It was unreasonable for the Canadian Olympic Committee to boldly predict that Canada would own the podium at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Feeding off the unparalleled success of the 2014 Vancouver Games, our Olympic officials said Canada would finish atop the medal standings. It put extreme pressure on our athletes to perform past their capabilities. Athletes tried too hard to live up to the expectations of the COC and the nation. They took risks, gambled and crashed. Reaching the limits of their endurance might have been enough to earn a medal, but our athletes felt they had to go past that point. It’s fine to challenge elite athletes to perform well and reach their peak performance levels, but the expectations placed on their shoulders was going too far.
Government and corporate support is appreciated to allow our Olympians to properly train and prepare for the Games, but please don't brag that we are going to finish first. Athletes failing to meet that lofty goal are left in tears and broken-hearted because they feel they let a nation down. They competed, they tried their best and the nation is proud no matter what the outcome. Team chef de mission Steve Podborski was under pressure to deliver results on the investment of more than $100 million in the 221 athletes in Sochi.
He said Canada could walk with a swagger in Sochi. Let’s hope the hockey and curling teams and other athletes still waiting to compete lose the swagger at the door.