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2008 Olympics: Canada’s Olympic Woes

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It’s time for me to admit something about my country’s performance at the Beijing Olympic Games: it sucks. It really sucks.

I’m apparently not alone. In response to hordes of comments and complaints over Canada’s less-than-stellar performance at the Olympics, the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is telling Canadians to “calm down and relax.”

With the games now in the fifth day and Canada still without a single medal, many of my fellow Canadians are becoming frustrated with our athletes. While the summer sports haven’t exactly been our strong suit, the lack of medal production in China does seem a bit shocking.

Readers of CBC’s website have erupted in days of debate over the Olympics and Canada’s shutout. Okay, so it's more like hours of whining…

Never fear, says Chris Rudge, the director of the COC. "This is the time to support the athletes who are there.” Rudge added that he hoped Canadians would be this vocal about the Canadian athletes when the Olympics aren’t taking place, noting that the support among fans for Canadian swimmers, divers, and other summer sports athletes is less than flattering.

He has a point. Canadians have systematically ignored diving and swimming 365 days a year in favour of hockey, curling, and the illustrious Maple Syrup Races. Perhaps our incessant complaining over the lack of production from these athletes would be better served had it come from a more consistent fanbase instead of a slew of fair-weathered Canucks.

Rudge told the CBC’s unfortunately-named Heather Hiscox that more money would be sent into the system for these athletes so that the level of training and competition could be enhanced. It is also true that, for a relatively wealthy country, our contributions to athletes of the sunnier and wetter sports tend to be a little slight.

“You don’t throw in the towel yet,” Rudge concluded.

While I still hold strong to the fact that the lack of medals for my fellow Canadians certainly sucks, I’m starting to see the bigger picture. It is true that Canadian support for sports other than hockey sucks. And it is also true that Canadian funding for amateur Olympic athletes also sucks. Furthermore, it’s true that the Canadian athletes leaving it all in the pool or on the mat most certainly don’t suck.

So, in the spirit of the games, maybe it’s best to focus on what former Canadian rowing great Silken Laumann had to say to CBC Newsworld:

“Canadians are expecting medals; we like to know we're doing as well as countries like Australia, but I think we need to take a step back. For instance, looking at what's going on in the pool, sure we haven't won a medal yet, but there are a lot of our swimmers who have set Canadian records, who have had personal-best performances, and that's worth something, and I think we should be proud of how our athletes are doing.”

Personal bests and great performances are, indeed, worth a lot. Perhaps instead of incessantly bitching about how much it sucks to not have a medal by the fifth day of competition, we should be cheering our athletes on for trying their best, competing with heart and integrity, and representing Canada with pride and dignity.

That, or Go China?

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About Jordan Richardson

  • http://sportsportal.ca Erik

    The Canadian records are good, but considering most of the swimming world records were smashed… by the second place finisher, you wonder if the cheat suits are working their magic.

  • Clark

    nevertheless, when you see that Canada is behind such countries as Tajikistan and Zimbabwe, as well as behind our constant rivals in winter sports such as Sweden, Finland and Russia, you really start to wonder what is going on with the sport in Canada. There must be some other explanations apart from ignoring summer sport and negligible funding. The purpose of Olympic Games is to get the medals, not visiting them for another Canadian record.

  • STM

    Interesting that Oz gets a mention and Canadians are making the comparison, but it’s apples and oranges and has nothing to do with national psyche or anything that abstract.

    When people try to compare countries like Canada and Britain to Australia in terms of how many medals they think they should get in the summer games, they forget one thing.

    Australians might be sport obsessed (virtually all 20 million of us), but there’s an obvious reason: because of the climate, kids are outdoors actively participating in sport both summer and winter often from the age of about five or six onwards. It barely rains here most of the time.

    So there’s a constant flow-on. Some school competititons like the rugby league, cricket, GPS rugby and GPS rowing, are regarded as benchmark world standard and a springboard into the national squads, which is also one of reasons Australia has had more world champion teams consistently over a range of sports than any other nation.

    When I lived in the UK, I noticed that most boys were starting to play rugby at the age of 11-plus, once they’d started high school. In Oz, they were on the park from the age of six, playing mostly on hard, dry grounds that are conducive to a running and handling style of game, which is why when you watch a game between England and Australia, the Aussie backs at least always seem to have an edge and a natural understanding.

    It filters the other way too. In the US, for instance, you don’t see a lot of world-standard competitive amateur adult American football or baseball, but the professional sports in Oz, like rugby union, rugby league, cricket and AFL, have hundreds of thousands of people playing these games in lower grades but at high standard right through to their forties (or while they can still stand).

    Kids are at the beach or in the pool swimming almost from the time they can stand up. In the most populous states on the eastern seaboard, you can swim and surf all year round. Going to early-season rugby training on a February evening, you aren’t worried about the cold but how to beat the late-summer heat.

    Contrast that to Canada or Britain, where the cold winter months demand a certain dedication just to leave the house to brave the elements, and you get an idea why there’s a difference.

    On the other hand, Australia does absolutely crap at the winter sports Canadians are so good at at. That’s because snow and ice in Australia is as rare as rocking-horse shit, and in the one place we do get it, most of us can’t be bothered because it involves a) money, b) a trek, and c) putting up with the cold.

    Canadians, however, have an enviable record in the Olympics so I don’t see why anyone is worried. All countries go through their down periods at the Games.

    Plus, let’s face it, it’s only sport. Sport’s fun, and we should all love the doing and watching of it, but in the great scheme of things, it’s not that important.

    One thing I do find annoying in this country is how we pin our feeling of national well-being to our sports results, which puts huge expectation on athletes, and once that happens it ceases to be fun … and probably therefore isn’t worth doing.

  • Marie

    There is nothing wrong with Canadians wanted to see their athletes competing on par with the rest of the world. And I am tired of Canadians being blamed for our athletes’ dismal performance on the world stage. I am tired of excuses.

    Success encourages interest. And constantly hearing about “personal bests” and “Canadian records” that are not even good enough to make finals and semi-finals breeds disinterest.
    I have stop watching the Olympics

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I am curious about the swimsuits and what they accomplish as well since NASA is involved. All you should get his trunks, goggles, and a cap.

    Best of luck the rest of the way out.

  • http://www.zerodivision.ca seven star

    Canadian athletes need to start thinking differently, they need to go in with the mindset that they will win, rather than going in thinking they will do their personal best. Canada needs to rethink how kids participate in sports where the focus is on doing your best and not winning and where everyone gets a chance to play, even if they suck. Coddling future Olympians is not the way to go as evidenced in the Olympics

  • STM

    Too many kids sitting behind computer screens?

  • KC

    Our population in Canada is less than 10% of the USA, they have 30 medals so far so 3 medals is a reasonable number for us. However, the USA also spends 2-5 times more on their sports programs than Canada. In today’s world it takes money to train atheletes to win medals.

    We have Canadians that have trained the best the can with limited funding. Let them enjoy the experience which is amazing. If they do win, celebrate the success. If they don’t win, celebrate their involvement. Individually, they have all been working very hard to be there. They are our best.

    If we want to win more, then get more corporate, and individual sponsors. Currently with our limited budgets, our government budget is on health, social and justice priorities. You decide what goes.

    Do I want Canada to win medals. Absolutely!! Let’s cheer them on!!!

    This discussion should focus on how well they are doing relative to their best scores in Canada.

    Be realistic and keep celebrating. We have great people participating. So do other countries!!

    That is what the Olympics is all about…

  • A typical Canadian

    As a Canadian, I must say that the reason why we don’t perform well at the summer olympics at all is because as a general whole, we don’t give a rats ass. We care only about Hockey. We know who Mark Messier is, but we don’t know who Mark Tewsberry or whatever the heck his name is. Ask any schmuck on the street which of those two names he’s heard of, and he will immediately say Messier. I say that we don’t even bother sending a team to the summer Olympics. Canada is a winter country, period. The government should stop wasting tax dolars on summer sports and divert it to much needed social funding and education issues. Or at least spend it on fixing hockey arenas, where Canadians youth REALLY go.

  • Coddling? No. Winning isn’t everything.

    Sport SHOULD be stricly for FUN. Not competition. It is nice to win at the same time, but it really hsouldn’t be the only reason for sports. It is more important for every child to feel included than to divide those who “suck” from those who “win”. So who cares is the USA and CHina win a lot of peices of metal? Put it this way, in a hundred years, who will really care about who won how many of what? Fun above all. The real problem is that there are people out there who think that winning is everything. That encourages division and entrophy. What kind of mentally healthy child are you going to produce if you drill them with such a monolithic mindset? You will either have a child that wins everything and is unhappy, or a well-adjusted happy child who doesn’t care about winning, just about having fun. I think most children will tell their parents they’d rather be the latter.

    Canadians shouldn’t let these sporting events upset them. They should be viewed only as a gathering where people from all over the world share their love for one thing… SPORT. Whether you win or not is secondary to the spirit of sport. I think Pierre de Coubertin would be rolling over in his grave if he found out how the focus of the Olympics has mutated to a single-minded approach of win at all costs.

  • EZ explanation

    There’s an easy explanation to why Canada has no medals so far. There’s no hockey played in the summer olympics. Nuff said

  • Duke

    Totally agree with the comments about hockey. I love the sport, but we are waaaay too hockey obsessed in this country. There are hundreds of thousands of kids playing soccer, basketball and a hundred other sports across Canada – but those sports get no profile, no support, and most importantly, little funding.

    And in the middle of July, watch TSN or Sportsnet, and the lead story will be something about hockey. Some trade, draft pick, or Sid Crosby picking his nose.

    Like I said, I love hockey, but let’s expand our interests a bit, and realize that only about 8 countries actually give a s#!* about hockey.

    If we want to do well at the summer olympics, then let’s get serious at summer sports. That means coaching, leagues, media coverage, and most importantly, $$$$$ (from both government AND the private sector).

  • Mike

    The other thing that is sadly lacking is a strong base of private (i.e. corporate) money. That’s not because corporations aren’t donating. Far from it. But look at HOW MANY corporations other countries have sponsoring their games. I read that Michael Phelps alone is sponsored by Speedo, Nike, Adidas, and VISA.

    The government isn’t the only funder, and we have to be realistic about how much government money can realistically be thrown at this stuff before citizens revolt. (Let’s also remember that the Pacman that is health care keeps gobbling billions more every year, to the point that it’s cannibalizing other areas like education, infrastructure, and sport.) There’s only so many tax dollars to go around.

    Corporate sponsorship is a vital ingredient. But in Canada we are still behind when it comes to economic competitiveness. Our tax rates are too high. We don’t have large a number of home-grown Canadian corporations that can bankroll these athletes. In fact, we’ve had many Canadian corporations bought out by foreign-owned companies just so they can secure capital and remain competitive.

    It’s time to lower tax rates, stimulate a larger economy and help grow the number of successful corporate businesses in Canada. This way not only Olympic ahtletes, but a host of other organizations and charities, would have a larger private donation pool to drawn on.

  • Joe

    To all the people who say that we do badly in the summer because we are too hockey obsessed, please consider this: CANADA FAILED TO MEDAL IN MEN’S HOCKEY IN TWO OF THE PAST THREE WINTER OLYMPICS.

    It may be true that hockey is the only sport we care about, but we can’t even do consistently well in that!

  • S Elie

    I completely agree with all the commentators that are stating the Canadian athletes performance has nothing to do with funding. I think it is about time the Canadian olympic committee take a look at their qualification process. To send a delegation of 620, that is comprised of 332 atheltes, and not winning a single medal after 6 days of competition is probably unheard of! I think the tax payers money has to be spent only on those who has a good chance to win, not at every one who thinks he/she got a talent and is willing to try. Let’s just compare the number of medals our athletes are expected to win, 16 to France’s 30+, with more or less the same number of athletes (324). By the way, France has already won 14 medals. It looks our Olympic committee knows that the team is comprised of athletes of has no chance of winning! The way things are going, we will get the medal for a delegation that won the least of medals proportional to its size.

  • JON

    Success at the Olympic level has nothing to do with how much money is thrown at an athlete. It has everything to do with the mentality of winning, something which is non-existant with Canadian athletes. For some unexplained reason, Canadian athletes seem to be under the misconception that finishing in the top 12 positions is perfectly acceptable. They would be absolutely correct if this was a national or a provincial meet but not at the Olympic level as the last time I checked, they do not hand out medals for anything past the third spot.

    It just makes me cringe when I hear a Canadian athlete say that they are happy with their placing in a competition. Ask any American or Australian athlete how they feel about their respective forth-place finish in any event and they will always say, ‘I am not happy with my performance and I am thoroughly disgusted with what I did today’. Ask a Canadian athlete how they feel about their twelfth place finish and they will always say, ‘I am so happy that I was able to finish in the top 12 and get a personal best time’. CRINGE!!!

    If you want to finish in the top 12 then stay home! If you want to improve your personal best time then stay home! If you want to go to the Olympics to get some experience then stay home! If you want to go to the Olympics and take someone elses place who really wants to win then stay home! If, on the other hand, you want to go to the Olympics and win and know that you are capable of winning, then by all means go and I will back you 100%.

    It may come as a complete surprise to Canadian athletes but it is ok to stand on the upper-most podium and say for that brief moment in time when all the eyes of the world are upon you, ‘Hey, look at me. I am the best in the world and I won!’ Why Canadian athletes are content with standing in the shadows is something which I cannot understand.

  • RonSays

    Bring the level up. Yes, it’s nice that Canadians, myself certainly included, have a great interest in hockey and winter (curling?) sports. But instead of shifting/diverting concentration to other sports, I say bring the same level of interest to other sports. And as your level of interest increases for other sports, the interest in hockey or other more established interests can go even higher. I hear a lot of people saying they want better results or more interest. Well, start watching other sports and showing your interest. Go watch some gymnastics or something.

  • S

    So what if Canada has not won any medals thus far? The thrill of competition and doing one’s personal best is something admired.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I sympathize with Canada and I’ve decided to root for them in any event where I see a Canadian flag against someone’s name in the lineup. But as someone observed above, most nations endure a lean Olympics from time to time.

    As a Brit, I look back with distinct unfondness to our disastrous Atlanta campaign in ’96, when the days dragged by with medal hope after medal hope falling flat. We did get the occasional silver and bronze, but the national sigh of relief when Redgrave and Pinsent finally crossed the finish line first in the coxless pairs was palpable. That was our one and only gold in those wretched Games.

    We were stung by that humiliation, and surged back to win eleven golds in Sydney and nine in Athens.

    The lessons hopefully will be learned, and Canada, as Britain did, will come back stronger in London in 2012.

    And I don’t agree with the nonsense that some commenters have spouted (not entirely in jest, I suspect) about Canada only being any good at hockey. There’ve been some world-class Canadian athletes in recent memory – Mark McCoy, Bruny Surin, Donovan Bailey, Ben Johnson (before he went bad) and a few decent rowing crews spring to mind.

  • Luke

    Canada never does well in the Olympics. Sure, we had a few fluke years like Atlanta and LA but our performance in the 76 Montreal is more typical.

