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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Who I Think Killed Michael Jackson, What About You?

Ever since Michael Jackson died, it seems everyone has been wanting to find out who killed him. Lots of people have also been putting out theories. It seemed someone had to have killed Michael. It wouldn’t seem right otherwise. It wouldn’t be right otherwise. The final piece of Michael’s legacy had to be tragic, rather than taboo that he had somehow killed himself, inadvertently or intentionally. The latter would be especially damning. Can you imagine how differently we would think of James Dean, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye or John Lennon if they had committed suicide instead of dying, whether at their own hands in a risky activity or someone else’s hands? Seems our Western society, at least, likes our story book endings, whether the story ends on a good tone or not. If someone is gone before their time, we want to add a little something dramatic about it rather than possibly admit a less than glamorous truth. To me, you can be as legendary as whoever, if you want to be driving sports cars you can handle beyond what you can handle, or seek bigger highs from heavier dosages of drugs all the time, stupidity is part of your legacy, in my eyes… along with your endearing traits to push the envelope.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

In Michael Jackson’s case, with complete autopsy results not yet available at the time of this posting, it seems people are trying to put the blame on someone to save Michael’s legacy. One of Michael’s doctor’s office just got raided and he seems to be the prime target for “letting” Michael die, if not having killed Michael himself. But in not yet having some official results, we can also speculate Michael having a hand in his death, and that’s where I come in.

I think Michael Jackson committed suicide.

I think he realized he was not going to be able to put on a show like he used to in this farewell tour of his, and decided to drop while he was still the King of Pop instead of bowing out as the King of Flop.

Michael danced at a very high level while in his prime. Now 50, without the conditioning sustained — nor probably the practice cause it wasn’t all natural, you know — over the years, I doubt very much he could still put on the same show. How many people do you know who performed at a high level of physical activity in their 20s and can still do it without the maintenance work over the years? Unlike singing, where you can lip sync your way through your old material, Michael can’t groin sync through his past dance moves. I also doubt he would have had the stamina to go through a full show, never mind the 50 he was reluctant to do. He only wanted to do 12 shows or so, I believe it was said. Michael would probably have been good at the shows, as I think he is that good to still be good at less than 100%. However, I think he would most certainly have disappointed many attending who would have been expecting legendary… even with allowance for pity he wasn’t what he was in his prime.

Let’s face it. Michael’s career was legendary up to its peak, but the rest is one of shame aside from the momentary lapse of fame. There is a tragedy to it all, but I think that tragedy ended with him, in his hands, in shame, rather than at the hands of another who could be blamed so as to martyr his legacy.

Ironically, what pop culture seems to fail to see is what every culture knows to be true… that among the greatest tragedy which can happen to a person is when s/he decides the gift of life given to him/her is no longer worth living. Why do you think suicide is so taboo in so many cultures and religions? There is the concept of an honourable death, practiced by the samurai, mafia and certain other cultures, but I’m not sure they’d think of committing suicide because you can’t dance like you used to is just reason for an honourable death. I hope they would know it was about living up to expectations of the masses, though, rather than just the dancing.

But that’s all just my opinion. How un-Canadian of me to have one! What’s yours?

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.1

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