When I think back to Beijing and, more recently, Vancouver I’m struck by how many incredibly powerful moments there were for Canadians as we watched in awe and appreciation of our Olympic athletes. Simon Whitfield’s performance in the triathlon was, for me, my favourite from Beijing 2008. While Alex Bilodeau’s emotional Gold Medal performance was mine from Vancouver 2010. Simon demonstrated Canadian grit that truly captured the spirit of the Olympics when he tossed his cap aside and gave his all to the finish line. Alex, on the other hand, touched the hearts of Canadian’s with his brother’s embrace at the end of his best-on-the-day mogul run.
However, as much as those moments were undoubtedly my favourites, there were some low moments for me as well. And, they came in the form of apologies—from our Canadian athletes! Yes, that’s right, for supposedly not having accomplished what they thought they should have for our Nation. In both cases it played out with a post performance interview where each athlete took the opportunity to look into the camera and tell the viewing audience at home that they were sorry for not winning a Gold Medal for Canada. What? Are you kidding me?
Not to belittle those sincere moments of each of those athletes given both were clearly sincere and heartfelt. Instead, I want to draw attention to the fact that they had the thought—the inclination that apologizing to our Country was required for not winning. What a sad moment for sport in Canada.
I won’t go into the list of obvious reasons why those apologies were not required. I will, however, remind our Canadian athletes that if in the next week-and-a-half things go sideways during your competition for whatever reason, you need not apologize for it, period. You have trained countless hours, made tremendous sacrifices and dedicated yourself to excellence for the privilege of competing at these Games. So, please don’t ever feel that you have something to be ashamed of or sorry for.
Be your best!
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