    Yes, our swimmers are breaking Canadian Records but so what? Canadian records are low compared to the records of many other countries. When a 15th finish is best ever Canadian finish in a sport that tells me that Canada is not competing at the same level as other athletes in that sport. It is tine that we re-evaluate Canadian participation in that sport in the Olympics.

    We should not be sending 322 athletes to the Olympics. The Olympics is for the elite of the elite. And we should only be sending athletes with a proven ability (over the previous year) to at least qualify for a final. If that means that we don’t have athletes of that caliber, then we don’t send anyone.

  • STM

    “CANADA FAILED TO MEDAL IN MEN’S HOCKEY”

    Since when did medal become a verb?

    There’s a fair bit of mangling of the Queen’s English going on at the Games, and the other one that’s bizarre: jubilate, and jubilating.

    I blame the Americans, of course … but surely, Canadians should know better?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’ve got an even better one, Stan – and this one’s bandied about a lot when Michael Phelps is under discussion: winningest.

    And no, you can’t give Canadians too much credit for good English – too much French influence spilling over from Tibet… I mean Quebec.

  • STM

    Mate, those Frogs just have SO much to answer for, non?

    I can’t believe the Americans got into bed with that fragrant, bouffant-headed nancy boy Lafayette.

    Yes I can :)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mate, those Frogs just have SO much to answer for, non?

    Tell me about it. Just what the fuck is Captaine Crouche?

  • Mama J

    Quite frankly I’ve read through all the comments posted and the majority are making me sick. Our atheletes are not good enough to be there? If they can’t win don’t send them? In the top 16 or 8 in the world is not good enough to be there? How would you know? How would you judge? Some say it is neither the funding nor the training and yet when I hear that the Chinese gymnists are taken from their single child families at an early age and allowed to speak to their parents once a year and they train the rest of the time it certainly makes their brilliant performance more understandable. Maybe most countries should just stay home and not compete with them or Chinese divers either. We don’t support summer sports in this country the way we do other sports. And we have no reason to expect the kind of results you seem to expect. So quit bitching. If you want only champions then fund and train them to be champions. There are enough examples in the world of how to do it. As for me I’ll keep on cheering for all our Canadian atheletes who are trying their best to bring home a medal although if they hear what many of you are saying I have to wonder why!

  • Denny

    O.K. Great that you got a personal best but when you stick your mug in front of the world camera I don’t want to see you so friggin’ happy for coming in 8th. A typical underachiever atitude!!! At least pretend you’re disappointed!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Right. We want more sombre, depressed Canadians! We want our athletes to act more…American! Perhaps when Canadian athletes don’t win, they can stamp their feet, pout, and whine. That’ll be great!

  • Graham

    Our one and only boxer losing 20 to 1 after the first round does not fill me up with the “pride of competing”. When you consider the number of indoor sports involved in the summer Olympic you don’t need Ms. Hawaiian Tropic weather constantly to produce seasoned summer athletes. We need more funding, yes. …Mostly we need a lot more DRIVE…This “its important to compete” is for the little league ball field not the worlds foremost competing event. A lot more killer instinct, drive , and through in some arrogant swagger. That’s the attitude of a champion.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I take issue with the idea that our athletes somehow don’t want to win or simply aren’t “trying hard enough.” It’s relatively easy to be an armchair critic, sitting comfortably in Toronto with a Molson in one hand and the clicker in the other, and shout obsenities at teenaged athletes half a world away because they aren’t performing up to a “higher standard” – whatever that means.

    But like many, I couldn’t care less how many medals we take back from this. If I’m swimming in the Olympics and I’m able to put up personal best times in front of the whole bloody world, I’m not going to be ashamed for not coming in first. I’m going to be damn fucking excited for the personal accomplishment and I’m going to train harder to beat it, over and over again. I’m not about to sulk when I’m having the time of my life, either.

    We don’t need to be arrogant in order to win. That simply makes no sense. The only people who actually believe arrogance leads to victory are those who would rather our athletes be less humble and more “exciting.” It has nothing to do with winning. And if you doubt the “drive” of Canadian athletes, I’d invite you to sit in on their training regimens, listen to their coaches, and see if you still have the ignorant arrogance to question their resolve from your lofty perch.

    The fact of the matter is that funding does matter. It matters a lot. When athletes in other countries can train for summer sports for months on end with NOTHING else on their plate, they’re going to come out better. When athletes in other countries can use state-of-the-art equipment to analyze their performance, point out imperfections, and correct their precision, they’re going to come out better. When athletes have more grassroots support and a fanbase, they’re going to come out better.

    Right now, what I’m seeing out of these comments and out of the general poor Canadian attitude towards the Beijing Olympics, is a sense of “win first, then we’ll fucking pay attention to you.” We want results before we give our support, our funding, and our time.

    There’s no sense in backing a loser, eh?

  • tre_odd

    What everyone is missing is the obvious fact that China has invested billions in creating gold-medal athletes for this their Olympics. Canada has never been a gold-winning country, with exceptions, in the summer Games, they usually at best settle for bronze or at best silver. The gains China has made in gold medals has pushed other finishers down a notch and that means Canada is coming in 4th or fifth.

  • STM

    “Tell me about it. Just what the fuck is Captaine Crouche?”

    Isn’t he the froglicised version of Captain Crouch??

  • Rufus

    Heck…I ran my personal best the other night. I should go to the Olympics…I ran 5 kms in 30 minutes. My personal best.Thats all that matters right. Maybe if I ran the marathon,26 miles, and then dropped dead at the end (which might happen), I would be the world greatest “did his best guy”. He gave his life for his country at the Olympics.What a great effort.
    Sure is gonna be hard scoring a medal with the high spending,Ethiopians pushing us down the ladder??

  • STM

    Seriously guys, there’s a lot of truth in what I say here about climate, and people are doing head miles here for no reason. Australia has pretty poor funding compared to say China and the US, but has a reasonable infrastructure for identifying talent – and a great climate.

    We’re always right up there in the medal tally, which is pretty good for a country of only 20 million people.

    One of the main reasons for this is that Australia has an “outdoor” climate that lends itself to training year round, and sports participation rates in Australia are very high and from a very young age because of that.

    Unlike Canada though, it does crap at the winter games, for obvious reasons. Think about it: if the ice rink or the piste is the only place in the long, cold winter where you can turn up to do a sport, you are going to be good at hockey and skating, or skiing and snowboarding, right? Canada’s strength.

    Which is why Aussie kids are such good swimmers and surfers. They’re in the pool or the surf all day long pretty much from about the time they can walk, because they can be.

    Really, it’s just sport and it’s horses for courses here, and nothing to get freaked over. Wait ’til the Winter Games, and see the shoe on the other foot.

  • MB

    “It has everything to do with the mentality of winning, something which is non-existant with Canadian athletes”.

    Bullshit. If you’re swimming against some dude that is 3 seconds faster than you on Monday, 3 seconds faster than you on Tuesday, 3 seconds faster than you on Wednesday and so on, he’s not kicking your ass cause you’ve got a mental block. You armchair guys crack me up.

    It’s mental if you’re the world record holder and then go in and finish 8th, not the other way round.

    The average punter, who’s watched way too many Karate Kid movies, totally over plays the mental aspect of elite athletics. The overwhelming majority of elite guys have totally good psychology; it’s a selection bias.

    No, at that level the overwhelming majority of the time it’s exactly how it looks – that dude who just kicked your ass did so because he’s just plain better than you; better genes, better trained, better support, better diet, better technique – just frickin better.

  • STM

    If anyone’s making comparisons with the US, BTW, it’s probably worth noting that Canada’s a nation roughly one-tenth the size of the US in population, so there’s a lot less to pick from as well.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Rufus, you represent the point of view of the ignorant rather well. Maybe you can win a medal for that…

    Simply going to the Olympics is more of an accomplishment than the majority of the athletes in the world will ever experience. Having athletes that qualify to compete at the Games is significant, in and of itself. So when one factors in the fact that we’ve got athletes in sports some of us have never heard of competing among the best in the world, I think a little perspective can come in handy. This isn’t some carnival, so Rufus’ notion of putting up his personal best time is flawed in that he’s removed the ideology from its context. The point about “personal best times/records” goes alongside the notion that the athlete posting his or her personal best is doing so alongside, again, the best in the world.

    There is a multitude of good reasons as to why Canada might not do so well at the Olympics. We’ve got a population of 33 million and change. China has a population of almost a billion and a half people. The United States has a population of over three hundred thousand. Like STM said, any comparisons from country to country surely have to frame the population pool in its proper context. Climate, as STM pointed out, is another issue. We simply cannot compete with countries that experience summer conditions frequently. Why do you think the Russian women did so poorly against the Aussies in beach volleyball? Because they didn’t want to win? Fuck off.

    As I said before, I think anybody with the gall to sit comfortably at home in the La-Z-Boy and suggest that our Canadian athletes are simply not trying hard enough or simply “lack the will to win” need to have their heads examined. Nobody gets to the Olympics to compete amongst the, you know it by now, best in the world without a desire to win, an ability to compete at the HIGHEST level in the world, and a damn good set of skills.

    Like MB suggested, for the most part when you get your ass kicked, you get your ass kicked because the other guy or girl is simply better. The incessant ignorance to the fact, coupled with the nasally whining of my fellow Canadians, surely isn’t the “killer instinct” so many of you speak of, is it? Bitch and whine about not winning certainly doesn’t sound like the path to a winning attitude; it sounds like the path to more fucking Kleenex.

  • JON

    Quote MB ‘If you’re swimming against some dude that is 3 seconds faster than you on Monday, 3 seconds faster than you on Tuesday, 3 seconds faster than you on Wednesday and so on, he’s not kicking your ass cause you’ve got a mental block.’

    A mental block would exist if the individual failed to grasp the cold hard truth that they should just not be competing at this level if they are losing by 3 seconds in swimming when medal standings are being decided by hundredths of seconds.

    Face the facts: Athletes must know their capabilities and have the atitude to match these capabilities if they want to win. Canadian athletes, it would seem, have just not been told that they are just not good enough to compete at the Olympic level. They go to these Olympics with the belief that by bettering their own personal best time that it is somehow going to get them on to the podium when in reality it will only get them a placing of 15th. It just makes viewers realise that a Canadian Record means absolutely nothing at the Olympic level. Once Canadian atheletes start to realise this then maybe they can start to deal with the pathetic ‘I’m just happy to place in the top 12′ attitude that they portray infront of the cameras.

  • Rufus

    Ahhh..ignorance. the word of the day. Gets thrown about so very often nowadays when someone gets a finger in the eye.
    You actually shoot down your own argument. You go on about “the best in the world”. Yet you seem completely agreeable to the idea of sending someone else over who has absolutely no chance. I have no chance, they have no chance…whats the difference??
    Whining about winning may not build and champion…relegating yourself to the back of the bus doesn’t either.
    You like to go on about “armchair warriors”. Who the hell are you? How do you know about level of competition any of us have experienced in our lives? Perhaps you are the one who is being a bit ignorant?? How much have you competed? How good is your competitive mindset? Obviously…you never have…or have and never won!

  • Jordan Richardson

    1. There is nothing pathetic about setting records for your country, no matter where you do it and no matter how you finish up overall. If Canada finished last in table tennis but set a nationwide record, I’d still be pretty damn excited about it. Is it better to be best in the world? Sure it is, but the notion that Canadians aren’t ultimately striving for victory is one based on a presumptuous, ugly attitude. That’s what’s really pathetic. This idea that our athletes shouldn’t be excited about setting personal bests and should “look more sad” for the fuckin’ cameras is really juvenile.

    2. Canadian athletes, it would seem, have just not been told that they are just not good enough to compete at the Olympic level. Bullshit. They go to the Olympics because they qualified for the Olympics! If they’re collapsing under the pressure of anything they’ve been told, it’s probably more likely to be the general attitude of some idiotic Canadians that suggest they shouldn’t bloody well “smile so much when they don’t finish with a medal”! What’s next? Greeting them when they return at the airport with a Springfield-esque tomato-throwing “welcome?” Have we turned into really bad cartoon characters of ourselves? Do we have a sneering, jeering mob ready and waiting with pitchforks to chase our “loser” athletes back to Beijing?

    3. Rufus, there is nothing in what I said that “shoots down my own argument.” Shit, you didn’t even address my argument. By making the argument that Canadian athletes who qualify for the Olympics are among the best in the world in their specific fields, I’m most assuredly not suggesting that they don’t stand a chance. That’s your assumption. What I am suggesting is that there are several reasons as to why Canadians might be coming up short and a number of factors (you can call them excuses if you want, Sergeant Toughguy) that lead to the less-than-stellar medal placements.

    3. Nobody is relegating anyone to the back of the bus but those individuals who insist that if Canadians aren’t winning, they shouldn’t be happy about anything. That type of “win or die” attitude is ridiculous. I remember our ice hockey team having that attitude to such an extreme that they were frustrated to the extent that, after losing the ability to get into the gold medal game, they actually fucked it all up and didn’t even win the bronze. That’s where shortsighted ego gets you. There’s a big difference between arrogance and confidence. I’d agree that some of our athletes lack the confidence to win, but suggesting that they need to be more arrogant and rough around the edges doesn’t supply confidence; it supplies empty shots of ego.

    4. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: what Canadian athletes need is grassroots support, more funding, better places to train, the ability to take more time to train, and a stronger, more supportive fanbase that knows their sport yearround, not just when it’s time to compete against the rest of the world. A bunch of people suddenly caring about men’s breaststroke once every four years isn’t the type of support these athletes thrive on. They need people watching and caring when nobody else is.

    5. Who the hell are you? How do you know about level of competition any of us have experienced in our lives? Perhaps you are the one who is being a bit ignorant?? How much have you competed? How good is your competitive mindset?

    My name is on the article. I don’t know anything about the level of competition that “any of you” have experienced in your lives, but that wasn’t particularly the point of the discussion. You could be a professional hockey player or a professional wrestler and my commentary would still have validity. I, too, when it comes to the fucking Olympics am nothing more than an armchair critic. I’m not competing in the Games, I don’t know the mindsets of those who are. The difference here is that I don’t choose to critique Canadian athletes based on my own assumptions. Perhaps it is foolish of me to elect to support them based on assumptions that they’re trying their best, but any athlete I know wouldn’t dare take the Olympics lightly. Based on logic and reason, I think my position is more reasonable. So yes, perhaps I am “the one” (doubtful that I’m the only one, chief) who is a bit ignorant. But perhaps my admitted ignorance is, at the very least, a bit more reasoned. I have competed quite a bit, actually. My competitive mindset is also quite good. I always try to better myself, beat my old time, and continue striving for the best. If I set a personal record, I’m fucking happy about it. I don’t sulk because I didn’t beat Timmy from Croatia, but I would work harder to beat him next time. And the next time. And the next time.

    Athletes know the process. I trust that they know what it takes to win and that they strive to do so. I find it absolutely pathetic to chastise these young men and women for “smiling” and “looking pathetic” when they’re having a once in a lifetime experience. I choose, instead, to look at the bigger picture. Our athletes will be better for this experience, they will learn new skills, they will compete to higher levels, and maybe someday they will win a gold medal. If they do, I truly hope none of you have the audacity to jump on the bandwagon then. They deserve constant support, not a fairweather fanbase.

