Sunday, August 22, 2004


And I'm not talking about the West Indies cricket team this time, I'm talking about Canada's Olympians. Ok, I'm being extreme with the losers comment since no one who is a world class competitor can be thus classified but I'm sure it caught your attention.

However, every day its the same thing with the Canadian athletes continually not living up to expectation. Canada isn't usually a track and field powerhouse but they are always in contention in sports like rowing, synchronized swimming (not a sport by the way) and ummm supposedly they are in contention in other sports like ummm I cant think of any more but they're out there I'm sure. So far Canada totals 3 medals at these Olympics; no gold, two silver and one bronze. Two of those medals are in sports that are way on the fringe in my opinion; Trampoline isn't a sport its something kids and circus performers use and synchronized diving well lets just ask what's going to be synchronized next, walking, weightlifting?

Anyway its pretty sad watching Canadian athletes, like the rowers who actually had medal hopes, explain why they didn't live up to expectations. So far, I've seen a female fencer cry, a male shotputter talk about his injury , a swimmer basically blame his teammates in the relay for their failure and this morning a rowing team, that was number one ranked in the world and failed to medal, discuss how everything fell apart on the course. The emotions displayed seemed very raw and real and I can tell that these athletes don't currently have the penchant for spinning disaster that Brian Lara seems to have mastered. But then he's had a lot of practice.

So I'm wondering why the Canadian teams are not performing well at this Olympics. This should be where the top athletes peak and you give that little extra as you are squarely in the public eye and this is the biggest and most prestigious sporting event in the world. Or maybe that's it. Maybe the Canadians are choking in the face of public expectations and being squarely in focus but compared to the US, the expectations on the Canadian athletes are nothing. Every US athlete is expected to win gold to prove American supremacy. Here no one really cares that much about these Olympics. I mean its not like its the winter Olympics or Hockey or anything important like that now is it.

So is that then the reason? Is it because of the lack of support that these sportmen are not raising the level of their performance and not medalling? Is it because Canadians in general have this nice guy thing going and are not as competitive as other countries? I have no idea.

I read an article by another unsuccessful Canadian athlete this morning who says she's not useless and she hopes the public can still love the losing athletes. Again that's some pretty raw emotion on display. One cant help but get down when losing especially when you think of the sacrifice and determination usually necessary to reach that level of performance (especially if you are drug free). Then to have to deal with the perception that you let down the public has got to just add even more to your feelings of failure.

Perdita Felicien is the Canadian track and field athlete with the most pressure on her mainly because she is the top ranked 100m hurdler at these games. Gold is expected of her. Anything less is well just not what is expected. I'm looking forward to seeing her performance. I hope she lives up to expectations but if she doesn't I wonder what the excuse will be.

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