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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:56 pm
 


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Canada is not alone in turning self-flagellation into an Olympic sport.

The Great White North's 14-medal showing in London 2012 thus far is essentially in line with how it normally does in the recent Summer Olympics. Canada won 18 medals in Beijing in 2008, 12 in Athens in '04 and 14 in Sydney in 2000. Athletes, coaches and amateur sports officials, of course, should always strive for more, but at the same time, water finds its own level. If there is an issue, it's only having one gold medal, from Rosie MacLennan in trampoline. Is there an extra edge that could have changed the colour of those bronzes and silvers?

It's not a disappointing showing. You just can't convince anyone who got swept up in the blind hype that precedes every Olympiad of it; for every sober assessment of Canada's likely medal haul, there are five So-and-So Hopes To Contend. In other words, one person's conclusion that someone "disappointed" is often just a case of where an athlete fulfilled her/his expectations but not the ones inculcated by the media. If it's any consolation, Canada is not alone among countries who see their Olympic showing is a major downer.

Germany — Wait, what? The fatherland is cleaning up in canoe-kayak and rowing, where it was responsible for limiting Adam van Koeverden and Canada's men's eight to silver medals (which felt like gold, incidentally). However, Germany's showing of 32 medals (seven gold) is below its normal standard.

Germany got shut out in swimming, which prompted one of its former champions to make "the rather questionable suggestion, particularly from a German perspective, that the sport 'needs a dictator' to drag it out of its 'developing country' status."

Eep.

There have even been suggestions Germany's world-renowned education system inhibits the development of Olympic champions. Did they happen to notice Japan, where schooling is plenty rigorous, is right behind them with 29 medals?

Australia — As previously related in this space, the Aussies are apoplectic over a slide down the medal tables, even though their five golds are good for 11th in the medal tables. The swimming program is being reviewed. There's a push to better use the money allocated for sport. Keeping coaches from quitting the country for better-paying gigs in other countries has also become an issue (if Australia is anything like Canada, someone probably wrote about this before the Games, and almost no one paid attention). But really, Australia's showing is fairly decent on the whole; from here it looks like he country's just a little too spoiled by its past performance.

They also aren't happy with Canadians noticing it. That's based on an anonymous Aussie e-mail suggestion I just received to "go back in your ice cave" and do something anatomically impossible.

Far be it to say it's pretty arrogant to believe that other countries aren't allowed to even notice Australia's unhappy with its athletes' showing?

India — In men's field hockey, India is kind of like the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish in college football: a fallen powerhouse trapped in its own past. The country used to dominate the sport, but went 0-5 in London. Cue the public shaming of the players; there is still some semblance of having national identity riding on the team's fortunes.

Of course, this is not exactly new. India hasn't won the event since 1980. As The Guardian notes, the South Asian country "have been struggling to stay competitive since synthetic turfs, not prevalent in India, were introduced in the 1970s." There probably are economic reasons for this, but it does speak to the need to swing with the times or get left behind.

Kenya — The running powerhouse, coming off six goals and 14 medals overall in 2008, has just one gold and five total. Asbel Kiprop, the men's 1,500 champ in Beijing, was unable to medal on Tuesday and Kenya was shut out, leading to a headline, "1500m collapse exposes Team Kenya rot."

That same report noted that Kiprop was injured. Kenya is famous (or infamous) for the rigorous training its developing runners go through. It's a survival of the fitting thing, with a very high attrition rate. Is burnout finally catching up to them? Incidentally, there was even controversy surrounding Kenya's one gold medal: team officials were mad that steepchase king Ezekiel Komboi went home after his race, essentially blowing off a meeting with the prime minister.

United States — The U.S. will always be up there in the medal standings because its sports industry is too big to fail. But when one does the breakdown on the source of the medals, it sticks out like a sore thumb that Uncle Sam has zero male track and field gold medallists so far. This, from the country which ruled men's sprinting and hurdling: Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Bullet Bob Hayes, Jesse Owens.

That's led to American columnists poking fun at the country's collective soft midsection, writing, as Mark Kiszla did, "The American male has turned into Mr. Couch Potato. The only way we're going to win a sprint is if it's to the fridge for another beer. Is there any way we could turn the 200 meters into a video game?"