  • JON

    Quote Jordan Richardson ‘They go to the Olympics because they qualified for the Olympics!’

    I am well aware of how Canadian Athletes manage to get to the Olympics but are they? Do they fully understand that the qualifying times which they are setting at national and international meets prior to the Olympics are still not at at a level which will put them in good standing against the best in the world. This would however explain why Canadian athletes are so content with just improving their personl best times and nothing else.

    No one is asking any Canadian athlete to look more sad or have them tarred and feathered when they step off the plane. What is expected is for each and every Canadian athlete to assess their own capabilities and mindset prior to going to the Olympics. If they truly believe that they can win, then go. If they don’t, then stay home and keep training. It is not as if these Canadian athletes have never compeated against other athletes from around the globe so they are not going into this decision making process with blinders on.

    If I want to see someone set National records then I will watch a national sports meet. If I want to witness the best of the best set Olympic and world records then I will watch the Olympics.

    I will agree with your opening statement of your article though: ‘… it sucks. It really sucks.’

  • Jordan Richardson

    I am well aware of how Canadian Athletes manage to get to the Olympics but are they?

    Why wouldn’t they be? Because they aren’t winning? Because they’re smiling too much? Because they appear, by all intents and purposes, to be enjoying themselves and competing hard?

    This would however explain why Canadian athletes are so content with just improving their personl best times and nothing else.

    That’s pretty presumptuous of you. I’m not willing to suggest that any Canadian athlete in any sport is merely “content” with any performance. As an athlete, you’re not ever content. You always strive to get better. I’m positive that the Olympians are no different. You’re assuming that they don’t want to win gold because they’re happy with putting up a good personal time, which I believe is absolute rubbish.

    No one is asking any Canadian athlete to look more sad or have them tarred and feathered when they step off the plane.

    Have you read through these comments? Here’s a few choice portions:

    Ask a Canadian athlete how they feel about their twelfth place finish and they will always say, ‘I am so happy that I was able to finish in the top 12 and get a personal best time.’ CRINGE!!!

    O.K. Great that you got a personal best but when you stick your mug in front of the world camera I don’t want to see you so friggin’ happy for coming in 8th. A typical underachiever atitude!!! At least pretend you’re disappointed!

    A lot more killer instinct, drive , and through in some arrogant swagger. That’s the attitude of a champion.

    Good enough, JON. If you want more, just read through the posts again or hop on over to CBC’s website where this fiasco all started.

    If they truly believe that they can win, then go. If they don’t, then stay home and keep training.

    Again, awfully presumptuous. I doubt any of our athletes are going to the Olympics to NOT WIN. It is completely illogical and irrational to suggest otherwise. Everybody competing in the Olympics wants a medal, period. But this idea that we need to cry, whine, and complain about not getting one and “look disappointed even if we’re not” is idiotic beyond words.

    The point is that there’s a big difference between working one’s ass off and not winning a medal and NOT working one’s ass of and not winning a medal. I’m concerned with the amount of people considering the latter as an actual logical possibility, that somehow our young men and women simply don’t care enough or aren’t trying hard enough to win. Sometimes, as someone else said, you just get beat. Sometimes you just lose, no matter how hard you try. That doesn’t mean you didn’t try, it doesn’t mean you didn’t do your best. It simply means that the other person was better.

    Canadians aren’t the best swimmers, divers, gymnasts, basketball players, soccer players, boxers, etc. in the world. We just aren’t. And, as far as I’m concerned, fuck anyone that thinks we should be upset about having people that are REALLY GOOD at those things competing at the Olympics and being excited to be there amongst the best in the world.

    It is not as if these Canadian athletes have never compeated against other athletes from around the globe so they are not going into this decision making process with blinders on.

    Yet you assume they do have blinders on, JON. You assume these athletes are going to the Games not wanting to win and not thinking they can win. The point is that the ARE competitors, they DO have the drive to win. They just aren’t winning because other athletes are better. It’s as simple as that.

    If I want to see someone set National records then I will watch a national sports meet. If I want to witness the best of the best set Olympic and world records then I will watch the Olympics.

    You can watch whatever you want for whatever reasons you want. For me, I’m damn excited to see Canadians, Chinese, Americans, and anyone else do well at the Olympics. I love the “spirit of the games” and I love the fact that the WORLD, not just Canada, not just America, not just Croatia, is competing together and ENJOYING sports. Remember enjoyment? Yeah, didn’t think so…

    I will agree with your opening statement of your article though: ‘… it sucks. It really sucks.’

    Yep, it does. I’m disappointed. But the difference between my disappointment and some of the moronic attitudes on display here and at the CBC is that I’m disappointed for our athletes, not in them.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And by the way, the medal drought is over!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Since when did medal become a verb?”

    Random House Unabridged Dictionary
    med·al noun, verb, -aled, -al·ing or (especially British) -alled, -al·ling.
    –verb (used with object) 3. to decorate or honor with a medal.
    –verb (used without object) 4. to receive a medal, esp. in a sporting event: He medaled in three of four races.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    v. med·aled also med·alled, med·al·ing also med·al·ling, med·als also med·als Informal

    v. intr.
    To win a medal, as in a sports contest: “We were the first Americans to medal” (Jill Watson).

    v. tr.
    To award a medal to.

  • Mandy

    The summer olympics I must say have been a dissapointment for me. However, I don’t blame our canadian athletes one bit. I truly believe they tried their best. The Canadian gov’t doesn’t support athletics as much as other countries such as the U.S for instance. You can’t even get university scholarships in Canada for playing sports. I personally am an athlete (perhaps not at the elite level as the Olympic athletes) and I am responsible for paying for my own training and what not. I pay thousands of dollars to fly and compete at open events and championships. It’s a lot of money to fund for someone on their own – like a lot of our athletes. How can a Canadian athlete be expected to come back with a medal and nothing less when they have no funding to support their dreams and etc. People should stop blaming our Canadian athletes and look at the reasons as to why they lost. – I can assure you its not the lack of talent but the lack of support and funding.

  • Luke

    I am not for sport scholarships at the university level. University is for academics, not to fund athletes.

    Also, I find it strange that athletes complain about not getting funding. Musicians do not get funding to train and practice. Dancers do not get funding from the government to train to be dancers. So many of our students have gone into serious debt to pay for their education.
    So why should athletes?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Musicians and dancers aren’t training to compete at a global level to represent Canada. I don’t think anybody here is suggesting government funding for just any athlete either, but rather for Olympic-level athletes who could use the additional support.

    Sports scholarships for university students should also be offered, but those aren’t particularly related to any Olympic competition. We need to do more to encourage our youth to get involved in sports and athletics of all kinds, not just our winter sports standards. Funding is just one part of a larger initiative that could be put in place to provide that support and encouragement.

  • duane

    Jordan, I disagree with the premise that Canadian athletes represent your country in any meaningful way. Sports rules are completely arbitrary, and rarely (if ever) have any application to the real world. Some guy flopping his arms around in a pool, or some midget girl tiptoeing on an elevated bar represent only the fraction of your population that spends most of their youth practicing these arbitrary and useless activities. I actually felt ashamed of Iowa when I learned that they had a special museum display dedicated to Shawn Whatshername, simply because she is good at backflipping off a bar and smiling a lot.

    I am sick of the media falling all over themselves to get to Phelps, our next big corporate sponsor, who is the epitome of inarticulate doofishness. Why should this clown be a national hero just because he swims some race .01 seconds faster than some other guy who has spent the last twelve years in a pool? I get no sense that the U.S. is somehow superior to Canada because of this guy. It’s an embarrassment, really.

    For non-participants, sports are for entertainment. I enjoy watching some sports. I particularly like watching the running, especially the 100m. But I could not care less whether the winner comes from the U.S., Jamaica, or Neptune. It’s just entertainment, unless you’re betting on the races.

  • MB

    “A mental block would exist if the individual failed to grasp the cold hard truth that they should just not be competing at this level if they are losing by 3 seconds in swimming when medal standings are being decided by hundredths of seconds.”

    Hey straw man not my argument. My point had squat to do with the personal ethics of not going if you’re not a legitmate contender. I’m simply saying that armchair critics overplay the mental component in elite athletics. For instance, being able to peak correctly beats any incremental edge you’ll gain from psychological exercises by several orders of magnitude.

  • Luke

    Sport scholarships do not encourage our youth to participate in sports. All they do is fund elite high school athletic students to go to universities in non-demanding programs like Media Studies and General Arts. What do they do with those degrees afterwards?

    It is honestly ridiculous that you have students graduating from our high schools with 90% averages and over and they are not getting financial support to attend our “Ivy League” universities. But let this kid graduate with an 80% and because he/she is good at some sport, they can get a mega scholarship to some US Ivy League! (We have a $40K bill to cover for two kids in university who both are high academic achievers)

    You do not encourage young people to engage in sports by danging a few sport scholarships in front of them. How do we encourage our young to engage in sports? Simple..

    You discourage organized sports at a young age in favor of encouraging overall physical activity. When I was young, there were very few fat kids because we walked to school and, after school and on the weekends, we went out and ran, jumped, biked and skated.

    Forget all these soccer lessons for 4 and 5 year olds. Let them get out there and PLAY. It is as simple as that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Duane,

    Sports can generate HUGE amounts of income for local economies. That income is then pumped back through the system and can wind up benefiting the local society as a whole, which is a very meaningful way that sports can benefit Canada or any other country. The expected revenue from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, for instance, will have a major economical impact on many communities in Canada. So it certainly goes beyond whether one finds anything particularly “meaningful” in sports and rather heads into “good investment” territory.

    The same equation works in professional sports: people are more likely to pay money to see a winning team, which generates more income for the team’s owners.

    Luke,

    Sport scholarships do not encourage our youth to participate in sports.

    Proof? Also, your “backup evidence” is simply a rant about other scholarships not being awarded. That has nothing to do with your premise that sports scholarships “do nothing” to encourage our youth to participate in sport. You seem to be more angry about having a large education bill in your family than you are interested in making the case about sports scholarships. Join the club, I’ve got huge educational bills from student loans and the like. But that doesn’t suggest that scholarships for sports don’t encourage kids to get into athletics. Not sure how you drew that conclusion…

    That said, I agree with the notion of letting kids play. But organized sports build a very important skillset as well and it is a proven fact that having kids involved in team sports builds cooperation skills and other beneficial attributes. You can’t be “all or nothing” on this; a good balance is required. Kids need to be free, but they also need structure.

    When you were young, there were “very few fat kids” for a number of reasons. The current generation does enjoy less physical activity, somewhat, but the dietary considerations are different too, and there are multiple differences in lifestyle to consider. Again, it’s not just one thing.

  • Brad

    Re: STM’s comments which were very sensible and reasonable…

    I’m a Canadian and personally I’m very miffed and disappointed by Canada’s achievements at the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. I just don’t understand why a country like Australia does so much better than Canada and rivals all of the “super power” sports nations. There is no real excuse for the huge differential in medals in my opinion. Granted, Canada is known for being a winter nation, but there are lots of sports that can be practiced and trained for during our winter months. Eg; Swimming, triathlons, cycling and these are the sports that Australia mostly excels over Canada. Canada is often and understandably compared to Australia for so many reasons such as economics, population size, demographics and yet, we generally and nearly always fall short and far behind the Aussies’ performances in the summer games. In fact, Australia’s performances during the summer games is always in the top 10 overall medal count, whereas Canada’s is ALWAYS in the last 20,30, 40 or further down the standings.

    Not to deflate our own athletes’ achievements and put down Canada, but I just don’t get why this incredibly unequal performance happens during the summer Olympics. We should conceivably and regularly be within the top 10 performing countries every summer olympics. As a wealthy, rich and economic country with the G8, there is no excuse for our substandard performance and compared to other nations similar to us.

  • Brad

    To everyone in Canada…

    Do your reading…consider the facts and figures. This country is a RICH nation, we have resources more than most countries which is why we are part of the G8. Still, we are and often outdone but nations with 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 of our population or less even. Canada now has 7 medals, and New Zealand…a tiny island nation of less than 4 million people (about the size of Toronto) has nearly as many medals as we do. Then there are the “3rd world nations”…struggling, in poverty, desperate that are doing as good or better than we are. Do you not see that there is a problem here? We don’t support athletics, fund it, encourage it and we don’t have a winning attitude overall. We are a nation of people who are always satisfied with mediocre results and achievements. Very sad for this once proud and very powerful nation. :(

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Or…it could just be that us Yanks are just better than the rest of you!

    Oh relax! I’m just yanking your chains!

    Those countries with monster coast lines tend to do well in the swimming events and like Stan said, who dominates in the winter games? Those countries that have long ugly winters.

    I was watching synchronized ladies diving the other day…I do have to point out that the chinese females did seem to be just a bit more streamlined for water entry than the Canadian girl with breeder hips!

    We could always discuss what happens when Canada really does try to win…can you say, Ben Johnson???

    And you do your athletes a disservice if you don’t appreciate the fact that they did, at least, compete. Those of you sitting on your arses, bitching about the performance of your athletes might want to consider getting your fat arses off the couch and trying it yourselves.

    There are plenty of events that just shouldn’t cost alot to train for…I mean, come on! India won a gold medal in 10 meter air rifle! How freaking hard can that be to train for??? It’s a BB gun for F#@ks sake!!!

    Maybe with all that free medical and everything else you Canucks have you just can’t afford to sponsor your olympic athletes???

    The world will cut you some slack…it’s gotta be hard to train for the summer games when you only have two weeks of summer! Aye?!?!

  • Brad

    I apologize for posting so many responses about this topic, but I’m very passionate about this.

    Sports and athletics are an extension of a country’s desires, goals, and willingness to make a mark for itself. It’s an assertion and declamation saying that, “we are here, look at us, we are ready and able to take on challenges”. It’s also intimating that a country is strong and looking to take on a leadership role in the world.

    This is why I believe that sports are intrinsically connected to politics and however subtle or not, show the other global players that a nation is willing to step up to the plate.

    Canada used to be a very influential country and we also used to have much more clout on the world stage for many reasons. We’ve lost our identity, our purpose, our desire to make our mark. It’s becoming clear that in so many aspects, we could really care less how we are perceived by other countries/nations.

    The Olympics are for fun, sport, a demonstration of what the human spirit is capable of….but it just seems that we’ve lost our drive and desire to make our mark and ascertain our relevance to the rest of the world. :-(

  • Brad

    Those countries with monster coast lines tend to do well in the swimming events and like Stan said, who dominates in the winter games? Those countries that have long ugly winters.

    WE ARE ONE OF THOSE COUNTRIES WITH A MONSTER COAST LINE, BIGGER THAN THE USA’S, BIGGER THAN AUSTRALIA’S and MOST OTHER COUNTRIES. WE DON’T DOMINATE THE WINTER OLYMPICS EITHER, WE JUST DO RESPECTABLY. IN 2006 WE CAME IN 3RD IN OVERALL MEDAL COUNT AND BEHIND THE USA.

