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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
You go your way / I'll go your way too
— Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen
August 30, 2004
Athens is over; long live Vancouver 2010!

The Athens Olympics are over, and our country is wringing its collective hands over the results: 12 medals, 2 fewer than in Sydney.

Should we be spending more money on athletics? Maybe. The Olympics - and events like them - are an important national stage. It’s not all about money though, and it’s not all about medals.

Stephen Owen, our minister for sport, pointed out in a radio interview this morning that Australia - the most often held up model for Canada to follow - focuses a great deal of funding on 8 sports; swimming is good, rowing is not.

Our rowing team offers a good example of one of the issues with focusing on funding: no amount of funding could have made up for, or changed, the fact that this team had a really bad day (not just one, but a bunch in a row.) An incredible winning team of athletes lost every medal.

But Minister Owen failed to point out a key fact in this morning’s interview: Australia may be a bad example because while they do disproportionately well in the summer Olympics, they do quite poorly at the winter games; Canada does almost exactly the opposite.

Yes, I’d like to see more medals - medals are nice (and shiny) - but I’m also heartened to see 59% of our athletes finishing in the top 8. Focusing on the top 3 can create an artificial focus. These Olympics weren’t bad for Canada, we just didn’t get to hear our anthem often enough.

It’s a great anthem, so let’s do whatever we can to change this for next time.

Posted by skooter at 9:12 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
This entry is tagged: Olympics, Sports

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