And so begins the post-Olympic event you’ve been waiting for, when the nation sends out its best, it’s finest, its most eloquent pundits to gripe about our medal count — and demand more money to wring a few more laurels from the next Games.
“You don’t get to the podium for peanuts,” reads one Globe and Mail headline. (Regrettably, it’s disqualified from competition for jumping the gun; the Globe published it two weeks ago.)
Our Olympic officials have a natural lead, with Mark Lowry warning that “the world is leaving us behind.” And this year, competition is international: Jacques Rogge, head of the IOC, has jumped in with his own entry, a promise to push Ottawa to spend more on sports when he visits Canada.
There’s no question they’re right. Those extra tenths of a second, those few more millimetres, that additional point from the Brazilian judge all carry a high marginal cost.
But you can’t help but wonder if maybe we could invest in some better finishes for everyone. It might be that a lower medal count might allow us to have a lot more community swimming pools, skating rinks and bike tracks.
Of course, I wouldn’t mind a few more first-place finishes for Canada… but maybe in different events.
On my way into work this morning, I rode on a bus that proudly sported a decal proclaiming BC Transit’s victory as the best transit system in the world… in 1996.
It’s been almost as long since Canada last scored top marks in the United Nations Index of Human Development. C’mon, Canada — Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United freakin’ States are kicking our asses!
That podium costs money to get to, as well. And maybe it’s the one we want to mount first.