Blown the Podium Campaign Introduced by Canadian Olympic Committee

Monday, Feb 22 2009

The new BLOWN the Podium Logo

With seven days of Olympics competition remaining, the Canadian Olympic Committee has introduced the Blown the Podium campaign after conceding Canada will not achieve its Own the Podium campaign goal of finishing first overall in the medal count.

COC CEO Chris Rudge said “we are going to be short of our goal” at the team’s daily news briefing.

Canada entered Monday with9 medals (4G-4S-1B), tied for fourth with South Korea. It is far behind the United States at 24. Germany was second with 17, followed by Norway with 12. Canada is even behind its pace in Turin 4 years ago when it had 13 medals at this point in the games. Canada finished with 24 medals then, third overall and its best winter Olympics showing ever.

Considering the US has 24 medals now, and it is uncatchable, Canada is not going to even reach its Turin performance!

So much for the ambitious Own the Podium campaign introduced 5 years ago.

Introduced on a “feeling” that the Canadian team needed to aim high and capture the imagination of the Canadian public, Canada showed a great start with the best winter Olympics showing in 2006 just a year after the campaign started. This was with the men’s hockey debacle. However, whatever projection data the COC had in hand prior to this Olympics, it wasn’t accurate. Its star athletes have hardly stepped up so far, while a few it overlooked for sponsorship and media attention stepped up big time.

Regardless, this program which saw $117 million invested in athletes, $66 million of which was taxpayer dollars, will fail miserably in the outcome. It has even caused frustration and complaints among some. Long track speed skater Denny Morrison, who wasn’t even close in his 2 potential medals, stated his training went downhill after his rival and training partner Shani Davis was banned from training with him in Calgary due to Own the Podium restrictions (CTV, Feb 20). It was a sort of “don’t train in Canada” version of “buy Canadian”. Whether you believe Denny or not, losing a training partner that pushes you to your best can’t be good for your training. Furthermore, Shani Davis agreed. Davis met Morrison in Calgary just before Turin and made Morrison rise in the world rankings quickly.

Norwegian skier Aksel Svindal also said the program did Canadians a disservice by preventing him from training with the Canadian alpine team on the Whistler slopes, as he’d done in the past. Aksel won gold in the super G, and claimed to be faster in the middle of the course than any competitor, something he said the Canadian skiers could have benefited in training from his knowledge.

Ouch!

The Blown the Podium campaign will have the French name of Pas Nous le Podium, correctly translated or not because at this point, the COC doesn’t care much. About the campaign, of course, not about the French language. Even on such a meaningless thing, to leave the French out of it would be upset the French community who has already whined incessantly about how there wasn’t enough French in the opening ceremony! (CTV Feb 15)

I hope they complained in French because it would have been hypocritical for them to do so in English. The way I understood it, there was a greater percentage of French in the ceremonies than French Canadians of the French population, and that makes me plenty satisfied they got their fair share.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.6

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Did Evgeni Plushenko’s Mouth Cost Him the Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medal versus Evan Lysacek?

Evgeni Plushenko mid-jump

UPDATE:
Canadian Olympic silver medallist and former world champion figure skater Elvis Stojko wrote an article trashing the Olympics’ men figure skating results
called The Night They Killed Figure Skating. It pretty much sums up my sentiments. But who was I to say such a thing? Thanks for setting the record straight, Elvis! You tell them! They had the ultimate showman back on ice and they’re going to drive him away for more pansies to be competing. Some people just can’t get over how insignificant they are, you know? Pity the sport. Evgeni was very diplomatic in defeat at the podium ceremonies, though. A showman to the last moment.

Also, see my follow up post after watching the ladies’ free skate:

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After the men’s figure skating short program, Evgeni Plushenko was in the lead and said something to the extent that the future of men’s figure skating was in the quad, or quadruple jump. The story went through the press as a challenge to all male figure skaters’ manhood if they did not do quads in their programs, as he vowed to be a man among boys. (CTV News, Feb 17 2010)

Without a quad it’s not men’s figure skating.
— Evgeni Plushenko, three-time world champion and 2006 Winter Olympics Champion

Well, tonight, in the long program, Evgeni did a very difficult quad-triple combination, and was still beaten by the American Evan Lysacek, who did not do a quad jump.

The difference was Lysacek had a lot of elements piled up in the second half of his program where they had 10% more value. Evgeni and Evan actually had the same “component” score for elements in their program. Shockingly, Lysacek beat Plushenko in the technical component despite Evgeni having piled up points for his quad-triple axle combination. Evgeni had a full minute without jumps to finish up his program. Both skaters were nearly flawless otherwise.

Lysacek finished a point ahead of Plushenko, with Evan getting 257.67 and Evgeni getting 256.36 points.

Scoring systems and all, some of it is still human judgment, and I can’t help but think that if Evgeni had kept his mouth shut, he might have gotten gold. You can’t look at his comment on the future of skating just as an insult just to the skaters like the media did. Who do you think judges the event and truly determines the future of figure skating? Some people seriously need to get over themselves!

All and all, though, what a night of brilliant skating!

Daisuke Takahashi won bronze with a distant 247.23 points, but was the first Japanese man to end up on the men’s figure skating podium at the Olympics.

Patrick Chan of Canada, who I’m not a particular fan of, I must say, finished 5th. Maturity and charisma wise, he was literally a boy among men.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.0

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