It might not be that, though. The NCAA was once a great incubator for American track-and-field talents. But America's love of pro sports and its growing income inequality has likely had a hand in many would-be track stars pursuing a basketball or football scholarship. There aren't as many scholarships available in track, thanks to colleges' focus on the 'revenue sports.' Of course, the U.S. is faring better in distance events. A lot of countries would love to have silvers in the 1,500 an 10,000 metres.

This isn't meant to mock any of the other nations while hiding in an ice cave. The point is that feeling let down by the country's Olympic athletes is universal, not an expression of an inferiority complex.


http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-gam ... #more-6705


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:30 pm
 


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United States — The U.S. will always be up there in the medal standings because its sports industry is too big to fail. But when one does the breakdown on the source of the medals, it sticks out like a sore thumb that Uncle Sam has zero male track and field gold medallists so far. This, from the country which ruled men's sprinting and hurdling: Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Bullet Bob Hayes, Jesse Owens.


All black guys. Maybe track and field just isn't so interesting to the best black athletes these days when they can make more money at football and basketball.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:44 pm
 


BartSimpson wrote:
Quote:
United States — The U.S. will always be up there in the medal standings because its sports industry is too big to fail. But when one does the breakdown on the source of the medals, it sticks out like a sore thumb that Uncle Sam has zero male track and field gold medallists so far. This, from the country which ruled men's sprinting and hurdling: Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Bullet Bob Hayes, Jesse Owens.


All black guys. Maybe track and field just isn't so interesting to the best black athletes these days when they can make more money at football and basketball.


Yeah and NASCAR......oops. Maybe not that one.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:57 pm
 


Gunnair wrote:
Yeah and NASCAR......oops. Maybe not that one.


I've just never seen black folks as being into cars like the Southerners are. Of the black folks I've known over the years every last one of them has had a car that is shiny and clean on the outside, smells kind of funky on the inside, and under the hood looks like a toxic waste dump.

We had a next door neighbor, Bayron, who had some sort of Japanese import microcar and it was running like s*it and I did a tune-up on it and he was frickin' amazed at what I was doing as if it were some sort of wizardry. And then when the car ran fine after that he was amazed yet again.

All I did was plugs, wires, and a new distributor cap.

So, yeah, I don't see too many urban black folks getting into NASCAR unless they grow up in the car and motorhead culture.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:30 pm
 


Why be disappointed? We are on par for how we usually perform at the summer games. Sure, more golds would be great but that's the way it goes when other countries also have great athletes competing. Be happy for those athletes who have accomplished what they have in an honest manner (as in no doping) and did their best.

I'm shocked to see the USA on that "downer" list. They are right up there 1-2 with China for total medals. So, they are not excelling in track events, they are obviously doing well in other events. No reason to be disappointed at all IMO.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:08 am
 


It's one guy's opinion just trying to divert attention from the fact we suck at this. Really we're not doing too bad as far as being in 12th place goes, at leas Slovenia (or what have you) and Kazakhstan aren't whipping our butts anymore. It would be nice to see us get a few more gold medals tho, not always come in 3rd and then do our typical Canadian thing how we're so satisfied with that. Like Whitfield crashing as he starts off on his bike - I mean come on. Typically Canadian.

I don't care about the Olympics. I just hate the way we hype ourselves up before them and then do the sour grapes thing when we perform as per usual.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:31 am
 


andyt wrote:
I just hate the way we hype ourselves up before them and then do the sour grapes thing when we perform as per usual.


That's my biggest beef as well. I don't mind how our athletes are doing, but to have a press suggesting that so-and-so is a medal threat and they end up nowhere near the podium does get tiring. :?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:45 am
 


2Cdo wrote:
andyt wrote:
I just hate the way we hype ourselves up before them and then do the sour grapes thing when we perform as per usual.


That's my biggest beef as well. I don't mind how our athletes are doing, but to have a press suggesting that so-and-so is a medal threat and they end up nowhere near the podium does get tiring. :?

Like that woman boxer I saw reported on every day for 2 months before the olympics, then every 30 minutes when the olympics started.

1 match, 1 loss... you're out.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:49 am
 


raydan wrote:
Like that woman boxer I saw reported on every day for 2 months before the olympics, then every 30 minutes when the olympics started.

1 match, 1 loss... you're out.


I didn't want to say it but she was exactly the example I was thinking of. :lol:


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