While the Canadian Olympic Committee’s much-heralded Own the Podium campaign pretty much fizzled with this country finishing no where near the top of the medal standings, that doesn’t mean we should look upon the Vancouver Games as being a failure.
On the contrary, there were many bright moments for Canadians athletes during the two weeks of competition and no matter what the British tabloids choose to print about the Olympics and this country’s ability to host them we all should be proud as Canadians for a job well done. More than that, however, we should be prepared to celebrate a strong showing by this county’s athletes – including our female athletes, who led the way to the medal podium.
There were plenty of positive stories from Vancouver with the women’s hockey team striking gold on Thursday and a bronze-medal performance by skater Joannie Rochette that pulled at the heart strings of everyone watching the figure skating competition. Those wins followed a rare one-two finished by Canada’s women’s bobsledders and another medal by speedskater Clara Hughes, who may very well go down in history as this country’s top female athlete of all time with medals in both the summer and winter games.
In the days following the Olympics there are going to be a lot of questions about the financial resources we put into preparing our athletes for international competition. While Own the Podium may have been overly ambitious, it provided our athletes with the funds that allowed them to train and compete for a chance at the medal podium.
The fact that our athletes – especially our female competitors – are thriving at the international level is proof that Own the Podium, if not resulting in winning the medal count, has played a role in making this nation a force on the international athletic front.
Instead of looking for someone to blame at what could have or should have been, we need to continue supporting our athletes so they will be ready to compete in London in just two years during the Summer Olympics and when athletes reconvene in four years in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Games.