who couldn’t love Jon Montgomery’s celebration after winning his gold medal in skeleton, pumping his fist, and then high-fiving fans as he made his way through Whistler.
It all comes down to perspective.
Yes, there have been athletes who have fallen short of expectations, but that is no reason to call the Olympics a failure for Team Canada. Lots of athletes have turned out amazing performances and have broken personal records.
These accomplishments should not be dismissed simply because they did not result in a medal. Many of Canada’s most likely podium threats, such as curling and women’s hockey, have yet to award medals.
The media criticism of Team Canada is unwarranted and unpatriotic. I’m sure Melissa Hollingsworth, who didn’t earn a medal for skeleton despite coming into her final run in second place, feels bad enough already without having to hear herself be called a choke artist by every broadcaster and journalist in the country.
While it hasn’t been a perfect ride for Canada so far in Vancouver, Canadians should still be proud of our athletes and all they have accomplished.