For those of you unaware, Canada spent $118 million on the "Own the Podium" program. The idea was simple. Canada would prep its athletes as best it could and they would proceed to dominate the Vancouver Games.
One problem. That hasn't happened at all.
“We’d be living in a fool’s paradise if we said we were going to catch the Americans and win,” CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee Chris Rudge said. “We’re going to be short of our goal, I’ll readily admit that.”
The US, which is having probably its best Winter Olympics ever, currently sports 24 medals - best of all nations. Canada - in fourth place - has nine.
So what the heck happened?
Well, it seems to be the burden of expectations and rather bizarre training methods.
Canadian speedskater Denny Morrison originally blamed the Own the Podium program for his 13th-place finish in the 1,000-meter speedskate because he wasn’t allowed to train with his friend Shani Davis of Team USA. Morrison later played damage control and took full blame for his result. “I was speaking with a lot of emotion,” he said.
You may also remember that the luge and many of the ski courses weren't open to non-Canadians until the Games had nearly started, with Team Canada trying to gain an edge that they haven't capitalized on.
Rudge also said the Canadian athletes’ mentality has been more aggressive. He pointed to ski cross racer Chris Del Bosco crashing with a certain bronze in his hand. Many critics have identified that wreck, brought on by a daring jump, as a casualty of Own the Podium. Rudge said that the fact Del Bosco wasn’t satisfied with bronze and was still going for silver or gold when he “crashed and burned” was a positive.
And let's not even bring up the favored men's hockey team dropping a game to the USA.
Whatever the case, Team Canada has not lived up to its own extremely bold predictions. And if you think some Canadians are pissed that their tax dollars went to a failed program, you'd definitely be right.