Posted by: Andrew | February 21, 2010

Buy the Podium

“Buy the Podium” is a little joke between Light of My Life and myself, and just means going grocery shopping.

The Canadians, tired of finishing fourth in lots of sports, decided to target specific sports and fund them well. Most of the other nations who want to win Olympic medals do the same. Usually, however, they don’t choose a name like “Own the Podium”, but call it something a little more innocuous. The problem with “Own the Podium” isn’t in the aspiration or the method of building up successful teams and athletes, it’s the name!

Headline in the Star Phoenix “groan the podium”; one of the BBC commentators “Moan the Podium” (after the Canadian complaint about Amy Williams winning Gold in the Skeleton). The other problem is what do you do if the program fails to deliver? Change it to “Lease the podium on a temporary basis”?
The strategy looks like it will not achieve the objective of more medals than any other nation, mostly because the US have performed much better here than many other nations and so have proportionally far more medals than they got in Turin. However, the program might well give a greater medal total to Canada than in previous games, which, for a small population base, would be good.

The British approach has actually been very similar to the Canadians. As we don’t have the climate for most of the sports, we’ve concentrated most resources in areas where we might stand a chance. This means curling and bobsledding. The curling does not look good right now, as the men lost to Canada in a close match yesterday, and need to win all their remaing matches to qualify. The gold medal in skeleton is a direct result of resourcing promising athletes with a good support staff, training and technology. We don’t even have a bobsled track in the UK!


  1. In the aftermath of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games here in Vancouver, there is much talk about a renewed Canadian patriotism. Spontaneous bursts of O Canada in the streets, red wearing and flag waving were staples of the Games. Now that they are over, where does it leave us?

    [Click for full article]

    • Absolutely nothing wrong with Canadians being patriotic at all. I’d suggest continuing with an “Own the Podium” type programme, but maybe calling it something a little more discrete! That’s what most other countries do. after all.

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