    We could always discuss what happens when Canada really does try to win…can you say, Ben Johnson???

    POOR TASTE AND COMMENTARY. CANADA HAS ONE OF THE CLEANEST RECORDS FOR NO DOPING AMONG INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS. AT LEAST WE CAN TAKE SOME KIND OF PRIDE IN THIS FACT.

    And you do your athletes a disservice if you don’t appreciate the fact that they did, at least, compete. Those of you sitting on your arses, bitching about the performance of your athletes might want to consider getting your fat arses off the couch and trying it yourselves.

    THIS ARGUMENT DOES LITTLE TO PROVE ANY POINT YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE. ALSO, EVERYONE KNOWS THAT AMERICANS ARE THE “HEAVIEST” and MOST OVERWEIGHT NATION BY STATISTICS. JUST BECAUSE A PERSON IS NOT AN ATHLETE THEMSELF, DOESN’T MEAN THEY SHOULDN’T or CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES.

    Maybe with all that free medical and everything else you Canucks have you just can’t afford to sponsor your olympic athletes???

    WE ARE LUCKY FOR THE SOCIAL SERVICES WE HAVE. THERE IS A BALANCE AND THAT BALANCE NEEDS TO BE MAINTAINED. THIS IS A POTENTIAL CONSIDERATION TO WHY WE SEEMINGLY CAN’T AFFORD OTHER PROGRAMS.

    The world will cut you some slack…it’s gotta be hard to train for the summer games when you only have two weeks of summer! Aye?!?!

    YOU’RE SHOWING MORE OF YOUR IGNORANCE WITH THIS STATEMENT.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Okay, maybe I should have said a coast line with water temp that won’t make your body parts crawl inside you for the rest of your life…

    It was a joke Brad…holy shit has everyone at BC lost their senses of humor??? Must be those long cold ugly winters…ruins any sense of humor…it’s the main reason I moved to the south…I’m a much happier person.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Canada used to be a very influential country and we also used to have much more clout on the world stage for many reasons. We’ve lost our identity, our purpose, our desire to make our mark. It’s becoming clear that in so many aspects, we could really care less how we are perceived by other countries/nations.

    What? Would you care to elaborate on this? I can’t conceivably see where you’re coming from here. The bolded portion, emphasis mine of course, is especially perplexing.

  • Brad

    To Jordon Richardson:

    When I mentioned that we (Canada) used to have more clout in the world, I was referring to when we actually cared about protecting, defending and securing our nation. The days when we actually had a somewhat effective (yet small) military. This country played an important role in liberating the Netherlands from German occupation.

    Don’t forget about the war of 1812 either when we successfully kept the Americans from taking us over.

    We had a much more resolute way of thinking it seemed back in those early days when Canada was a new nation. Today, we can’t even really make any kind of progress in Afghanistan and our peace keeping missions are a joke now.

    We have become pretty much a defenseless nation and have to rely heavily on the Americans to protect us because we’ve let our military deteriorate and rot for over 50 years.

    It’s this same kind of attitude that we have today with sports/athletics and the Olympics. We have let our programs slide, don’t fund them well enough and we don’t seem to collectively care how we compare to other similar nations in the pinnacle of amateur sport/games – which is the Olympics.

    There are countries like China, the USA, Russia that are large and powerful. These countries have the means and desire to protect their country and don’t rely on others to do it for them. They are also the countries that have the most clout in the world. Of course we cannot compete with China or the USA in sheer population and we don’t have the resources to do what they have done. Still, we could do much better than we do.

    Don’t you see the connection between these countries, their “Super power” status and how well they all do in the Olympic games? There is a direct correlation to how powerful they are militarily and how powerful they are in sports.

    Of course then there are the exceptions to that rule, like Australia who isn’t a world “power” with arms but they make up for that with a very strong sports minded and competitive society.

    We have lost our competitive edge in our desires to compete in sport as well as to protect and defend our country if we needed to.

    This is how I see it and to me, there is a connection between a country’s desire to defend itself and to also show the world that it’s competitive in a friendlier arena, like sports and athletics.

  • Jordan Richardson

    When I mentioned that we (Canada) used to have more clout in the world, I was referring to when we actually cared about protecting, defending and securing our nation. The days when we actually had a somewhat effective (yet small) military. This country played an important role in liberating the Netherlands from German occupation.

    Right, and “this country” is now currently slogging it out in Afghanistan cleaning up some other nameless country’s mess. Stephen Harper, prick that he is, just dropped a LOT of money into Canada’s defense. In my view, that was a rather stupid move. Who threatens Canada? Why do we need “more security?” The last thing we as Canadians need to do is fall into the convenient Fear Trap sprung by the Americans below us. Claiming a national identity should have nothing to do with holding the bully’s coat and everything to do with taking on a role as peacemakers. Which is exactly what we’re doing now!

    Don’t forget about the war of 1812 either when we successfully kept the Americans from taking us over.

    Yeah, we sure live in similar times to the war of 1812

    Today, we can’t even really make any kind of progress in Afghanistan and our peace keeping missions are a joke now.

    They are? Tell that to our young men and women who are dying over there. I fail to see how any of that is a joke or how we aren’t making progress. The situation in Afghanistan is infinitely more complex and we (among other nations) were left holding the bag while the United States buggered off to Iraq. We shouldn’t even be there.

    We have become pretty much a defenseless nation and have to rely heavily on the Americans to protect us because we’ve let our military deteriorate and rot for over 50 years.

    In 1995, our military had a total active duty number of 70,500 troops. Military expenditures accounted for 2.0% of our GNP. Today, our total active duty troops number as 62,000, with 1.1% (and rising slightly) of our GNP spent on military expenditures. To me, this is a point of pride. What threat does Canada face? And for the love of God, don’t use the blanket term “terrorism.” “Terrorism” is simply a catch-all to drum up support from the MIC and I take pride in the fact that Canadians don’t seem to fall for that shit as easily as our more gullible friends to the South.

    There are countries like China, the USA, Russia that are large and powerful.

    Yes, those countries are also hated and feared. Forgive me for not thinking Canada’s in a bad way when we rank high on almost every single survey in the world in terms of where people want to live and how good our quality of life is. In the UN’s most recent Human Development Report, Canada ranked fourth overall. The HDR takes into account three dimensions of human development: life expectancy, education (this is measured by adult literacy and school enrolment), and standard of living (purchasing power, etc.).

    I’ll repeat: Canada ranked fourth overall. In the world. Those large, powerful countries you cited as examples for us? China finished 81st overall, Russia finished 67th, and the United States finished 12th. All of the wealth and power in the world apparently doesn’t increase the quality of life people experience. This is proven from the tiniest microcosms of life to the most obvious, blatant scales, like the HDR. While you may not be happy because Canada isn’t the World Player you imagined it as being, Canadians are typically happier and healthier than the citizens of the world’s most brawny and wealthy countries. In my opinion, that’s something to take immense pride in.

    There is a direct correlation to how powerful they are militarily and how powerful they are in sports.

    There might well be. But how do you explain the results of other sporting competitions where those “rich, powerful” countries don’t do so well? How do you explain Germany’s dominance at the 2006 Winter Games? Or, for that matter, how do you explain Canada finishing in third (with 24 medals) in 2006, just one medal less than the United States? China was nowhere to be found in the top ten (South Korea was), and yet they have a HUGE military. Or what about Norway’s performance in the 2002 Winter Games? They sure aren’t powerful, yet they’re consistent top finishers at winter events. In fact, Norway’s military (the Hæren), only features 51,000 troops when it is FULLY mobilized (it currently boasts a peacetime strength of 16,000). Don’t forget, Norway was once invaded by the Nazis. For some reason, they don’t leave in a state of perpetual panic or shame…

    I could cite a myriad of stats to continue this line of discussion, Brad, but it’s no use. The truth is that any correlation to military strength and athletic performance at the Olympics is tenuous and shaky at best, ridiculous at its worst. It’s just not true.

    We have lost our competitive edge in our desires to compete in sport as well as to protect and defend our country if we needed to.

    Yeah, apparently you’re the only Canadian who has never heard of hockey.

    This is how I see it and to me, there is a connection between a country’s desire to defend itself and to also show the world that it’s competitive in a friendlier arena, like sports and athletics.

    Right, we need to arm up and man up in order to show we can also win the breastroke and synchronized diving. You’ll forgive me if I chortle at your strange logic here, of course, but it sounds really, really silly.

    Besides, how do you account for this? Surely Togo, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan didn’t do better than us because of their military prowess.

  • Brad

    Hi Jordon,

    I’d love to discuss and debate more with you about Canada’s role in history with it’s military and why this is still important today, but I don’t think this is the right place to continue with that. And “NO”, I wouldn’t cite “terrorism” as a reason why we need a stronger military.

    Since this discussion is primarily about Canada’s lack luster performance in the summer Olympics and in Beijing specifically, I guess it should be kept more or less to that general topic.

    As far as how well a rich and militarily powerful nation or a not so rich or powerful nation performs in winter vs summer games, there are all kinds of reasons & variables for that. We do tend to do much better in winter sports and because we are more or less a winter nation. Just as Germany, Sweden, Norway, Russia etc. generally do very well in winter sports. Some of those nations just happen to be very powerful militarily, and others are not.

    However, we are also a “summer” nation half of the year, just like Russia, Germany, Britain, Sweden etc. and most of those countries out perform us during the summer olympics as well.

    I was making a generalized comparison that does seem to support a connection between sport prowess and military prowess.

    As others have commented here previously, yes, we generally do extremely well with our hockey teams, and that’s because it’s our national sport and historical past time. We all know this.

    I don’t know why you and others always take things so literally and I was in no way suggesting that we have to have a powerful military in order to do well in summer Olympics.

  • Jordan Richardson

    However, we are also a “summer” nation half of the year, just like Russia, Germany, Britain, Sweden etc. and most of those countries out perform us during the summer olympics as well.

    Canada is currently 17th in the world at the Beijing Summer Olympics. This whole “summer nation half of the year” crap applies to any country in the world, not just Canada. As you said, there are a number of reasons Canada doesn’t do well at the Summer Olympics, although 17th in the world – ahead of lots of other countries where “summer” exists for much more than half the year – isn’t half bad from where I sit. India, for instance, has not only a much bigger military than we do, they also are a much, much hotter country, and have a massive population. They’ve got ONE medal.

    Out of the 205 countries of the world competing in the Olympics, being 17th isn’t bad.

    With China now having 67 medals (that’ll change soon) and the United States having 72 of them, Britain’s 27 medals don’t look all that spectacular for third place (although they do have 12 gold, which is impressive). Suddenly our 9 medals is looking pretty good, all things considered.

    By the way, Sweden only has three medals (all silver). Norway has five. Finland has three. And so on.

    I don’t know why you and others always take things so literally and I was in no way suggesting that we have to have a powerful military in order to do well in summer Olympics.

    Certainly not, but you were making, as you said, a “generalized comparison.” I showed you that your comparison was flawed. You also ranted about how Canada has lost its standing in the world, how we don’t care about our own security, and so on. I addressed all of your points. Would you rather I didn’t?

  • Brad

    Hi Jordan,

    Russia is currently in 3rd place by total amount of medals won. I don’t place importance of ranking a country by the amount of gold medals it has. Any medal is a “win” in the Olympic games.

    My main points in all of my commentary is that there is really no acceptable reasons why Canada doesn’t do better than it does in the summer Olympics. We should regularly be in the top 10 in overall medal count. Most Canadians don’t expect us to have nearly as many medals as the USA or China, but we should be doing nearly as well as Britain, France, Italy and other similar nations. The fact that Australia, a nation with a 1/3 less people than Canada and less economic power, can do so well next to super powers like Russia, China and the USA, is a testament of what can be achieved by a small country. One that has a more competitive edge and desire show the world what it’s people are capable of.

    “Summer nation” or “winter nation”, super power or not there are reasons to why a country excels in any Olympics. A lot of it has to do with tenacity, national pride, being competitive, wanting to win and having higher dreams & goals rather than settling for mediocre results. Also, settling for mediocre results can apply to many but not all of Canada’s achievements.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I don’t place importance of ranking a country by the amount of gold medals it has. Any medal is a “win” in the Olympic games.

    Well, the standings over on CBC have Britain ranked third. However you choose to rank them is up to you, but by the official rankings Russia is in sixth place.

    My main points in all of my commentary is that there is really no acceptable reasons why Canada doesn’t do better than it does in the summer Olympics.

    No, there are a number of reasons. And they’ve been discussed extensively throughout this thread.

    We should regularly be in the top 10 in overall medal count.

    Why?

    Most Canadians don’t expect us to have nearly as many medals as the USA or China, but we should be doing nearly as well as Britain, France, Italy and other similar nations.

    How “similar” those nations are to us depends on what categories you’re using. Are you talking about similar climates? Similar cultures? Similar economies? You have to be a bit more clear here.

    The fact that Australia, a nation with a 1/3 less people than Canada and less economic power, can do so well next to super powers like Russia, China and the USA, is a testament of what can be achieved by a small country.

    Australia isn’t a small country by any extent. And, for the record, Russia is most assuredly not a super power.

    One that has a more competitive edge and desire show the world what it’s people are capable of.

    I don’t doubt the desire of the Canadian athletes for a second. I find it presumptuous that you do. Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that Canadian athletes lack the desire?

    “Summer nation” or “winter nation”, super power or not there are reasons to why a country excels in any Olympics. A lot of it has to do with tenacity, national pride, being competitive, wanting to win and having higher dreams & goals rather than settling for mediocre results.

    So why does Canada routinely kick ass at the Winter Games? And again, I take major issue with the fact that you think the athletes competing over there, from ANY country, are content to “settle for mediocre results.” That’s insulting.

  • Brad

    When I said that Australia was a small country, I was referring to it’s population not it’s physical land mass area.

    Russia is on the road to becoming a super power again and in case you haven’t noticed, they have invaded Georgia and the USA isn’t about to try to stop them. I was also referring to them being more of a “sports” super power in the context of this discussion anyway.

    I never said that the athletes didn’t have the drive, desire and settled. It’s more of the mindset of the people, nation and the forces who control and support or do not support our olympians.

  • Jordan Richardson

    being competitive, wanting to win and having higher dreams & goals rather than settling for mediocre results…

    there is really no acceptable reasons why Canada doesn’t do better than it does in the summer Olympics. We should regularly be in the top 10 in overall medal count.

    Canada’s lack luster performance in the summer Olympics and in Beijing specifically

    We have lost our competitive edge in our desires to compete in sport…

    So when you said the above quotations, you were referring to those of us who are (or are not) supporting the athletes and not the athletes themselves?

    In that case, I apologize.

  • Brad

    “So when you said the above quotations, you were referring to those of us who are (or are not) supporting the athletes and not the athletes themselves?”

    Yep and no problem.

  • Brad

    And to comment again on your statement below, I don’t believe I’m all that much off base at all.

    “Certainly not, but you were making, as you said, a “generalized comparison.” I showed you that your comparison was flawed. You also ranted about how Canada has lost its standing in the world, how we don’t care about our own security, and so on.”

