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Realistic Medal Expectations

In the 2006 winter Olympics Cindy Klassen won 6 medals. We, in Canada, were rightfully quite proud of her. But I remember an athlete from another country questioning why we were so proud of her for winning 6 medals, but only 1 gold.

This got me thinking about our current Olympic performance. I am proud we have as many medals as we do at this point. We’re not really a summer Olympic country. Our specialty is the winter Olympics. I’m just happy we have medals, of any colour. But what should we realistically be expecting?

We’re a small country. The population of Canada is just slightly less than the greater Tokyo area! I think we do pretty well considering our tiny population base. In fact I would say we are overachieving.

So I decided to do a little research and break it down to the numbers. Based on our population and nominal GDP, what should our medal expectations be?

Country

Population (mil.)

GDP

(tril.) *

Medal Count as of August 1st

China

1,337

7.300

30

USA

313

15.09

29

Japan

126

5.869

17

France

65

2.776

13

Germany

81

3.577

13

South Korea

48

1.116

12

Russia

138

1.850

11

Italy

61

2.199

9

Great Britain

62

2.418

9

Australia

21

1.488

9

Ukraine

45

0.165

6

Romania

22

0.1899

6

Canada

34

1.737

6

North Korea

24

0.028

5

 

 

 

 

*GDP based on CIA statistics

 

 

If we look strictly at the numbers, we are definitely overachieving. Looking at it another way, the top countries are underachieving. Comparing us to our big brother to the south, as we love to do, we should have about one tenth of their medals based on population or GDP. Taking this one step further, China should have about 39 times as many medals as Canada, based on population. The numbers are here for you to decide for yourself. Are we doing well?

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Categories: Sports

Toronto Is NOT a Sports Town

I’ve been a sports fan all my life. I’ve been to every sports facility and watched every Toronto sports team live. And there’s something missing. Atmosphere.

Forget the Leafs, they are an aberration. They can do no wrong. The very fact that they haven’t won a Stanley Cup in almost half a century is proof of that.

Let’s start with the physical facilities themselves. Most of them, if not all, are in dead lifeless areas of Toronto. The Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre are in the middle of nowhere. They’re in no man’s land. Too far south of Dundas and too far north of the lake. Is there anywhere one can go before or after the game? No. Last time I was at the Rogers Centre, my friends and I had to walk for 25 minutes to finally find a restaurant to have dinner. And what area of the city did we walk through? The cold dead skyscrapers and condominiums right down at Lakeshore.

And the Rogers Centre looks more like a hospital than a sports stadium. Concrete everywhere, no warmth at all. And the Air Canada Centre isn’t much better. Don’t forget this is where five of our professional teams play.

Ok so the stadiums and areas they reside in are boring and lifeless. It’s not like we can just pick them up and move them over to Yonge and Dundas. But that’s not the only problem. Sports in Toronto isn’t fun.When you go watch sports in other cities, both Canada and the U.S., you enter a party atmosphere.

Have you ever been to a CFL game in western Canada? Talk about a party! How about an Argo game? Don’t think so. Maybe that’s a bad example. We all know the Argos can’t draw flies. Apparently the NFL is much bigger here than the CFL ever could be. So then why did Rogers just drop the prices for the Bills’ games in Toronto? If you go to Bills’ games in Buffalo, it’s a rocking good time. Not here it isn’t. And here’s the best part: the team is awful, and has been for a very long time. So competitiveness has nothing to do with it.

Let’s shift over to the Blue Jays. I go to several games every year, mostly because I enjoy the game of baseball. But most people who go to the games, show up in the third or fourth inning. Do you know why? It’s too boring! Is watching baseball in New York, Boston, Chicago or many of the other American cities boring? Nope.

My favourite example is NASCAR. Now that’s a real party! And it seems to have little to do with the actual race. Go early, tailgate and then get a ride around the track in a car driven by an actual driver. Are you kidding me? I’ve been to the annual Indy race in Toronto. It’s not even close to what I see happening at a NASCAR race.

Live sports shouldn’t be a television program. Tune in when it starts, tune out when it ends. It should be a more like a party. There should be things to do besides watching the game. Events in the parking lot. Activities on the field of play before and after the game. Places around the stadium to visit and grab a bite to eat. Going down to a game should be an experience. If the game is slow or bad or the home team loses, it shouldn’t dull your experience. But here it does. When I get home after watching my team get trounced, that’s all I can think about. I don’t think about what a great day it was and how much fun I had.

The only Toronto team that actually had an atmosphere was Toronto FC. When they first started playing that was the place to be. There was an atmosphere and it was fun. However, even they seem to have squandered that. It’s rapidly losing its appeal as a fun experience. It looks as if it is doomed to join the ranks of the other professional Toronto teams.

Are Torontonians too full of themselves to make games into events? Sounds like it to me. We arrive late, eat our overpriced sushi and chat about anything and everything besides the game. Then go home and forget all about it. It’s too bad. We can do so much better.

Categories: Sports