A great as the Vancouver Olympics have been on so many levels, it seems like the Canadian athletes were set up to fail. A campaign with the slogan ‘Own the Podium’ has been blasted at the Canadian population for months now.
Here is part of an op ed in Tuesday’s Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Feb. 22, 2010.
As Jean Chrétien might say, nervous Nellies, relax. Canada’s men’s hockey team is coming together. It has talent and is playing with pride. The world is not going to end today when Canada plays Germany to qualify for the Olympic medal round. Canada will win, setting up a nail-biting quarter-final tomorrow against a fantastically talented Russian team. The world will not end at least until then. And possibly not even then.
It would be terribly ironic if the Own the Podium Olympics, the games that were supposed to mark a cultural shift emphasizing Canadian excellence, resulted in its opposite, a loss of faith in the verity that, come what may on the slopes, Canadians excel in hockey. That verity has survived the reality that, in the three Olympics since professional players were allowed in, Canada has won just one gold in men’s hockey. (It also won the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, for those who are keeping score.)
It seems to be second nature in sports, and life, to set the bar at a level that will more often bring failure. Why? Have we been conditioned to do this? Are we creating more losers than winners? You bet we are!
Why not prepare the best we can, utilize the resources and talents available as best we can, then accept the results for what they are. Overachieving is good. Surpassing expectations is a good thing too. Neither result belongs in the loss column.
Let’s keep results in perspective, enjoy the experience, and applaud the effort.