Own the Podium a Failure?

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Al Czervic
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Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Al Czervic »

Own the Podium a Failure?

So over the years we have all heard the cries from Olympic athletes after the games were done and Canada typically underperformed. “If we just had the kind of money other countries spend we would have better results”

So the Federal Government finally agreed back in 2005 (and why not with the 2010 Olympics being held in Vancouver) to spend some serious money.

However consider the 2006 Olympic winter Games in Turin, Italy. By this point Canada had accumulated some 14 medals en route to a total of medal count of 24. So far in these 2010 games we have just 9 medals to date and we could be lucky to hit 24.

This all in spite of the $ 117 Million spent funding the “Own the Podium” Program….$ 66 Million of that amount comes directly from us taxpayers.

The Olympics are not yet over and we could very well end up exceeding our Turin, Italy medal count but this far “Own the Podium” appears to be more of a case of “blow money trying to get to the podium” with a program that does not appear to be working.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by animal lover1 »

It still comes down to money. Money is a massive motivator, and the US, Russia and several other countries actually pay cash bonuses for medals. Sponsorships and incentives are also far bigger south of the border, which attract the most elite athletes.


I never believed in the "Own the Podium" program for one simple reason-it was put in place to fund athletes already at the peak of their skills, rather than focussing on younger people with "no-names". Many of our medal hopefuls are athletes who have done well in past games (see speedskating) and past their prime.

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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by LoneWolf_53 »

My thoughts on this are that first and foremost the slogan is a very very bad choice in this age of political correctness as it smacks of arrogance something awful.

Other countries throw lots of money at their Olympians too but they just don't make a big spectacle of it.

I think the way this program gets so much attention it might well be putting unnecessary pressure on some of our athletes resulting in the exact opposite of the desired result.

Maybe off track a bit but what has really been bugging me since paying attention to curling last night is that here we toss money at Canadian athletes to get them onto the podium yet in the same breath we have Chinese (and other no doubt) athletes being trained in Canada by Canadian coaches and then they beat our Canadians???????????

Is it just me or is this completely messed up?

I mean if the whole Olympics is supposed to be this patriotic flag waving event then for goodness sakes train your curling team in China and figure out for yourselves how to do it. We did.

I think the same sort of scenario applies to other sports as well.
Last edited by LoneWolf_53 on Feb 22nd, 2010, 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by animal lover1 »

LoneWolf_53 wrote:My thoughts on this are that first and foremost the slogan is a very very bad choice in this age of political correctness as it smacks of arrogance something awful.

Other countries throw lots of money at their Olympians too but they just don't make a big spectacle of it.

I think the way this program gets so much attention it might well be putting unnecessary pressure on some of our athletes resulting in the exact opposite of the desired result.

Maybe off track a bit but what has really been bugging me since paying attention to curling last night is that here we toss money at Canadian athletes to get them onto the podium yet in the same breath we have Chinese (and other no doubt) athletes being trained in Canada by Canadian coaches and then they beat our Canadians???????????

Is it just me or is this completely messed up?



I mean if the whole Olympics is supposed to be this patriotic flag waving event then for goodness sakes train your curling team in Canada and figure out for yourselves how to do it. We did.

I think the same sort of scenario applies to other sports as well.

Excellent points..I agree with you. However, it works both ways-that speedskater who failed horribly yesterday complained that he was NOT allowed to train with Apollo Ohno for that very reason. He stated that was a major cause of his failure (then retracted it later).
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by LoneWolf_53 »

animal lover1 wrote: Excellent points..I agree with you. However, it works both ways-that speedskater who failed horribly yesterday complained that he was NOT allowed to train with Apollo Ohno for that very reason. He stated that was a major cause of his failure (then retracted it later).


So some countries are secretive and guard their athletes whereas we take the opposition in and train them by experts to beat our people? :200:

That's even more messed up than I thought. :dyinglaughing:

As far as I'm concerned that invalidates much of the cause for fanatical patriotic displays as the games are then not a true indication of a given countries OWN prowess in athletics.

Take the Aussie that was annoyed when Alexander Bilodeau won the gold yet the Aussie was Canadian born and raised and probably spent more time on those mountains than Bilodeau.

Technically in that event Canada won gold and silver to my thinking. :D
Last edited by LoneWolf_53 on Feb 22nd, 2010, 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Al Czervic
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Al Czervic »

Some excellent points from everyone so far. It’s nice to see some intelligent well thought out points instead of the usual negative bashing for a change.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by LoneWolf_53 »

You know what I really don't get here, and I could use some clarification if I'm off base as I'm certainly no Olympics expert, I thought the Olympics were intended to be a venue for non professionals? No?

For example I thought the minute figure skaters went Pro they were done with being able to compete in the Olympics.

If so why are hockey millionaires eligible?

What I'm getting at is if that's the case and the only difference being that Pro's get big bucks while amateurs get bupkiss then isn't Own The Podium sort of making these athletes Pro's?

That's why I don't feel having professional hockey players involved really makes any sense.

I suppose I'd have to understand how the money for the program gets spent/allocated as I'm assuming it goes to pay the competitors while they are preparing for competition. No?
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Cateyes »

Al Czervic wrote:Own the Podium a Failure?

