Canadian history in its brief worldly existence has a rich heritage of national pride that comes out when our athletes are wearing the grace of our humble nation at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
The Canadian government had a plan five years ago that would enable our athletes to excel for the first time ever at home. Canada hosted the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal and the 1989 Winter Olympics in Calgary and our athletes never won a gold medal at home.
The Canadian Olympic Committee along with the help of the Federal government has been helping Canadian athletes bear the burden of competing at the highest level in sport.
The Federal government gave Canadian athletes about 117 million over the last five years in what they called “own the podium”, placing expectations on our athletes to rise to the top of the medal standings at this year’s Winter Games.
Perhaps the mistake the COC made was promising 35 million Canadians that come the end of the Games, Canada would sit on top of the standings.
It was an acceptable goal for our athletes to reach as Canada finished the 2006 Games in Turin just one medal shy of the United States, but not everything always goes according to plan.
Canada wants to be on top of the medal standings, but there are other reasons why Canadians can feel proud of their athletes. Not only did our athletes break that jinx of never having won a gold medal on home soil, but right now the Canadian team has won 13 gold medals and could have 15 by the end of the Games, so in a way, Canadian athletes are owning the top of the podium.
The 13 gold medals ties an all-time record with the former Soviet Union for the most gold medals in either the summer or winter Olympics. It’s also the most gold medals ever won by a host nation.
Canada should feel proud of our athlete’s gold medal performances. Canadian athletes are making a bold statement by winning more gold than silver or bronze and appear to not be willing to settle for anything less than the best.
Silver and Bronze medals are wonderful, but they just don’t compare to being number one, winning gold and hearing thousands of Canadians sing Oh’ Canada as the athlete cup’s the gold medal in their hands and tries to take a bite to see if it’s real. It’s real alright and the pleasure from watching is a surreal moment in itself.
By winning gold in Vancouver, Canadian athletes won’t be on top of the medal standings, but their performances will inspire the next generation of Canadian athletes to climb to the top of the podium.