According to this piece from the Globe and Mail, Canada's Alpine Ski Team has received an additional $10.4 million in funding since 2005 as part of the "Own the Podium" program. That's the most of any sport. It's also rather appalling when you consider how few athletes constitute the Alpine Ski Team (just think about how many more Canadians participate in competitive winter sports like curling, figure skating and hockey compared to ski racing).
Since the Alpine Team has turned out to be a fantastic public embarrassment (as I opined a few days ago), that money must now be considered a very foolish investment.
But it begs the question, Why are the alpine skiers the darlings of the Canadian Olympic Committee? It's not like their success really provides any positives for the country, anyway. Lord knows skiing success doesn't help the economy, like a gold medal in hockey does. It also doesn't do much for the sport at a grassroots level, since ski racing barely resembles the kind of skiing that the average Canadian partakes in on a recreational basis.
And if, as the piece explains, the expectation was for 2 or 3 medals even after the influx of cash, then wouldn't that funding have been better used by another team? Like one with a chance at 9 or 10 medals?
The article goes on to make a million excuses about the hometown pressure getting to the skiers and throwing them off their games, but c'mon, wasn't the fact these Games are in Vancouver supposed to be an advantage?
The skiers should be ashamed of themselves, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm getting awfully tired of the endless parade of "I have no regrets" quotes from skiers who either DNF'd or finished in the teens. Luckily this long national nightmare is nearly over; their are just 4 races remaining at Whistler Creekside.
While previously calling out the Alpine Ski Team, I suggested their motto should be DNF: Daily National Failures. I now think those letters can be put to better use when describing Canada's skiers...
DNF: Do Not Fund.