August 14, 2012

Was this an Olympics to be proud of, Canada?

by Dan Bilicki In: Olympics

The London Olympic Games have now come and gone, giving us an incredible two-plus weeks of thrilling sporting excitement. There were many ups, but very few downs in general. Fears of a terrorist attack were unfounded, there were no serious injuries and many of the problems with traffic and transportation didn’t materialize – or at least weren’t reported that much.

Pretty much everything that could went right for London and Team GB – penalty shootout aside for the soccer team.

So what’s there to complain about? Well that depends on how you feel about bronze medals.

Don’t get me wrong: Being the third-best person in the world at something is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just that expectations were much higher than third place for some of these events.

The very fact that Canada was good enough to reach the podium 18 times is great, but it turned out to two trips short of the goal to finish 12th overall in overall medal standings. In fact, Canada set a record for most medals while winning only one gold.

So, are you happy with finishing third 12 more times than first? Because I’m not so sure that I am.

But I do offer my most sincerely congratulations to every Canadian athlete who represented our great country. Let’s build on our successes and learn from failures before Rio 2016.

Some final Olympics thoughts:

-The absolute pride of the Olympics for Canada should be the women’s soccer team. To go through the heartbreaking loss in the semifinals and then pull it together with a clutch win after being dominated by France was truly amazing. This might be an unpopular opinion, but that bronze that those girls won is worth more than any women’s ice hockey medal we’ve ever won.

-What was the most boring sport of the Olympics? Well, despite Canada’s success in it, diving takes the cake. Watching 20 people do six dives each that all look pretty much the same can bore you to tears. The scoring felt really hard to understand as well.

-There’s no way to answer the question of Bolt vs. Phelps. It’s the quintessential apples vs. oranges debate. Many will say that Phelps is better because he has more medals, but it’s not like Bolt can run the same distance race in different styles. Bolt is the greatest Olympic track athlete ever. Phelps is the greatest swimmer ever. End the debate there.

-The “Really, this is an Olympic sport?” has to be BMX. I thought that this was what the X Games was for. I’m not complaining about its inclusion too, but why isn’t skateboarding given consideration then? Snowboarding halfpipe is a winter Games event, so why not skateboard halfpipe?

-Something tells me Rio 2016 won’t be as great as London 2012. There’s a language barrier, infrastructure problems and a lot of security concerns. Hopefully these issues can be solved in time. At least World Cup 2014 will help the country prepare for the world’s attention.

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