Own The Podium Should Have Under Promised and Over Delivered

olympicsOwn the Podium was ambitious. From the official Own the Podium site, here's the primary goal of Own the Podium for the 2010 Olympic games.

Place first in the total medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Heading into these Olympic games, we heard often from the Own the Podium people. Our goal was to finish first. Canadians started to believe the hype and collectively, we raised our expectations. Own the Podium over promised, and they will under deliver.

Let's take a look at the current medal standings.


There are four nations ahead of us, and two of them, United States and Germany, are more than doubling us. Even though Canada will have several great medal opportunities this week, we will not own the podium. We will miss our lofty goal, and this has many Canadians down on our efforts this month in Vancouver.

Canada won 24 medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. That was the best we ever did. A wiser goal for VANOC would have been to top that mark, even though that's looking less and less likely with each passing day.

With ten medals, every other article and news story about these games is centered around our failure to finish first in the medal count. This disappointment is the direct result of Own the Podium's fatal error. They over promised and raised expectations to an unrealistic level. And now that we're under delivering, everyone's in a huff.

Don't blame Canada, blame Own the Podium.


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Comments (15 - click here to join in!)


Um, no one really cares about that. Own the Podium was good at pumping us up either way, and no one's really disappointed.

People here in Vancouver are way too happy to care! We're just happy to be able to appreciate the medals we have already =)

February 23, 2010 @ 3:38 PM


I'd put Canada above Russia in that chart. Total medals is all well and good but Canada has five golds to Russia's two but only one bronze to Russia's six.

February 23, 2010 @ 3:47 PM


Errr, forgot to finish my thought. Germany is three times as large as Canada population wise and the US is creeping up on being 10x as large as Canada.

February 23, 2010 @ 3:48 PM


Hey Mike,

Agree w/ Vivian, does anyone actually care about the "Own the Podium" program and did anyone believe Canada would achieve it?

Never once did I actually think Canadian would beat the U.S. and other Olympic "superpowers" in medal standings - even just based on pure population alone. To me, the big goal was "gold on Canadian turf" which our athletes have come through in spades.

I believe the most gold medals Canada has ever won at a Winter Olympics is 7 - and we could quite possibly exceed this in 2010! What an absolutely amazing accomplishment!

Agree - VANOC is to blame here, but in my opinion that lofty goal wasn't taken seriously by anyone but VANOC and the press looking for a new Olympic story angle.

February 23, 2010 @ 3:55 PM


Cortney and Vivian - I'm disappointed. The governing bodies in this country did our athletes a huge dis-service. They've created the atmosphere where the program is viewed as a failure and a waste of tax dollars.

Mike - while VANOC should be blamed, they're not alone and shouldn't be centred out. OTP is made up of members from the VANOC, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

The COC is really where we should direct our displeasure.

February 23, 2010 @ 4:31 PM


"..not alone and shouldn't be centred out."

That's my main complaint with these Games. There wasn't one person who appeared to step up and "wear the Daddy pants". When the '84 Los Angeles Games are praised, it is very often attributed to Peter Ueberroth.
We've had multiple problems arise across the board with these Vancouver Games. One or two will merely happen and how they are expediently solved should be respected. Instead we are having daily after-the-fact not-me finger pointing about everything under the sun.

February 23, 2010 @ 5:11 PM


Apparently the IOC determines the "winner" of the Olympics based on Gold Medal count alone.

With today's win by McIvor Canada's only one gold out of being tied for first.

February 23, 2010 @ 5:32 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

The relationship between VANOC and Own the Podium is a little confusing... I've edited the entry so it doesn't look like VANOC is OTP.


As host organizing committee of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has committed, through its sponsors, to raise half of the $110 million required to help support Canadian athletes' quest for the podium. These sponsors have in turn committed to building innovative programs to support Canada's athletes and coaches leading up to 2010.
February 23, 2010 @ 5:55 PM


Any money left for 2012 & 2014 Olympics?

Agree Canada has won medals from those who we didn't think would & those that were "sure bets" didn't step it up.

There used to be a point structure for overall for placing in top 10 overall. I haven't seen this for a while.
Proud Canadian considering population vs. other countries.

February 23, 2010 @ 6:51 PM


Maybe they should have come up with a cheer, so that Canadians would finally be given a way to express their love for their medals?

Seriously, though, I never liked this "Pwn the Podium" thing (which is how I pictured it anytime someone said it). Being boastful pre-achievers isn't how I think of my Canadian athletes. We don't go around shouting "We're going to OWN you, world!"

At every Canadian Gold Medal ceremony I've seen so far-- the Canadian athlete have been happy for their victory, sure, but also displayed a good dose of sportsmanship and comradery (sp). Montgomery cheered on the other athletes. Virtue and Moire were friends and training-mates with the silver-medal team.

Every medalist earned their victory because they are phenomenal athletes, not because a news media declared it "Canada's turn to own the games".

February 23, 2010 @ 8:02 PM


Organizations regularly build up expectations and hopes. The citizens and press then buy into it.

Leading up to Toronto's bid for the 1996 & 2008 for the Olympics the Organizing Committee of Toronto we certain the games would be ours.

The TTC calls it self the the "Better Way" or at one point it refereed to itself as the best transit system in the world.

There's also a professional sports team that at the end of every season promises big things next year and reinforce that mantra during the off season. Fans and the press work themselves into a frenzy. Usually a month into the season reality sets in.

As for Own the Podium I think we did really well.

February 24, 2010 @ 7:45 AM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

Hello, we are kicking South Korea's ass!!
We are handing France their asses on a platter!!
"Eh Oh Canada GO!". Who's with me?
Gotta learn to appreciate the little things in life.

February 24, 2010 @ 9:49 AM


The Feds today are signaling an end to OTP funding.

February 24, 2010 @ 10:44 AM

Chris in EY

The goal of own the podium was to have the most competitive olympic team we've ever had and it was in total reach. Canada finished 3rd in the last olympics I think 1 or 2 medals out of second. Owning the podium is not a lofty goal for the winter olympics at all - Canada will end these olypics with 20 plus medals, more golds then ever and those totals include some spectacular flame outs like Hollingsworth, Del Bosco and our Alpine ski team.

Hopefully this is the start rather than the end and we should see results in sochi as well.

the only thing I would say is maybe the name was a little too aggressive but at the end of the day if you are not gunning for the podium as an athlete or country then you are wasting my money.

February 24, 2010 @ 11:28 AM



February 24, 2010 @ 12:03 PM

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