Thursday, August 19, 2004

Question

What do Serbia-Montenegro, the United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe and Azerbaijan have in common?



They're all ahead of Canada in the Athens medal standings. We're currently in a tie with such powerhouses as Columbia, Mongolia, Slovenia, and Trinidad & Tobego. I know Trinidad & Tobego has the benefit of drawing athletes from both Trinidad and from Tobego but still... If we can't beat Mongolia, something is seriously wrong.


As it sits, the federal government pumps 90 million a year into Amateur Sport. Can you imagine what doubling this amount would do? Our atheletes would get the support they need to excel. With the Vancouver games fast approaching, now is the time to invest. How many billions will be spent on the 2010 Olympics? Surely, a 90 million dollar bump to the funding of amateur atheletes is feasible. So much money is spent on protecting Canadian culture yet isn't sport a part of Canadian culture? Donovan Bailey, Nancy Greene, Simon Whitfield...these are Canadian icons because of the Olympics. It's ridiculous that the government doesn't do more to ensure more icons are created in the future. Especially when you consider how small 50 or 100 million dollars is for a federal budget and how much of a difference it would make.


Or we can keep losing to Zimbabwe. The choice is ours.


8 Comments:

  • To play the curmudgeon for a moment...

    Why should the government be investing in Olympic-quality amateur sport in the first place? $90 million isn't much, but how much is invested in amateur poetry or amateur farming? Will winning more Olympic medals make this country better in some way? Surely we can develop Canadian icons through professional sports, which people tend to pay attention to every year rather than every four years. Canadians only care about most Olympic sports while the Olympics are being held. After that, we quickly forget.

    If more money is to be directed to amateur sport the money would be better spent on providing adequate facilities for all (or most) Canadians than on world class facilities and training for a handful of world class athletes. It would be more egalitarian and, if Canadians could be encouraged to get more exercise, would be much more beneficial to our overall health.

    Also, there are cheaper ways to get medals - get new sports into the Olympics that only Canadians play. I'm sure there are some Inuit sports we excel at but aren't getting medals for... If doing this would push our medal count higher would you be happy? If not, then why focus on the medal count in the first place?

    Of course, we are already doing fine in the only Olympics worth watching - in 2002 we finished fifth overall in the medal standings. There may be room for improvement here, but doubling current funding levels is not a pressing need.

    And this is without even addressing the corruption and politics of the modern Olympics...

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at 12:01 AM  

  • Valid points. Maybe we should just funnel our money into finding better masking agents for steroids. Or buying off judges. There are a lot of ways it could be spent.

    I do get the sense that a lot of money is spent on poetry, the arts and other "cultural" things although I don't have an exact figure.

    I do think there are perks to doing well. Seeing atheletes succeed encourages kids to take up sports which keeps them in shape. And a lot of the Olympic training facilities can be used by the public - I've been to the Olympic Oval a few times over the past year.

    I just think International Sport is a good way to bring people together and raise our international prestige.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:01 PM  

  • Valid points. Maybe we should just funnel our money into finding better masking agents for steroids. Or buying off judges. There are a lot of ways it could be spent.

    I do get the sense that a lot of money is spent on poetry, the arts and other "cultural" things although I don't have an exact figure.

    I do think there are perks to doing well. Seeing atheletes succeed encourages kids to take up sports which keeps them in shape. And a lot of the Olympic training facilities can be used by the public - I've been to the Olympic Oval a few times over the past year.

    I just think International Sport is a good way to bring people together and raise our international prestige.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:01 PM  

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