    If you look at the countries in the top 10 medal standings by number of medals, NOT by gold count it’s easy to see a correlation to military strength and Olympic prowess. With the exception of Australia as it’s not as military capable as the others. Saying this though, even Australia has a more modern, capable and well maintained military (in terms of hardware) than Canada does.

    In medal order we have the USA, China, Russia, Australia, France, Britain, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Italy. Each one of these countries (except Australia) has formidable military capabilities and many are nuclear nations.

    Yes, I admit there are exceptions and you can’t say this is the holy grail in defining an “olympic super power”. However I do see a clear connection for the most part.

    Sure, some of those countries I’ve made an example of are not overly well liked and/or feared, but there are others that are well liked and respected. What they all have in common is that they have some of the most/more powerful military forces in the world.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brad, this has been getting tiresome for quite some time. However, I’ll make one final attempt at sorting through your ideology.

    You said in #61 the following:

    …I was in no way suggesting that we have to have a powerful military in order to do well in summer Olympics.

    I guess if you’re NOT suggesting that “we have to have a powerful military in order to do well,” I have to wonder just what your suggestion is.

    You incessantly ranted and raved about Canada “losing its standing in the world,” which is patently untrue, and how nations with military power “do well” at the summer Olympics. You went as far back as citing the bloody War of 1812 to make your point, for crying out loud. What other conceivable inference can I draw from your comments?

    In medal order we have the USA, China, Russia, Australia, France, Britain, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Italy. Each one of these countries (except Australia) has formidable military capabilities and many are nuclear nations.

    So how do you explain Canada’s performance outdoing China, South Korean, Britain, Japan, and Italy CONSISTENTLY at the Winter Olympics and at other sporting events around the world? Did we suddenly get a boost in military funding and, thus, our athletes got bigger balls?

    Again, when you go through this much effort to highlight the military prowess of medal-winning countries at the summer Olympics, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the lines you so obviously want to draw.

    A. You’re upset about Canada losing its standing in the world, ignoring that Canada hasn’t lost its standing in the world at all and ignoring the fact that Canada is seen as a better place to live than ALL OF THE WORLD’S (ACCORDING TO BRAD) “SUPERPOWERS.”

    B. You’re upset that Canada isn’t winning very many medals and insist, for some reason, that we need to wind up in the Top Ten in order to be considered winners and we should be doing so at the summer Olympics and not just the winter Olympics. The contrast in seasons doesn’t phase you, as “Canada is a summer nation half the year.”

    C. You have a strange need to point out the military prowess of the top medal winning countries at the summer Olympics, fully ignoring the lack of performance from about half of those countries at the winter Olympics and at other sporting events throughout the year.

    YET, to repeat (again!), you say that you were “in no way suggesting that we have to have a powerful military in order to do well in summer Olympics.”

    Gotcha. Fire up the nukes, boys. We Canucks need to do better in the fucking pools like them there other nuclear countries. Yeeehaw!

    Sure, some of those countries I’ve made an example of are not overly well liked and/or feared, but there are others that are well liked and respected.

    Clearly you didn’t look at or bother to acknowledge what I was saying about quality of life, so it’s no wonder that you’ve reduced this discussion down to guns/ammo/nukes/medals and whether or not a country is “well-liked.”

    Yeesh.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Brad: I don’t place importance of ranking a country by the amount of gold medals it has. Any medal is a “win” in the Olympic games.

    Jordan: Well, the standings over on CBC have Britain ranked third. However you choose to rank them is up to you, but by the official rankings Russia is in sixth place.

    While any medal is a great achievement, there is a reason why they are colored gold, silver and bronze. Otherwise, you might as well give everyone gold medals.

    Everywhere on Earth except at NBC – which can’t bear the thought that the USA might not finish on top – the medals table is ranked by number of golds won, then number of silvers, then bronze. That’s the way it’s always been calculated for as long as I can remember.

    The official Beijing ’08 website ranks the nations this way; however, as a concession to the Brads and NBCs of this world, it also gives a ranking by total number of medals over on the right-hand side of the table. (As a sort of afterthought.)

  • Brad

    Hi Jordan,

    That’s right, I did say I wasn’t suggesting Canada build up a potent military in order to achieve success at the summer games…that makes no sense at all. What I’m suggesting is that there is a correlation between countries with military might and specifically “summer olympic” might. Beefing up and increasing our military capabilities will not change a thing for us now or in the near future as far as how we perform in sport during the summer games. Besides, it much too far after the fact anyway to change the cultural collective mindset.

    As far as us out performing those countries you mentioned in the winter games, that’s fine. The 2006 winter games were an exceptionally good year for us though. Also, the summer games hold a lot more prestige if you will and are treated with more importance, viewed with more interest generally & the world over. It’s a much bigger Olympics with the most athletes and countries competing in far more sports than the winter games. Unless you are a winter sports nut, the winter games take second fiddle to the summer games, it’s always been this way. There is way more eyes watching what our athletes are doing during summer vs. winter games. Therefore, it’s important we do well in the summer games as well and to show other nations we have world class athletes who were given the tools they need to succeed, trained properly, can compete at that level AND win medals.

    -Yes I am upset about Canada losing its standing and clout. I didn’t ignore what you said and I am aware that Canada is considered one of the best places to live. I can guarantee you though; our ranking will start to slide within the next 10 years.

    -Yes again…I am very disappointed about this years medal count and as well as our consistently abysmal record in the summer Olympics dating back decades. We should be in the top 10 listing of countries for medals. The fact that you don’t agree and feel that our current 17th place is fine and quite good, is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s that complacent attitude that is echoed throughout the land by so many of our citizens. It’s the attitude of we “can’t do better or we shouldn’t need to do better”. How about setting the bar a little higher for ourselves for once? How about believing that we can accomplish things that we haven’t before? The people of Canada (including all levels of government) say that they are so incredibly proud of the athletes that represent us and yet they don’t support, encourage or finance summer Olympics nearly how they should be and during the 4 years in between games.

    My reference to WW II and the war of 1812, was to illustrate how our nation used to have drive, determination and the guts to stand up for ourselves in extremely difficult times. We were doers and achievers, rather than doubters and under achievers. Defeating the Americans and securing our land was an enormous achievement (even back then), not to mention it’s the reason we are still called CANADA today.

    Somewhere along the lines and in the last 60-70 years our citizens have become weak, average and contented with lowly aspirations. This mindset, attitude or thinking has permeated throughout our society and goes from the top level of our government right down to the average person in the street. We are perceived as “nice”, “friendly”, “peaceful” to most other countries in the world. Remember the saying, nice guys finish last? Seems to be mostly accurate as far as our summer Olympic performances overall. I’m not suggesting we should become mean, arrogant brutes either…I’m just stating an opinion from observations.

    I’ve certainly NOT reduced this discussion to guns, ammo and nukes. I really dislike when people put words in mouth. I guess I’ve either communicated ineffectively or you just don’t understand the bigger picture and how I see it.

  • STM

    Brad says there’s “a correlation between countries with military might and specifically “summer olympic” might”.

    Sorry Brad, that’s bollocks … Australia is currently in fourth place on the medals tally, generally always finishes very high up the table, was third yesterday just on the number of gold medals alone, and has a population of just 20 million and a military that would have trouble invading New Zealand, which almost doesn’t have a military, even if they were standing there with the door open and the beer on.

    We do love our sport, though …

    Actually, if you were going to invade anywhere, New Zealand would be a great joint to invade. You could just call ’em and tell you’re on your way, and should we bring anything? The salads, maybe …

    Apart from the fact that about one-third of NZs population already lives happily at Sydney’s Bondi Beach, there’d be no shooting at all as the lamb went on the barbecue all over the shaky isles, and it’d just be one long piss-up punctutated by the odd rugby match.

    Fantastic. Memo to Joint Chiefs of Defence Staff, Canberra …

  • Brad

    Hi STM…

    I did mention that the correlation isn’t carved in stone and it excludes Australia. See post #67.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So basically, you’re simply referring to a loose correlation between military might and, specifically, SUMMER sports at the Olympics (other summer sports at other international events don’t count with your correlation, do they?). And your correlation does not include Australia, for some reason, nor does it include Canada when it does well at summer sports at the Olympics.

    And Brad, you keep talking about “our country” somehow having lower aspirations and more self-doubt, yet you have no evidence for that and any evidence I provide to the contrary, like the HDR or our role as peacekeepers or our performance in other sports, you simply ignore. So how seriously am I supposed to take this claim when it’s as wobbly and bland as your “correlation between military toughness and OLYMPIC SUMMER MEDALS!”

    Seriously, it’s getting pretty lame. You’re really reaching for something here. In order to make your point, you have to ignore an awful lot of Canadian history, ignore our good-to-great social standing in the world, ignore our performance in winter sports, ignore our rising medal count, ignore how hard our athletes work, ignore how much pride the average Canadian feels, ignore our social programs, and make up new rules for your Correlation Theory as you go along. So you’ll forgive me for not buying it and leaving you to your own devices, Brad, but I’m afraid you’ve finally given me no choice.

    Have fun, though. I’m sure it’s a hell of a theory.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan, I think the Maori might have a bit to say about yet another invasion of their islands…

  • Ruvy

    Jordan,

    Talk about whine and jeez – does this come with horses d’oevers too?

    You guys need to redefine winning. Winning in Israel is when the Olympic team comes back and no damned Arab terrorist has tried to kill them, or if they tried, they died trying.

    After Munich, you learn to adjust your sights to reality. The Olympics is not sports – it’s politics, war carried on in the sports arena. The Olympics ceased being sports in 1936 in Berlin.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yeah, Ruvy. Kinda curious why that was addressed towards me, as I’m sitting here fighting off the whiners. But okay, got it. We’re nothing until we’ve been harassed by Arabs.

    Next!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Winning in Israel is when the Olympic team comes back and no damned Arab terrorist has tried to kill them

    Or how about when the Iraqi soccer team doesn’t have to worry about being fed into an industrial shredder by Junior if they don’t win?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Ruvy – I’m curious. Since ’72, does Mossad or some other group travel with Israel’s Olympic team?

  • STM

    Brad: “correlation between military toughness and OLYMPIC SUMMER MEDALS”

    Lol. OK then, if it’s to do with toughness rather than size, Australia is in its rightful place on that medals table, although I do think we should be above the US and the Poms if that’s what it’s based on :) Actually, we’d probably be at the top of the table if you could work out some system to correlate it to medals won per capita.

    I read an essay a while back by a Brit suggesting Australia is actually the world’s most successful sporting nation overall, because in the modern era, it’s had a higher number of world champions and world champion teams consistently in a whole range of sports than any other country.

    And geez, Doc, I dunno … they’ve got an advertising campaign here at the moment urging us all to come over. They’re a pretty friendly bunch, the Kiwis. We love ’em, really, except on Bledisloe Cup nights and Rugby World Cup semi-finals outings. Provided an invasion meant they could come over here whenever they wanted (hang on, isn’t that already the case?), I doubt there’d be a drama.

  • STM

    And yes, in OZ, sport IS more important than politics … hugely more important.

    Could this be the reason why we’ve never invaded any bastard en masse, or had a civil war, and why we just tootle along very nicely, thanks, down here in the paradise on the edge of the south pacific?

  • STM

    Apologies to my countrymen in the West … on the edge of the southern Indian Ocean as well.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I read an essay a while back by a Brit suggesting Australia is actually the world’s most successful sporting nation overall, because in the modern era, it’s had a higher number of world champions and world champion teams consistently in a whole range of sports than any other country.

    That’s a given. Every third Australian is an Olympic medallist. It’s a wonder there are enough of you left over to write the newspapers, clean the drains, suture the Saturday night drunks, sell printer toner, tend bar and all that essential stuff.

  • Brad

    Stm wrote: ” although I do think we should be above the US and the Poms if that’s what it’s based on :) Actually, we’d probably be at the top of the table if you could work out some system to correlate it to medals won per capita.”

    Hi STM,

    Excuse my ignorance but what are “Poms”? I would agree with you in that… if Australia had say 3 times it’s current population (approx. the pop of Italy),then your medal count in Beijing would probably be even higher than the USA’s or even China’s by the end of the games.

    The question still remains, WHY IS THAT? You’ve stated that it’s because of Australia’s year round or nearly year round access to a warm climate and how children start early with sports. The climate there isn’t unique though and neither is your kids penchant for sports.

    To me, there is a deeper and underlying reason for why certain countries excel and achieve in competition, while others don’t. I believe it comes down to traits that we inherit from our parents and values that are passed down through the generations.

    I’ve been trying to explain my ideas about this all along. I’ve made a connection that seems to equate nations with strong military capabilities with strong sport ethics. With every idea or “theory” there is no absolute. There doesn’t have to be 100% support for one side or the other in order for the idea to have merit.

    Your country doesn’t have a huge or powerful military and is one of the exceptions to my “tenuous and shaky theory” as Jordan keeps pointing out.

    It would appear to me there are deeper reasons for why some nations excel in sport and athletic competition and others just do average. I think history and cultures give us clues to this and can even explain why certain nations have the powerful war machines and militaries in the first place.

  • STM

    I have a theory Doc: it’s all down to the vast quantities of beer and steak consumed Down Under 😉 Also, fresh fruit and vegies and seafood really ARE fresh – they pretty much come straight from farm or sea to table – there’s no irradiation of anything, or storage for long periods; that, and the fact Aussie kids (because of the climate) are doing outdoor sport 12 months a year in T-shirts from an early age, and swimming pretty much all year round from about the time they can walk.

    The yanks can’t understand our love of Vegemite, but since Vegemite and Milo (the chocolate malt drink) are staples for Aussie kids, there’s gotta be something in it. My young bloke always had a dirty big glass of Milo and milk or two for mid-morning breakfast before he played rugby, and nothing else until dinner after the game, right up until the age of 18.

    There is also an attitude in Australia that if you are going to do a sport seriously, you should always strive to be the best at it.

    I have a slightly different view, however, as do many others here. That is: if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly – because if you keep doing it badly for long enough without giving up, eventually you’ll get very good at it.

  • STM

    Jordan: “Your country doesn’t have a huge or powerful military and is one of the exceptions to my “tenuous and shaky theory” as Jordan keeps pointing out.”

    We are a bunch of rough, tough bastards though :)

  • jeb

    I just wanted to add another aussie perspective to stm’s. Our success is due to a little nature and a lot of nuture.

    I’d definately agree that we do well at the olympics because we have a production line of kids swimming, rowing etc (due to climate and a sporting culture) but having kids swimming in school pools doesn’t make olympic champions. Our huge government funding also has a huge part to play. The AIS (australian institue of sport) was set up after we went without a single gold at the Montreal games. It took a couple of games for the investment to pay off but by the time atlanta, sydney and athens rolled came round we were ready to clean up. Success then encourages further investment. All states have sports institutes also. At the moment we are debating whether we continue to fund our olympic team at such a high level after we’ve dropped in the medal tally in Beijing. It may be hard for you guys to believe but most Australians are very disappointed with how we’ve gone at these olympics. Should we invest more to get our medal tally up to where it was in Athens or don’t the athletes deserve any more funding after they’ve gone badly in Beijing? Where Australia has lost medals is in the sports like track cycling where Great Britain has gone well – due entirely to their own huge increase in funding.

