Friday, August 15, 2008

from atop my soapbox

I must take a break from my frequent musings about life to stand up for the Canadian Olympic team.  Put simply, leave them be!  What is the matter with the blasted Canadian media??  Medals will come to those who wait!  Does it really matter that countries like Togo and Uzbekistan have medals and we don't?  Absolutely not!!  Torontonians have been waiting for over 40 YEARS (that's a generation, by the way) for the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup and people don't whine half as much about that!

 The ones that have been getting the most heat are the Canadian swimmers.  Having broken over 20 national records and coming out of nowhere to reach an Olympic final is an amazing achievement!  It burns my cookies to hear the media talk about "that's not good enough".  I pose this challenge to those naysayers - if you think you can do better, I'd love to see your backside throw on a LZR Racer suit and tear it up in a pool against the likes of Michael Phelps.   Do you even know what it feels like to better your personal best?  It's not about others did or where you place in the world.  It's all about overcoming your own personal obstacles.  

To the feds - show the athletes the money!  Let Canada be the first country whose athletes do not have to panhandle the private sector in order to realize their Olympic dreams. Canadian athletes have no business being sponsored by Rona or Visa because the feds should pony up more funds for amateur sport.  Sports in this country aren't cheap - I know this firsthand as I had to give up figure skating as a child because my family couldn't afford it anymore.  Unless you have been an athlete yourself, you don't know what it's like to pursue your sport or the sacrifices you must make in order to achieve to achieve your goals.I'm sure it's embarrassing not to have anything to brag about at the G8 summit other than our ice hockey program  but if you want to maintain the biggest sword of them all, pay up.   After all, you get what you pay for, right?  Own The Podium should also go for summer athletes.  You've got 4 years to get it right for London 2012.  As part of the Commonwealth, we gotta represent in England!  Tax deductions for families who got kiddies in sport is great and all however there's no financial support for talented athletes beyond the grassroots level.  This explains why Canada has the most soccer participants at the grassroots level in the world and our best player, Owen Hargreaves, left Canada to pursue a career in Europe.  Why's that?  There wasn't anywhere for him to go.  Now he's a card-carrying citizen of the United Kingdom and plays for Manchester United.  What if Wayne Gretzky buggered off to the former CCCP to play hockey because there were no elite development leagues?  

To the remaining athletes in Beijing - heed the wise words of Marnie McBean.  Canada is not China.  Canada is not USA.  Canada is Canada.  You represent a strong, proud and peaceful nation.  It is an honour to participate in the Olympic Games and you are part of a chosen few.  Do not yield to reporters who ask you where are the medals.  Ask them where their RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Awards are and why they haven't won any yet.  You are in Beijing as a result of hard work, dedication, copious amounts of training and the support of loved ones.  No matter your result in your chosen event, stand tall and be proud to be a Canadian Olympian - no one can take that away from you.

I'll be staying up until all hours watching our Canadian team for the remaining days of the Summer Olympics.  I certainly won't be among those asking where the medals are.  I wish that guy who was on YouTube yelling "Leave Britney alone!" could back me up here: "Leave the Canadian athletes alone!"

BTW... Hey China - you need to hook up Toronto with one of those rockets to make the rain go away.  After all, we gave you the contract to make our Olympic gear - it's the least you can do!