Hey, not our words here…so don’t go throwing stones at us.
There was no sugar coating this one. There was no beating around the bush, no getting off easy. When asked to describe the efforts of the Canadian women’s Olympic alpine ski team, an anonymous reporter who frequently covers ski racing said: an “Olympic embarrassment…I’ve never seen them ski so poorly. Emily Brydon was in the back seat. I knew she was going to crash well before it happened. [Britt] Jany is nowhere. This is a disaster.”
Yikes. No wonder he/she wanted to remain anonymous.
The team has produced enough duds that the fundraising campaign Own the Podium has been removed. Remember before the Games when Canada thought it would perform better than all other countries? We reported on it back in December:
“Well, well, well. Look who got all high and mighty. Canada officially thinks they’re better than we are. And everybody else, for that matter. Maybe it’s a hometown pride thing, but the Canadians are not taking these upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games lightly. No sir. They’re planning on taking home at least 35 medals (if that’s what it takes to be the country with the most medals).
Canada has never been the number one performing country in the Olympics before, and they want this year to be different. Some, like Bruce Kidd, a former Olympian turned University of Toronto dean, find Canada’s pride to be a bit arrogant: “It sounds like we’re welcoming the countries of the world to our doorstep so that we can trounce them.” The Canadian Olympic slogan this year is “Own The Podium”. This also rubs some people the wrong way. Louise Fox is a Canadian etiquette expert: “Own the Podium is obnoxious and un-Canadian. Up here we don’t toot our own horn like that.”
There are some, however, that embrace this pride and welcome a bit of snootiness from their home country. Former hockey coach turned ESPN announcer Barry Melrose is one of them. “As a Canadian I’m happy to see Canada becoming aggressive like America. If you’re afraid to talk about winning, you’ll never win.”
In a poll taken in the year 2000, 14% of Canadians said they enjoyed demonstrating their superiority to foreigners. Do we think that number has gone up since then? Says Michael Adams, a Canadian sociologist and pollster, “We mumble our national anthem here, and nobody puts their hand on their heart.”
The Canadians have plenty of medals, but are the owning the podium? Not so much—they’re a bit off that 35 count. Their ice hockey and bobsled teams among others that are looking amazing. It seems the one that’s dragging them down is the alpine ski team, specifically the women.