So over the years we have all heard the cries from Olympic athletes after the games were done and Canada typically underperformed. “If we just had the kind of money other countries spend we would have better results”

So the Federal Government finally agreed back in 2005 (and why not with the 2010 Olympics being held in Vancouver) to spend some serious money.

However consider the 2006 Olympic winter Games in Turin, Italy. By this point Canada had accumulated some 14 medals en route to a total of medal count of 24. So far in these 2010 games we have just 9 medals to date and we could be lucky to hit 24.

This all in spite of the $ 117 Million spent funding the “Own the Podium” Program….$ 66 Million of that amount comes directly from us taxpayers.

The Olympics are not yet over and we could very well end up exceeding our Turin, Italy medal count but this far “Own the Podium” appears to be more of a case of “blow money trying to get to the podium” with a program that does not appear to be working.


Not surprisingly I don't agree with you yet again and now amazingly it's quite the opposite of the usual.

I have always supported the own the podium initiative. To give amateur athletes the chance to compete on an even playing field with other countries and all the positive spin off benefits, I think $117million is a bargain and quite affordable.

The only problem is that it has an unfortunate name. Expecting to truly "own the podium" against a country like the US which has 10 times our population was never a realistic goal. But listening to the athletes, they all say it has made a difference. Considering our relative size, I think we are doing quite well. Not just medals but the number of top 10 results.

Unlike a lot of other people, I don't put much weight on the amount of heavy metal won. To me, just qualifying for the olympics is an amazing achievement requiring sacrifices and effort most of us cannot even begin to imagine. Winning a medal or even finishing in the top 10 is just icing on the cake in the big picture.
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LoneWolf_53
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by LoneWolf_53 »

Now I just read that the Chinese aerialists are also coached by a Canadian.

Maybe Own the Podium folks should add the Chinese tally to the Canadian one for a more accurate assessment of performance? :dyinglaughing:
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Carmencat »

I have a problem with Own the Podium with regards to the stated goal for these Olympics - to be first in the overall medal standings. It is ridiculous, IMO. The U.S. is first, but they have 300 million people, ten times more than Canada's population.

On another thread it showed our standings with regards to population vs. medals won. Canada was second behind Norway. A more realistic view of how Canada has done so far, I would say.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Homeownertoo »

Population is not a significant measure of Owelympic power. Austria, Norway, Holland and Switzerland, to name a few, all have smaller pop. than Canada but have historically performed well at the winter Owelympics. At the summer Games, Australia is reguarly near the top of the heap.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by LoneWolf_53 »

Alpine countries good at skiing not exactly a big surprise.

How are they at curling, hockey, skating?

I get where you're coming from but no matter how you slice it the chances of finding gifted athletes in a pool of three hundred million is definitely going to be better than a pool of thirty million.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Logitack »

here is a different take on this topic from harv oberfeld in which he takes a different tact, blaming the media for blindly adopting the mantra "own the podium".

http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by LoneWolf_53 »

Logitack wrote:here is a different take on this topic from harv oberfeld in which he takes a different tact, blaming the media for blindly adopting the mantra "own the podium".

http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/


I think he's quite right.

All I've been hearing for ages is a bunch of hype and how many medals Canada was going to win before the games even started.

Though not an avid sports fan I do know that it's very risky not to mention a tad arrogant to assume you're going to be the best before even being put to the test.

All the competitors are the best of the best and it doesn't take but a minute little variable on the day of the event to make the difference between Gold, Silver, Bronze, or twentieth place.

I honestly feel all the hype has put our people under more pressure than necessary and since some people deal with stress better than others it is in fact entirely possible that such actions contributed to a less than desirable outcome in some cases.
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Re: Own the Podium a Failure?

Post by Homeownertoo »

LoneWolf_53 wrote:Though not an avid sports fan I do know that it's very risky not to mention a tad arrogant to assume you're going to be the best before even being put to the test.

All the competitors are the best of the best and it doesn't take but a minute little variable on the day of the event to make the difference between Gold, Silver, Bronze, or twentieth place.

I honestly feel all the hype has put our people under more pressure than necessary and since some people deal with stress better than others it is in fact entirely possible that such actions contributed to a less than desirable outcome in some cases.

You are quite correct. Watching the ice dance last night, I was particularly galled at the truly idiotic comments by the CTV commentators. Prior to our pair's final skate, we were repeatedly told that they were, in effect, destined to win gold, as if they were far superior to the rest of the chumps who were really there just to battle for bronze and silver.

When they skated, following (with the Italians in between) the stunning performance by the American duo, the commentators were uncharacteristically silent as it was clear to many people that the Canadians had turned in an inferior performance, brilliant at times but less compelling and below what was expected after witnessing the Americans. The only comment the commentators could muster was, 'it's up to the judges now'. Well put, and it certainly appeared that the Own the Podium millions were well pocketed as the judges obligingly coughed up the requisite numbers to put our pair not only on top but, totally inexplicably, beyond any hope of reach for the remaining skaters.

Then, after getting gold, was there even a hint from the commentators that, perhaps they were lucky, perhaps they had been inspired by the hometown crowd, or at least a generous word for the other medal winners. Nope, totally oblivious to the all-too obvious point that "it doesn't take but a minute little variable on the day of the event to make the difference between Gold, Silver, Bronze", and totally oblivious to the wonderful performances and abilities of several other pairs, it was, repeatedly, 'they are the best in the world now' all the way. I was so nauseated that I quit watching at that point.
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