Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Olympic dream tax" and funding not the answer

There's no question that Canada is seriously struggling at the Olympic games in Beijing this week. It's so bad that at the pace the team is on right now, our combined medal count for Athens '04 (12 medals) and Beijing will not only be less then a few third world countries --- and North Korea who don't have power at night --- it may well be less then a single US athlete. Can you say "sucking big time"?

Yes, as Canadians, historically we are good natured in that we tend to focus more on participation rather then domination, but some have even maintained that our medal problems exist because we are a nation full of lame excuses. Here are my favorites from Charles Adler:

1) We cannot do well at the Summer Games because we are a northern country. Whattttttttttttttttttttttt? You mean you have to live in a southern country to do well at Weightlifting, or Basketball, or Swimming, or Diving, or dozens of other indoor sports?

Do the winners on the winning teams all live on ocean-beach property where they just swim with the dolphins? Now if only Canadian kids had the opportunities of those spoiled beach boys growing up in North Korea - we too would have seven medals by now like they do.

2) Our government doesn't care enough. Whattttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt?
You mean the polls show this is an issue. The polls show Canadians really want the government to make national athletic achievement a priority? Political parties have an issue that is biting them in the backside - and they cannot feel it. Why can't we just admit that it doesn't matter very much to an overwhelming majority of us? If it did, a political party would swim faster than Michael Phelps to grab the gold on this issue! Every political party in this country is flying around mindlessly in the dark, a rabid blind bat, looking for an issue. If this was an issue, even the blind bats of politics would see it and seize it.

3) We don't want to win “too much” and celebrate “too much” and venerate “too Much” and hero worship “too much”. That would risk turning us into a nation of gloating Americans. As long as we don't perform well on the world athletic stage in the Summer Games, the biggest games, the ones where most of the world shows up, well as long as we aren't too competitive there, we don't run the risk of looking like we are aping the Americans. After all that is the measure of a good Canadian. We must never be too loud, too boisterous, too spontaneous, too celebratory, too triumphalist - too visible. Being invisible guarantees us that nobody could mistake for Americans.

Anyway, all these excuses and finger pointing remind me of something I read by Mark Spector in the National Post today regarding our lack of medals at these games:

"We know that back home, Canadians aren't expecting miracles. But a medal would be nice, wouldn't it?

But tell me that, back home, we're not asking each other again, "Why are we so bad at the Olympics?"

If we are, then here's something else you may have heard before: You get what you pay for at the Olympics. Medals don't fall out of trees - not at the Summer Games. They come through sheer volume of legitimate medal chances, and the countries with most darts come away with the most hardware.

So basically, here's the deal, Canada: We could be the New York Yankees, and show up here with a far greater percentage of athletes who are capable of winning - not just competing - at this level.

But it will come out of your tax dollars."

In some respects I do agree that we need more funding if we are to succeed (and place in the top three in the world). However, from what I do know, too much of that funding goes to fat Canadian Olympic bureaucrats rather then the coaches and athletes who need it. So essentially, more funding would not only mean more bureaucrats would get a free vacation to an exotic location on our dime, it would mean that our podium woes would continue to go unresolved.

Higher taxes is definitely not the answer to our low medal count.

Related: Canada's swim team suffers one-two punch, Canadians settle again for best-evers, Canadian relay team fades to fifth, Early exit for Canada's doubles team, Canada shut out in pool medal hunt, Canadians remain shut out of medals, No medals, no problem.


At Aug 13, 2008, 9:20:00 PM , Blogger Iain G. Foulds said...

... Unfortunately, we will now see new government spending on athletes by Mr. Harper in the next few weeks- to eliminate any possible electoral traction by the predictable Opposition outrage.
... However, again, we are facing the principle of economic collectivism- a violation of each individual's liberty, by the state forcing money from all to give to some.

At Aug 13, 2008, 9:56:00 PM , Blogger Iain G. Foulds said...

... It's funny about the "competitive spirit".
... It's one thing to do your best-this is good.
... However, having a "competitive" personality is really quite a sad thing- an insecure need to "beat" others to gain awards etc.
... So kids, do your best, forget the rest.

At Aug 14, 2008, 11:31:00 AM , Anonymous bill said...

Our paralympic team requires just as much funding, and they aren't getting it.

At Aug 14, 2008, 2:32:00 PM , Blogger nbt said...

iain: If the last 2 years are any indication, you will see this government bow to the pressure of more spending...even if it is on something frivolous like athlete funding, or better yet, as Charles Adler says, "if this was an issue, even the blind bats of politics would see it and seize it."

bill: I'm all for equality amongst different genders, the disabled and the impaired. They have a right to choices.

At Aug 15, 2008, 3:20:00 AM , Blogger Dan F said...

It seems our sporters have not gotten the latest generation of physical 'enhancements', not are they willing to cheat or bribe their way to victory like some other participants of these torture games.

I think Canada going medal-less in the big game of global propaganda is just fine - what do we have to prove?

Let the Chinese and Amerikans take home the medals - their people certainly aren't getting much else for their tax dollars.


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