Having had the time to let things settle, it’s easier to take an objective look at the status of Olympic sport in this country.
For most of the two weeks in China the consensus was that Canada was having an awful Games. We were underachieving, lacking in ambition and desire. Although a second week comeback eased the pain a bit, there was little doubt. Something Must Change.
But was that analysis fair? Is the status of the so-called amateur sports in this country as bad as most think? It’s hard to gage, especially when you consider two important factors.
First of all, Canada is located directly above the world’s richest and most successful country in terms of pure medals. It doesn’t matter how hot the bridesmaid is – when you are at the wedding everyone is still going to look at the bride. In our sports media and outlook the U.S. always will wear the white.
Secondly Canada is one of the few countries that equally divides its Olympic resources between both the winter and summer games. If you are going to look at the whole, look at the whole. And if you consider that Canucks have captured 10 golds, 19 silvers and 13 bronze in Turin and Beijing—the current Olympic period—it suddenly seems a little silly that we were standing on the ledge less than two weeks ago.
That’s not to say there isn’t ways to improve. Too many of Canada’s medals come in sports with a small depth of field, for instance, and too many Canadian world champions fail to convert. But, let’s try and keep things in full perspective. Below the jump a couple different ways to look at the medal count that might make you reconsider your position on Canadian sport.
Traditional medal standings, combined Turin and Beijing:
Total medal count, combined Turin and Beijing:
Per capita medal standings, combined Turin and Beijing (population per medal):