Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 3, 2010
That podium isn’t cheap
All that gold — and silver and bronze — seemed so shiny and bright on Sunday afternoon and evening. Outfitting ourselves in flags, toques, Team Canada hockey jerseys, “mad-trapper” hats, curling sweaters and the famous red mittens never seemed so, well, patriotic.
Close to 99 per cent of Canadians, according to a poll, say they were pleased with our athletes’ performance. The hockey final broke TV-watching records and the closing ceremonies didn’t come far behind.
The wave of national pride — “I’ve never felt more proud to be a Canadian” was the somewhat hyperbolic theme — is still rippling across the country. The pride is a direct consequence of Canadian athletes’ performance and 26-medal count at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. And that is a direct consequence, by almost all accounts, of the five-year, $117-million Own The Podium program.
But only days after the Olympic flame was extinguished, many Canadians are already hemming and hawing over how much money they want to put toward continuing Own The Podium.
Leading up to Vancouver, Canadian taxpayers put in $66 million; the rest came from the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), corporate sponsorships, the B.C. government, and national Olympic and Paralympic committees. It is hard to dismiss the argument Canada “bought” its Olympic success. A less cynical view might be Canada finally invested in its amateur athletes and got good results. Either way, it is clear, world-beating athletes come at a cost. (Hamilton Spectator)