    Government funding is important because even in Australia (possibly the only country where swimming trials are on primetime TV) only the very best have the private sponsorship needed to maintain the training required for olympic level. Most of our sponsorship dollars go into sports like footy (aussie rules), rugby league and cricket. Its got to be noted that the majority of our ‘pure’ athletes go into these sports as well, not olympic sports.

  • STM

    Jeb, you are also forgetting that in New South Wales (I don’t know about the rest of the country), we also have quite a few selective Sports High Schools – where you only get in if you have achieved a level of excellence (or show great promise) at a particular sport.

    However, the suggestion of huge funding at senior level is actually a fallacy. Yes, there is government funding for the AIS and the State sports institutes, but compared to many other countries, it’s not that high.

    Check it out … there are many sports in Australia that do well at the Games that get virtually no funding at all, so it’s certainly not across the board.

    I’d suggest the Australian character is a factor (not wanting to come second at anything, and whether that’s good or bad is up to how you see it), as is the climate and the lifestyle, including great, fresh foods, a really good sports talent-identification process and the high sports participation rates not only of Aussie kids but adults as well.

    It’s the old story when it comes to kids – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Brad

    Hi Jeb and STM,

    Jeb, thank you for your insight into what you believe contributes to the excellent athletes that Australia produces. I DO believe that Australia’s government should take a fair amount of the accolades for producing such top quality athletes. Even though STM differs in your opinion, I’m still very certain that Australia’s government puts much more investment into all level of sports than Canada does.

    Going back to climate though, I’m still left wondering why other similar nations that have year round moderate weather aren’t doing as well as Australia in the summer games.

    What about South Africa, Brazil, India? These are 3 countries off the top of my head that are all “wealthy” nations and enjoy a seasonal/moderate climate year round. All 3 countries have larger populations than Australia as well.

    Canada has sure pulled up it’s socks in the 2nd week of these Olympic games and for that, I’m happy and not so frustrated. Do I think Canada should do better…YES. Do I understand fully why we don’t do better, not really. At least for us (Canada) we have done respectable and thus far in the Beijing 2008 Olympics and I do feel pride for my country in achieving what they have.

    On a side note and to Jeb, you’re so right about Britain! They have obviously done some major overhauls in their programs, both financially and with training. I don’t remember a summer Olympics where Great Britain has faired so well!

  • jeb

    Hi Brad,

    I can’t remember when the poms did so well either. This is seriously annoying a lot of aussies at the moment! – they’ve taken a lot of medals we should have won. I think its clear for you guys that if you want Canada to win medals, then you’ve got to pour money into olympic sports over a long period of time. However you’ve got to ask yourself how much of your self-worth is linked to a medal count every four years. In Australia we decided that its very important (we are that confident in how the world views us) that we’ve poured huge amounts into our Olympic programs over the last few games. Our funding dropped leading up to Beijing and so has our medal return. Its a direct correlation. The medal tally is a national obsession in Australia for two weeks, where our media constantly tries to use per capita, or total medals (rather than the number of golds) etc to convince us that australia is the best thing ever. They seem to have convinced STM! Good foods – seriously dude – are you a farmer or something? I’ve got to say that they’ve stopped with the per capita medal count now that New Zealand is kicking us!

    Your question regarding climate is a good one and there are probably many complex reasons for their lack of olympic success, however in my opinion it comes down to the lack of importance many nations place on the olympics or olympic sports, which then correlates into lack of funding, which in turn results in lack of infrastructure. All the sports which Australia has won gold medals in in Beijing (swimming, sailing, rowing, triathlon) are helped by hot weather but they also require a lot of infrastructure. In many other countries these ‘european’ type sports are available to only some, whereas in Australia its very easy to access these sports at a young age. As an example, I know that even in the US swimming is thought of as an upper middle class sport, whereas in Australia its a sport for everybody. Many kids grow up with a pool in their backyard, every school has a pool and there are heaps of public pools. Kind of like you guys and ice rinks. You can probably see where I’m going with this – there are a lot of countries with warm weather but not a lot of these countries have as many pools as us! – or as many sailing/rowing boats as us. Of course when I say swimming pools or boats there is the infrastructure that goes along with it such as the coaches, the talent identification and the sporting institutes. And what do these things require – you guessed it – funding.

    STM – I don’t know if it spoils your view of Australia to admit that funding gives us our medals. We were shit before the AIS. When I talk about funding I don’t just mean at the elite level , but all those things that you spoke about – the sports high schools, the talent identification don’t pay for themselves. I know previously you claimed that our GPS rowing is world class – I definitely agree but we shouldn’t kid ourselves about how much money goes into these programs. As for funding at the elite level – it isn’t a fallacy to say that per capita we are way up there. We are a long, long way above Canada.

    To talk about India, Brazil and South Africa specifically, then I’m going to make some huge generalizations here and say that those countries basically don’t have olympic programs because they don’t care about the olympics. The easiest one to talk about is India as it is the most extreme example – 1 billion odd people obsessed with one sport only – cricket. Kind of like you guys and your obsession with hockey, only much, much worse. Whats cool about India is that they openly admit that they don’t care. But imagine what they could do (and maybe will) in a couple of olympics if they got into it like China?

  • Brad

    Hi Jeb,

    Thanks very much again for your very sensible and (easy to make sense of info) about all of this. Thank you as well for informing this “uniformed” Canadian what a “Pom” was, lol. I had asked STM before but I never got an answer.

    I really wish Canadians would financially and morally support sports more here and that the government would also follow suit. I don’t think Canadians would appose the long term investments if we did better in the summer Olympics. Maybe I’m wrong and can’t speak for my country, but like Australia, I think our people would reap the benefits and appreciate the sacrifice of funding sports and athletics better once it was translated into Olympic medals in summer. I really believe that all nations take immense pride in what they and their citizens achieve on the world stage (whatever that stage is).

    Jeb, I do know it’s true what you say about how Australia has pools everywhere. One only has to look at satellite images on Google to see the vast amount of backyard swimming pools and sports/swimming arenas that pepper most of the bigger cities’ landscape.

    I think you are right about such countries like India, Brazil and South Africa as well. Perhaps they just don’t have the same “competitive” mindset that Aussies do or care enough about the different sports. I still have to ask myself the basic question, “why is this”? What makes one nation more competitive than another and want to show the world what their citizens & athletes can do.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I really wish Canadians would financially and morally support sports more here and that the government would also follow suit.

    I think, again, that Canada is a hockey country and our citizens feel more of a kinship to the ice-and-snow sports than they do to pool sports or field sports. I don’t think that’s a flaw. Our success and domination in terms of hockey has been a point of pride among Canadians and always will be, so I’m not sure that moral support has been an issue. Financial support is good, too.

    I suppose you mean to suggest that Canadians should support other sports, too, but I simply don’t think our people are built that way on broad levels. Brits are more likely to support football than most other sports, for instance, and that, too, is a point of pride among their people. Of course there are exceptions, as I know a few “backwards” Canadians that can’t stand hockey. But the point is that we do have a sense of national pride towards sports and we do perform really well when there’s ice or snow. The amount of local level support for hockey, right down to the minor league teams, is incredible.

    So while I get that you’re saying you wish the support would extend to other sports, I simply don’t see it as a viable possibility because Canada’s never really been that way. Basketball doesn’t catch on here, neither does baseball. Auto racing? Forget about it. There are small local groups of support for things like that, but for the most part we Canadians know what we like and we support the living hell out of it.

  • Brad

    Hi Jordan,

    I agree as well with many of your points and even if you don’t support my (large military = lots of gold medals in summer) theory. 😉

    Perhaps I just don’t relate to the average Canadian and this could be a source of my frustrations. I myself don’t like hockey and I’m certainly not an athlete either. Saying this though, doesn’t mean I don’t understand the many benefits of sports/athletics and promoting them.

    All sports activities lead to an active and much healthier lifestyle. Sport also encourages youth to develop complex and long lasting relationships that span a lifetime.

    I don’t think I’ll truly ever understand why Canadians would place so much emphasis on “ice/snow” sports. We are a “winter” country, but again, we have lots of summer here. As well, most of us Canadians will not admit that we really don’t like shoveling snow or braving -20C weather.

    We are celebrating winter sports too much and not embracing our summer sports that are available and within our other seasons.

    On a side note to you, I’ll just mention the Toronto Maple Leafs…how is our funding dollars being spent there? 😛

    I’ll just never get or understand why certain nations have more of a drive than others. I’ve been trying to come up with answers now for many years. I’ll also never understand where the funding seems to come from and using Australia for an example.

    Without going into economics, Australia spends quite a bit more as a percentage of their GDP on several other programs than Canada does. Jeb, you’ll be glad to know that Australia is out performing and out spending Canada on several fronts.

  • Brad

    Hey Jeb & STM,

    Surely you guys remember this great song and when Christine sang it during the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

    What a great song, and this video also showcases the splendour of Australia. You folks have so much to be proud of! :-)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brad, I don’t know if I’ve met such a self-loathing Canadian before. But I must save, it’s been a pleasure.

    😉

  • Brad

    Thanks Jordan…I suppose that is sort of an indirect compliment.

    I’m really not the self loathing Canadian you might think. I love our country, but I want us to do better. I want Canada to play a vital role in the world by demonstrating it’s achievements and tenacity in various ways. I believe we lack tenacity and are too humble for our own good.

    With all of my posts, I’ve simply been trying to reach out to other Canadians in any way that I can to try to make them understand that we haven’t been reaching our full potential in the summer Olympics and in many other ways.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And on the contrary, I believe it has been our humility that has led to our great social standing in the world. Again, the countries you discuss as being enviable in terms of power and “accomplishments” fall short when people are asked where in the world they want to live. I’d direct your attention again to the HDR that I mentioned in a prior post in which Canada finished fourth in the world in quality of life.

    My fear is that should we take a similar road to the “superpowers,” we’ll sacrifice our good social standing in the world and sacrifice the quality of life of our citizens. I think Canada’s pride comes from how we treat each other, how we look out for one another, and how we band together as a nation to care for the “least of these.” Our health care and our social programs are excellent reminders of that. I fear that if Canada goes the road of the “superpowers,” she will lose her standing in the world.

    So where you see a lack of tenacity, I see the opposite. I see tenacity in the way our nation strives to be peaceful, to be compassionate, and to be good to its neighbours (even when we don’t agree with our neighbours). If polls and surveys are any indication, the majority of the world agrees with the way I see things. And the majority of Canadians happen to enjoy living in a way that doesn’t place competition, “first place” in some arbitrary sporting event, war-mongering, and fruitless endeavours at the top of its “to-do list.”

  • duane

    Wow, Jordan. Mixed messages. Sounds like you’re coming around, though. “Fruitless endeavors”? Yes sir. Re-read my post #47.

    But I must respectfully question the tone here suggesting that the U.S. success in sports is somehow a direct result of war mongering. Maybe you can outline the cause-and-effect chain that leads you and others to that conclusion.

  • Brad

    Hi Jordan,

    I never dismissed your remarks about the HDR and our ranking in the world for best places to live. There are others very high on that list and one of those countries is Australia.

    I keep bringing up Australia and comparing our two countries because we and the Aussies share so many similarities. From history to politics, economics to country size and population. Australia is almost THE perfect country to compare Canada to and vice versa. We are both wealthy, diverse, mostly English speaking countries with our ancestry being from Britain. One of the only differences between our two nations is our climates.

    I disagree with your comments and really believe that we’ve lost much of our social standing in the world…our “clout” that I’ve been referring to now for quite awhile, has faded.

    Don’t forget either that this country isn’t as harmonious as you say. We are still dealing with the Quebec separatists and I think we will always have that looming over our heads. Until Quebec agrees and decides once and for all that they want and choose to belong to the rest of the country, we will always be on pins and needles worrying and wondering what they are going to do. Then we have the differences and complaints from the east and west parts of the country in equalization payments.

    You mention our social programs being exemplary, but Australia (again for comparison) offers much the same social based health care system as Canada does, spends nearly the same amount percentage wise BUT has less waiting times to see doctors for special needs or elective surgeries and procedures.

    I am grateful that our citizens are so compassionate, caring and generally loved the world over. I take pride in that but I still think it’s a situation where the “nice guy finishes last”.

    You simply can’t pin all our hopes, dreams, goals, desires, achievements, and hopeful future endevours on the fact that we are currently ranked 4th in the world for “quality of life”.

  • Jordan Richardson

    But I must respectfully question the tone here suggesting that the U.S. success in sports is somehow a direct result of war mongering. Maybe you can outline the cause-and-effect chain that leads you and others to that conclusion.

    I don’t recall arguing this conclusion. Perhaps you’re confusing Brad’s tenuous “military prowess may have a correlation with a country’s Olympic success” theory with my “no it doesn’t” stance.

    Mixed messages.

    Whereabouts?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brad, do you work for the Australian tourism department? I have to ask…

  • duane

    Jordan: “I don’t recall arguing this conclusion.”

    You wrote:

    “And the majority of Canadians happen to enjoy living in a way that doesn’t place competition, “first place” in some arbitrary sporting event, war-mongering, and fruitless endeavours at the top of its “to-do list.”

    If my interpretation is wrong, maybe you could clarify.

    Mixed messages: Your #96 comes across as though to say: “Let’s draw our feelings of pride from those things that make Canada such a great place, and leave pointless sports competitions to those meanie countries.” Compare that to your article.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And Brad, I’d appreciate some supportive facts here. You suggest that “nice guys finish last,” but where’s the evidence of our “last place finishes?” At the summer Olympics? Is that it? Should I care?

    I can’t help but look at the bigger picture here.

    It goes beyond one survey regarding quality of life (there are countless similar surveys). But if you happen to want to brush off how important quality of life is and really would prefer a nation infested with supremacy complexes and arrogance, South is always a good direction. They’ll give you that great performance at the summer Olympics you’re yearning for, they have a big military, and they’ll even throw in a nice healthy dose of “we’re number one!” while you worship the flag and sing the anthem until your face turns blue.

    Yes, that’s going to extremes, but what exactly is it you want? You say that Canada has no “clout” in the world, but fail to provide anything other than your feeling that this is the case. When I provide evidence of our social clout, you brush it off continually and simply say that you feel we don’t have any clout. The only SHRED of evidence for this you’ve provided is to say that Canada sucks at the summer sports. That’s it. How does that account for “clout,” Brad? You want a better basketball team? Maybe more Canucks rolling around in the sand? Is that “clout?”

    Perhaps if you can explain why Canada needs “more clout” and why we need to become the nation that commands instead of earns respect, you may have me sold on your ideology. But in living my day-to-day life with an American wife immigrating to our fair shores to escape the “clout” of the United States, I can find no truly good or compelling rationale for your argument. I’ve looked, believe me. All you’ve provided me with is a sense that you happen to think (or feel) that Canada has lost its standing in the world. When challenged, you move the goalposts or start blathering on about Australia.

    And I don’t recall saying that Canada was harmonious. Find me one country that is! Part of the challenge of living within borders is addresses the desires and needs of the various people across the land. It’s what gives us character and vibrance. And frankly, I’m not on “pins and needles” in terms of Quebec.

