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“Own the Podium”? Why bother?

2010 February 3
by John Palmer

The 2010Winter Olympics will soon begin in Vancouvre, BC, and environs. In the media build-up that is taking place in Canada, we are beginning to hear more about a programme called “own the podium”, embodying the goal of some politicians, athletes, and bureaucrats for Canadian athletes to win more gold medals than the athletes of any other country.

Alan Adamson is distressed by this programme:

Why should my taxes pay to support aspiring athletes? This simply seems absurd to me. We have an idiotic program called ‘Own the Podium’ – apparently the government’s goal is for Canada to score magnificently at the Olympics. This for a country of 30 million against countries with a lot more people, and also some, like Norway and Austria, with a lot fewer people, but a lot more fundamental and historical excellence than Canada has ever managed. …

What is the point? A gold medal is useless to me unless I win it, and if I want it, I can decide to train for it. There are real rewards, and lots of people with crazy dreams and a poorly developed sense of reality will train to win gold medals. But why should I pay?

I think we need to change ‘Own the Podium’ to ‘Let the Podium Go to Those Who Care Enough to Spend Their Own Money and Time and not Take away any of Mine’. That is of course too simple for the CBC or likely for our government.

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