    In terms of wait times, Australia also has less population than Canada. Canada’s population is very graduated towards certain city centres and our hospitals overcrowd for a number of reasons. There is a shortage of doctors, nurses, and general medical workers. There is an overwhelming amount of aged population working in the hospitals. In terms of certain procedures, I have a chronic condition that makes me quite a regular in hospitals and medical facilities. The longest wait time I have encountered has been fifteen minutes. There are always exceptions and, while Canada’s health care system is far from perfect, I’m sure you’ll find Australians who say their system isn’t flawless either.

    You simply can’t pin all our hopes, dreams, goals, desires, achievements, and hopeful future endevours on the fact that we are currently ranked 4th in the world for “quality of life”.

    I don’t believe I have. I’ve been countering your points that our “hopes, dreams, goals, desires, achievements, and hopeful future” have been non-existent and can be bolstered by a bit of arrogance and less humility. I don’t think that’s the answer either and I happen to think that we do more good as we are than we would as you propose to be.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Duane, you’re going to have to frame this in context first of all. Arguments are prone to wander.

    I must respectfully question the tone here suggesting that the U.S. success in sports is somehow a direct result of war mongering. Maybe you can outline the cause-and-effect chain that leads you and others to that conclusion.

    The larger scope of the conversation has exceeded sporting achievements and has ventured into territory much larger than that. The conversation was addressing Canada’s humility in contrast to other nations that tend to ‘do well’ at summer Olympic events. Nobody suggested that the US success in sports comes as a direct result of war-mongering. It was more a stab at Brad’s continued argument that military supremacy has a correlation in a country’s ability to have that instinct to win at certain sports, but even his argument has been more of an exploratory point and less of a direct correlation. Perhaps war-mongering was a poor choice of words and perhaps my statement implied a direct link when it was not intended. I apologize for my lack of clarity.

    “Let’s draw our feelings of pride from those things that make Canada such a great place, and leave pointless sports competitions to those meanie countries.”

    Not at all. My sentiments have been consistent. Winning isn’t the only important thing here and, if you’ll note the last paragraph of the original article, you’ll see a direct correlation there. In fact, here it is, sans China joke:

    Personal bests and great performances are, indeed, worth a lot. Perhaps instead of incessantly bitching about how much it sucks to not have a medal by the fifth day of competition, we should be cheering our athletes on for trying their best, competing with heart and integrity, and representing Canada with pride and dignity.

    You’ll have to explain how the following:

    And the majority of Canadians happen to enjoy living in a way that doesn’t place competition, “first place” in some arbitrary sporting event, war-mongering, and fruitless endeavours at the top of its “to-do list.”

    contradicts my last paragraph or sends mixed messages.

  • Brad

    Hi Jordan,

    I’m miffed as to why you always seem very agitated and defensive after my comments. I too am simply responding to you with other ideas or suggestions that happen to be based largely on facts.

    I’m one of those “facts and figures” people and like to educate myself on “numbers” I suppose.

    I could say the same about you and your arguments, that you really haven’t supported your claims to convince me that Canada has done all it can possibly do to assert itself and provide the best possible example to the next generation or even the world.

    I will get back to you with articles and references about a few different things and regarding Canada’s “lost clout” and standings. I will provide you with links to articles that address this issue and that are not from garbage sites. I just wish I could provide or at least photo copy the numerous articles, stories and reports that I’ve read in newspapers, magazines and seen on TV about this situation…but I can’t do that.

  • duane

    Jordan: You’ll have to explain how the following:

    “And the majority of Canadians happen to enjoy living in a way that doesn’t place competition, ‘first place’ in some arbitrary sporting event, war-mongering, and fruitless endeavours at the top of its ‘to-do list.’ ”

    contradicts my last paragraph or sends mixed messages.

    I chose that quote to say that you were making a connection between war-mongering and successful sports programs. The “mixed message” point I’ve already explained.

    It’s OK. It’s not worth arguing about. It’s just sports.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m miffed as to why you always seem very agitated and defensive after my comments. I too am simply responding to you with other ideas or suggestions that happen to be based largely on facts.

    If they are largely based on facts, you’ll gladly provide them.

    I could say the same about you and your arguments, that you really haven’t supported your claims to convince me that Canada has done all it can possibly do to assert itself and provide the best possible example to the next generation or even the world.

    I don’t know of any country that has “done all it can to assert itself,” actually. (I suppose you’re going to cite Australia). There’s always room for improvement. I’m more or less arguing in favour of our humility and of our social standing. You appear to be arguing against it. We both have national pride, it would seem, but it manifests itself in different ways. I view our social standing in the world as a good thing, while you view it as a stumbling block to something greater. Different strokes for different folks.

    I just wish I could provide or at least photo copy the numerous articles, stories and reports that I’ve read in newspapers, magazines and seen on TV about this situation…but I can’t do that.

    I’ve read countless articles along those lines, too. The only problem is that most of them ignore an awful lot of evidence to make their claim and, like you, seem to come out of it with nothing more than a “feeling” that Canada has lost its way.

    Again, I’ve simply been arguing that I don’t believe the situation to be as drastic as you do. I’ve cited a book and fairly significant UN research to bolster my claims. You’ve cited nothing, to my recollection, other than to compare us with other countries that you believe to be better. The difference between you and me is that I don’t care who’s “better.” I simply care about having a good standard of living and that one can be afforded to everyone else in Canada. That is certainly not the case at the moment and I would sooner propose goals that would move Canada further towards a standard in which everyone has enough to live on and nobody goes without food, shelter, or health care than I would towards improving our “clout.” I believe the way to improve our “clout” is to improve how we operate from within, not to look externally for comparisons and the like.

    Essentially, Brad, it comes down to a difference in outlook. We both want the same things: a better Canada. The difference is that I see Canada today as being a pretty decent social player in the world and you think we’re losing our way. We both readily acknowledge that there is room for improvement (in some cases, a LOT of room for improvement).

    Frankly I am getting tired by this conversation and its ongoing circling. I acknowledge that I am as much a contributor to it as anyone, if not the most active contributor. Brad, I’ll let you provide some of the facts you’ve promised for my perusal. I apologize if I’ve seemed agitated. In all reality, I am. My Chinese food is cold…

  • Jordan Richardson

    I chose that quote to say that you were making a connection between war-mongering and successful sports programs.

    Nope. I was referring to what Brad has been saying this entire time. You’d have to ask him to fill out any details about the connection, as it’s not my theory.

    The “mixed message” point I’ve already explained.

    Riiiiight.

  • Brad

    A few more comments before I start digging and then providing my “proof” that Canada has lost and is losing it’s social standing and clout…

    I really don’t think I’m “blathering” on about Australia and even those couple of folks from Australia (here) have given their perspectives and agreed that Canada doesn’t do as much as Oz (in terms of supporting summer sport/athletics).

    This is simply one aspect that we are inferior to them and that I’ve used to compare ourselves with Australia but there are more. Also, I don’t think Australians would feel very objective about your “blathering” comments when they are the ones doing, achieving and making their mark within the world community and on a grander scale than Canada has been doing these last few decades.

    Again, I LOVE my country but we NEED to do better with many things. If you are a current and up-to-date reader of the news, you SHOULD know that Canada follows a lot of what the Aussies do and emulates their ideas. Jed, STM, I’m sure you guys could probably back me up on this.

    I’m going to provide you with those references you’re asking for and once I gather up this info, hopefully you will get out of the bubble you are obviously living in, in BC.

    Should Canada be following in the footsteps of Australia and looking up to them as a “Big Brother”? I think not and not to offend Australians for their amazing achievements but Canada also needs to start taking on a leadership role itself. We should be coming up with our OWN ideas and models, not following a country that has just as many lessons to learn as ourselves.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brad, we also emulate parts of Europe and Asia. If someone else is using a system that works, why not use it too?

    I’m going to provide you with those references you’re asking for and once I gather up this info, hopefully you will get out of the bubble you are obviously living in, in BC.

    Fair enough.

  • NancyBen

    Have enjoyed this thread totally! Are you two in a pissing match? Both our countries are well thought of as “great places to live” What more can we ask.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Well said, Nancy. I would say we very much are in a pissing match that will, ultimately, serve no purpose. I’m no more going to be broken out of my pot-infused Vancouver bubble than Brad is of his. It will ultimately come down to an agreement to disagree, and well it should. It’s gone on long enough as it is.

  • Brad

    Hello Jordan and all,

    Seems I’m unable to post my web based articles here, they are deemed as “spam”. I’ve tried to post them individually rather than a lump sum of links, but it’s still a no-go.

    Guess you win, Jordan and as I can’t provide the “proof” you need and others should see.

  • Brad

    Canada losing ground conference board says.

  • Brad
  • Brad
  • Brad

    Canada’s Global Role: A Strategic Assessment of it’s Military Power.

  • Brad

    More links, articles and “proof” to follow and regarding various inclinations supporting that Canada is INDEED losing it’s “clout” in the world and how we are quickly becoming a mediocre nation that follows rather than leads.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brad, to make this easier, could you try to code the links in HTML? It makes them easier to follow and you can combine more than one in a post.

  • Brad

    Quote: Jordan, “Brad, we also emulate parts of Europe and Asia. If someone else is using a system that works, why not use it too?”

    If you feel satisfied and content in letting other nations lead and dictate the examples we follow, that’s your prerogative.

    I’d rather we Canadians decide and make our our way, rules and decisions. Just because one or two ideas seem the “ideal”, doesn’t or shouldn’t mean that Canada doesn’t ask questions and immediately follows what “someone” else does.

    I’m truly beginning to feel that I have much more pride and expectations for our country than you do.

    I really believe that most Canadians suffer from H.I.T.S. (Head In The Sand) syndrome, where we bury ideas and thoughts that we are just not comfortable enough to admit or acknowledge.

    In one word, “Ostrich”.

  • Brad

    Ok, when I have more time and patience, I will try the HTML format.

    Just curious as well if you realize how much of BC is owned and operated by foreigners and specifically Chinese immigrants. I just can’t believe how complacent you are, so unwilling to stand up for Canada and our once proud people. We are losing everything and you don’t seem to even realize it. :-(

  • Jordan Richardson

    I had a post filled with links and points, but I encountered the same spam problem that Brad did and it was lost. Nevertheless, I’ll try to pick off some of these points quickly:

    If you feel satisfied and content in letting other nations lead and dictate the examples we follow, that’s your prerogative.

    The world learns from one another. I have no problem with taking the good from other systems and applying it to our own. Do you object to improving our systems in this fashion? Almost every system in the world is the result of an evolution from a prior system. That doesn’t mean that the examples were “dictated.” It means society progressed as it always did.

    I’d rather we Canadians decide and make our our way, rules and decisions.

    Many of us do. I’m certainly making my own way and my own rules. You’re acting as though we’re not even a country because we look into what we can take from health care in Europe and immigration policies in Australia. Canada has always worked WITH other countries. For me, that’s a point of pride. I like cooperating more than competing. Sue me.

    Just because one or two ideas seem the “ideal”, doesn’t or shouldn’t mean that Canada doesn’t ask questions and immediately follows what “someone” else does.

    That’s a pretty trivial assessment of the process. Do you really think our decisions are made that lightly? Do you have any support to back this up?

    I’m truly beginning to feel that I have much more pride and expectations for our country than you do.

    Good for you? I didn’t realize it was a competition. I’m not trying to prove who the Most Patriotic Canadian is. I’m not a flag-waver either. I feel fortunate to be born in Canada, sure. But I have no geographical conceit over it. I’m lucky. Had I been born in Iran, I’d be an Iranian. It’s a biological roll of the dice as far as I’m concerned.

    And the simple fact that I don’t see a purpose in improving our Tough Guy image in the world doesn’t mean I don’t love where I live. I’ve already cited the UN’s study on quality of life (interesting that the incredibly-suspect Conference Board of Canada should come up with completely different findings while saying that they “cited the UN” to come up with them) and will continue to revel in the fact that I hear from my European friends a lot more affinity and love for Canada than many other countries in the world. Socially, I’m happy with our standing. Militarily, I couldn’t care less. If that makes me less of a True Patriot than you, so be it. That’s what the GOP tells the Dems down South when they disagree, too. God Bless Canada.

    I really believe that most Canadians suffer from H.I.T.S. (Head In The Sand) syndrome, where we bury ideas and thoughts that we are just not comfortable enough to admit or acknowledge.

    Again, pretty presumptuous. I think most Canadians are humble, happy-go-lucky, and pretty happy just living day-to-day without needing to land on the moon. We mind our own business and would like our country to do the same. We enjoy life and are able to do so because of providence. Again, I don’t see a damn thing wrong with that. If you want to get Canada on the map, run for office on that platform or invent something or change some things at your local level. Just as I continue to support my values where I live by helping the homeless, supporting progressive policies like the safe injection site in Vancouver, and continuing down that path, you can support your values where you live by asking for more tanks and weapons, pouring more money we don’t have into technology we don’t need, and divorcing us from our social standing in order to win a swimming event.

    Just curious as well if you realize how much of BC is owned and operated by foreigners and specifically Chinese immigrants.

    Now you’re starting to sound like my dad. Those damn foreigners. Being that my wife is an immigrant, you’ll never hear me decry their ability or their opportunity to do, have, own, supply, and work with anything the rest of us “natural Canucks” were able to have. Immigration is a good thing and I could care less who owns what as long as it is operated responsibly and ethically to serve the public trust.

  • jeb

    I think Brad misinterpreted the tone of my last post, so as one of the random australians posting here I wanted to clear things up.

    I would never boast about our medal count. It is due partly to our climate but mostly to a coordinated olympic sports program that requires massive funding. It goes without saying that funding for sport takes taxpayers money away from other essential services and this balance is constantly assessed and argued over.

    I’ve got no doubt that all nations could achieve great olympic results if they had our means and our intent. Canada of course has the means and it seems now that you guys are getting your programs in place. Therefore don’t be surprised if come London or the olympics after to see your medal count take off. However, as this process takes place, I think you will have lose something as a nation.

    I’ve previously said that in Australia we decided that its very important that we win a lot of medals and furthermore we think its very important to how the world sees us. But doesn’t this attitude reveal a total lack of self-confidence in the things that really matter. Now don’t get me wrong – we’ve got it good with regard to lifestyle, climate, economy etc. What annoys me is that despite all this our nation still has this immature need to prove ourselves to others. This means that medal tallies mean heaps to us. And medal tallies have no correlation to anything like quality of life, military power etc. All its about is having the means and intent to fund olympic sports as I keep arguing.

    I’ve always thought that the greatest similarity between Canada and Australia is in outlook. I don’t know if this will prove this point or even make sense to say that in Australia its patriotic to be unpatriotic. By this I don’t mean we don’t love our country, but we are very suspicious of explicit displays of american style patriotism.We don’t have any respect for titles and we think all our politicians are a bunch of lying bludgers. Many people here don’t know the words to our national anthem, most think its a shit song and most people think our flag is ugly. I think its unaustralian to think that these things even matter. But these things are what the olympics are all about! What is australian is to not be sure of what australia is, how the world perceives us and to constantly question it. I think that this attitude is really healthy and it seems like Canada may have a similar traits? Just don’t think that medal tallies make the doubts go away – they only highlight them. And after all the olypics only go for two weeks every four years.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Jeb, 100% agree with your last paragraph. Well said.

  • jeb

    thanks Jordan.

    when you said that “I think most Canadians are humble, happy-go-lucky, and pretty happy just living day-to-day without needing to land on the moon” I thought that this would describe most Australians too.

  • Brad

    Hi Jeb,

    I didn’t misinterpret what you said, I was being a little sarcastic myself – but to my fellow Canadians who might read any of this.

    If any of your comments were offensive or elitist, it would be this: “I’ve got no doubt that all nations could achieve great olympic results if they had our means and our intent.” Your emphasis or repetitive use of the word “our” , seems to suggest that only Australia can achieve these things. Still, I know what you mean and respect the fact that you are speaking the truths.

    I happen to agree and feel the same apparently as many Australians do. I think it’s important how other people/countries and the WORLD perceives Canada, as small as we are. If we were as big and powerful as China or the USA, then it would seem irrelevant and a non issue to me. HOWEVER, smaller and less important countries understandably want to demonstrate and show what they can do.

    What is wrong with that thinking or ideology? This is a common and similar view that our two countries share and I’m sure you and I aren’t alone in how we feel that way.

    I’m familiar with Australia’s distrust, lack of respect and admiration for the USA. Canada also has similar negative feelings towards our southern neighbours. I myself tend to be more objective about Americans though and refuse to follow the general attitude that Canadians take towards and/or against our friends to the south.

    As imperfect and “hostile” as Americans are perceived around the world, I can’t help but admire their huge accomplishments. Another thing most Canadians won’t admit is our reliance on the USA and how important they are to our economy and general success. Canadians will often take a morally superior attitude towards the USA and I completely disagree with that.

    Our two countries DEFINITELY have our differences and conflicts, but we are tied to one another in so many ways because of history, politics, environment, border issues, trading, and very many other geopolitical reasons.

    I still believe however and without a doubt that Canada should be more assertive and not so ready to roll over and let the USA walk all over us.

    I love the Australian flag and anthem, nothing to be ashamed about there. I remember during the Olympics in Sydney, I learned that many Aussies felt that Slim Dusty’s song, “Waltzing Matilda” was more reflective of a national anthem you folks related to. Great song too by the way! :-)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brad, out of curiosity: where are you from in Canada?

  • Brad

    Near to Toronto, Ontario. :-)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Now how did I know that? (Kidding!)

  • jeb

    Brad,

    sorry for any misinterpretation.

    The last thing that I was trying to say was that only Australia can achieve anything. I was trying to say the exact opposite – that most developed nations can do great at the olympics if they think that their national self-worth is dependent upon it and make the necessary investment. I wouldn’t say that every country can do great at the olympics because not every country has the luxury, as Canada and Australia does, of financing olympic sport programs.

    There is nothing wrong with showing the world what you can do, but I think its somewhat simplistic to do this through gold medals. Remember when the eastern european countries were dominanting at the olympics. Do you think anyone in Australia thought – gee, what a great country Bulgaria is to live in because they just won another gynastic medal, I’m going to move there. (Sorry anyone in Bulgaria – I’m sure its awesome). What is wrong with having a great country and not doing well at the olympics. I’m sorry but I really don’t think that the world’s view of Canada will change if you win more medals. But I don’t know if you know how highly other nations think of you already? We all know you’ve got a great quality of life. What I like about you guys is that you just ‘get it’ in a way most people don’t. I hope Bulgarians get it.

    I’m not ashamed of our national anthem or flag. They just don’t do it for me and a lot of other people. So why don’t we change them – cause we don’t really care about these things. I’m only using the flag and anthem to show that patriotism comes in different forms. It doesn’t have to be about flag-waving. Our patriotism is connected to the landscape and is often linked with certain nihilism and a lot of self-doubt and is very implicit. I’m afraid that come olympic time we become a nation of flag wavers since winning gold medals tell us how good we are (sarcasm).

  • Brad

    Jeb said this: “I’m sorry but I really don’t think that the world’s view of Canada will change if you win more medals”

    I disagree and although such a simplistic “accomplishment” might seem irrelevant to you, me or anyone else, it’s not irrelevant overall.

    The Olympic games are viewed by many millions and yes, BILLIONS of viewers around the world. I myself only became interested in Australia after watching your country perform so well and during successive summer Olympics. When Sydney hosted the games in 2000, I really took notice. Before this, I never really thought twice about what Australia was doing or achieving. I think this makes a statement and even though I’m just one person stating my views.

    I’m sure that with any such venues or opportunities, each of our countries get noticed more than we “think” and the people of the world/other nations will quickly make an assessment or judgement about that country they are watching. That quick assessment is either positive, negative or neutral…I’d prefer to make a positive impression on the world stage to other countries and that excludes common misconceptions about my country.

    I guess I’m just too proud and competitive. I do think we are all “that” way however and if we are willing to admit it.

  • jeb

    Hi Brad,

    I understand your position. I think that when a country HOSTS the games they have an opportunity to show the world what they can do. However I’d still say that hosting the games is different to winning a lot of gold medals. Its only my view but I don’t judge a country or form a view based upon the number of golds they’ve won. For example I don’t think that Great Britain has become like a super country now that they’ve won heaps at these olympics. I view it for what it is – the result of a massive investment in their olympic sports programs. We did the same thing leading up to the Sydney games.

    With regard to you becoming interested in Australia only after we did well at the olympics – I don’t know what to say. Um thanks? I guess the funding was worth it? The flip side to the medal tally is when a country goes poorly – as Australia is tipped to do at the next olympics. Will this result in negative views of Australia – as a nation that has gone backwards? My point is that it shouldn’t.

    Say Canada wins heaps of gold medals at the London olympics should I think that its suddenly got heaps better? I know that snap judgements are made instantaneously but real understanding takes longer than looking at a medal tally.

    Can I ask what are the “common misconceptions about my country” that your afraid people have about Canada?

    Its purely my opinion but I don’t think you’ve got much to worry about in how the world views you so you shouldn’t be too hung up on winning more medals.

  • Brad

    Comparing Australia again to Canada I’m going to make an easy to understand comparison of our military spending and how the difference in spending adds up.

    In 2007 Canada’s budget for military expenditures was approximately 18 billion dollars. In contrast, Australia’s 2007 budget for their defenses/military was 22 billion dollars.

    Even adjusting for differences in currency, Australia is still spending over 3.5 billion dollars annually for defense and military costs more than Canada.

    In 2000, Sydney hosted the summer Olympic games and the cost of that venture was estimated to be around 3.5- 4 billion AU dollars. Recent estimates put it higher and closer to 5 or 5.5 billion dollars.

    So, think of this and in these terms. Australia is spending each year, approximately or nearly the equivalent of 1 summer Olympic games more than Canada does every year on their military commitments.

    Just an FYI and to show what Australia is doing above and beyond what Canada is with similar expenditures.

    Health care in Australia is pegged at 6.4% of their GDP, compared to Canada’s 6.7%, so this is very similar and in comparison to our respective populations.

    Other than health care, military and other social programs, what else can we compare and contrast to understand where each countries major financial obligations lie?

  • Brad

    Hi Jordan and everyone,

    I’m not quite sure how to include/edit my links provided above, defending my position and regarding Canada’s diminishing world clout.

    Only hope you folks can figure things out and access them in some way. I believe I’ve presented good, current and factual information that is contrary to what Jordan is suggesting.

    No offense to him, he asked for some proof and more than simply my “opinion” so I provided that.

  • Brad

    Hi Jeb,

    I feel that once a country or nation is “noticed” by others, for whatever reason; that first positive, negative or neutral impression ‘sticks’ with the observer. This is only MY opinion and how I would react. I’ve personally taken special note of Great Britain too this Olympics and because of their amazing improvements. I am fairly well versed now on what country is doing what and their past records. At this point of my life I will stand up and take more notice of something unusual or positive.

    Australia and it’s relevance has been etched into my mind now for 8 years and I don’t see this changing in the future. Your country has achieved what it wanted and successfully made your mark that got this insignificant Canadian to take notice.

    Oh well, the debate continues…we have our differences of opinion and I’m tired now.

    I keep tabs on this article and I will continue to try encourage, enlighten and inform my fellow Canadians about these things in any small way I can.

    I know I’m wasting my time, but one has to try and hope that others will listen and maybe join the “cause”. :-)

    I do also enjoy conversing with Australians and because of my “vested” interest. 😉

  • STM

    Jeb,

    You seem to be labouring under the misconception that I care about the medal tally. I don’t, especially when the poms are beating us. Most of what I have said about that stuff is a gee-up. Always pays to read the earlier posts. What I have noticed though is that Australia doesn’t try to boost itself on the medal by adding all the medals up and then claiming it’s in front – unlike the Yanks, who can’t bear to have anyone beat them. I always thought it was decided on gold medals, but not this year according to NBC, as other commentators have noted.

    I’m comfortable enough in my skin to understand that this is just sport, not a competition that will decide the well-being of the national psyche, and thus mine – as I’ve said in other posts. Just wanted to clear that up, mate:)

    And yes, I do believe that diet plays a huge role in how athletes develop, and down here, nothing’s irradiated or held for long in storage.

    I like sport, but rugby’s my go. The only thing I really care about tonight is that a) the Wallabies beat Sth Africa in Durban, and thus now head the tri-nations table, and b) it’s nearly 2am in Sydney and I’m stuck at work and want to go home for some shut-eye so I can go for a surf sometime tomorrow without my arms turning to spaghetti through exhaustion.

  • jeb

    Stm,

    Hope you caught the game last night, it was a good one.

    I’ve never thought that your hung up on medal tallies. I just wanted to give another australian perspective because I think your deluding yourself about the reasons for our olympic success. It would be great if we did well because of the reasons you claim which are a)good food b) it hardly rains here c) kids start sport at a young age. But this just isn’t the case. These things help, sure, as they give us the platform for success but they don’t give us gold medals. Perhaps they did in Melbourne ’56 but not anymore. What wins medals now is Funding. It clear that results attest to this. Does admitting this take some of the magic out of winning? Sure it does and this is why I think a country kind of loses something once they commit to a massive olympic program, like we have and like Canada will have to do if they want medals – which is what the original argument was about.

    As the olympics are finishing today, no doubt you guys in Canada will soon forget about olympic sports as we will in australia. You’ll go back to hockey and we’ll go back to footy and cricket. But in Australia we are already loading up for the london games. The AOC has already publicly stated the number of medals they want to win (55 in case your wondering) and they’ll now go to the government to request the amount of money they think they’ll need to achieve it. Most nations high on the medal tally would do something similar, no matter if the money comes private or public sources. Of course you still have to spend the money wisely but still its not very romantic is it? You literally buy medals. Look at the British track cycling – they picked a sport with a lot of medal opportunities, not much competition (Australia cleaned up in Athens) and threw millions at it. And the results are now there. You guys in Canada could do the same thing – I reckon that canoeing and kayaking (all types)are ripe for the picking – lots of medals, little real interest from most of the world. Didn’t you guys even invent canoeing? Why not pluck the biggest strongest kids out of school get them paddling, throw millions of dollars at training facilities, sports physiologists/psychologists etc and rocket up the medal tally. I personally think you’d be stupid to do it, but hey that’s all it takes. Australia does it.

    Good luck in London (and Vancouver) no matter what. catch ya

  • leo lacson

    Please stop the sour grapes!

    excuses are all we hear from mediocres.

    It’s all about the winning attitude, it’s either you have it or not.

  • STM

    Sorry Leo, me and jeb are Aussies … and mediocre, we aint.

    Well, not at sport, anyway :)

    And jeb, I agree that funding is a major factor, but the other things are factors too. I coached rugby for many years.

    Why is it that Aussie kids have a natural understanding of the game compared, say, to their British counterparts at a young age?

    They were (until recently) starting to play at a much younger age. I have seen 11-year-olds doing complicated run-around moves and pulling them off after identifying the opportunity to do so.

    When I was in the UK watching English kids of the same age play, they just didn’t have the same natural affinity for the game at that time.

    And I’ve watched 18-year-old schoolboys play at an amazing standard in the GPS firsts competition and at a pace and skill level unheard of anywhere outside Australia, NZ or Sth Africa for an ordinary schoolboys competition. These things are telling. You don’t get that good without the training – and putting in the effort for no expectation of reward apart from reaching a level of excellence.

    Winning, in other words.

    Which is what I loved about Saturday night’s game against Sth Africa :)

    One for the purists though in the first half.

  • Brad

    Thank you Richard for posting those links I provided here. I sure do appreciate the fact you listed them here at least and made them readily accessible. I also hope that you will now understand what I’ve been trying to convey all along about Canada and it’s “presence” on the world stage.

    Even though the 2008 Summer Olympics are “over” now…..my resolve hasn’t changed. I never stop thinking about these issues, but unfortunately the Canadian public does.

    I can’t change these things, I just keep hoping that my words will ring true or at least spark some curiosity or something among our citizens. I doubt it will change a thing, but I continue to try to make a statement with the things I say.

    I hope and always will that Canada will finally rise up and be the “force” it should always be; whether that force is economic, diplomatic, political, olympic or otherwise….

  • http://intersportswire.com alessandro

    “I hope and always will that Canada will finally rise up and be the “force” it should always be; whether that force is economic, diplomatic, political, olympic or otherwise….”

    Btad, join the club but I’m not hopeful.

    Remember: the 20th century was supposed to belong to Canada according to Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Instead, we’ve apathetically accepted mediocrity. There’s a reason why our best leave.

    As for sports, it does come down to money and funding. And no on a per capita basis we’re not better than the USA. I love when nationalists (who always compare us to the U.S. like insecure children. Any chance they get to bash the Americans they take it. Losers) claim this but conveniently overlook comparing ourselves to countries we happen to be “10 times” the size like New Zealand.

    A better way to measure a nation’s performance is to simply divide the number of athletes sent by the medals won. I did the numbers. USA does great whereas Canada does not.

    Given how poorly supported amateur sports is supported here (at the government, private and corporate level) it’s a miracle we win anything at all.

    As Robertson Davies once said, “Canada is a nation of losers.”

  • http://intersportswire.com alessandro

    Brad. Sorry.

  • http://intersportswire.com alessandro

    By the way #15 – bingo (344 athletes, 600 people in the COA and 18 medals and three gold to show for it? Not good enough) and I agree with MB 100%.

    Our athletes are fine. They want to win. The system needs to support them better.

  • U-S-A Dave

    How does Canada suck so hard at putting on olympic games? They make deadly bobsled tracks, don’t let people practice on them, forget how to make ice, can’t get good weather, pick poor spots for everything (halfpipe, luge, moguls, downhill, etc…) and invest a whole heck of a lot of money to get smoked by Americans again. We don’t even CARE about these sports! Ha ha.

  • zingzing

    and… yes! it’s dave winning gold for the usa in the single man douche!

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