Own the Podium, a discouraging program

Sports program focuses solely on results not participation or development

he project was essentially created to try to drive our national (sports) organizations away from the participative model…,” using taxpayer money to discourage wide participation in sports by Canadians in favour of supporting a few potentially elite athletes.

The project, of course, was Own The Podium, which has taxpayer money to spend on making Canadian spectators feel good every couple of years while reclining on their couches watching television.

What a comedown from, “Participaction,” a program intended to encourage Canadians to get off those couches, play, exercise and eat well in order to improve the individual and overall health of the populace.

The above quote was from the high performance director for Biathlon Canada, an organization that was, until OTP dangled dollars in front of it a few years ago, attempting to grow participation numbers in its sport, which requires one of the highest levels of physical fitness of any. So, Biathlon Canada reduced its widespread appeals and focused, in search of that OTP money, on the few accomplished athletes in its purview.

The same is true of all sports organizations in Canada that have connections to the Olympics. What matters is not rising levels of obesity and arthritis and heart disease, but The Games.

Organizations, including businesses, across the country fundraise constantly in an almost vain attempt to allow middle and low income families to enroll their kids in sports, dance and arts programs – at a very large cost to the national treasury in terms of tax writeoffs – by reducing economic barriers to participation. Meanwhile, our money is being spent on promoting elitism, on behalf of supporting one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet.

Between bribes, hosting costs, venue upkeep and support for, “elite,” competitors (many of whom, including curlers and skiers, could easily afford their own training and travel requirements) Canada spends, and has spent, hundreds of millions of dollars a decade on IOC support that could be much more productively, and democratically, used to promote health and happiness for all Canadians.

Russia is now, supposedly, out of the picture for the near future. One big player gone. Many nations have decided they are no longer interested in signing up for the onerous burden to their taxpayers that hosting the IOC entails.

Time for the rest of the world to wake the, um, heck, up. Time for the IOC and everything and body involved in it to hit the dustbin of history, on behalf of promoting sports and other healthy activities for the citizens who foot the bills.

We can still offer opportunities for those inclined to push towards being the best at whatever activity they choose to pursue, with the various world championships as the gauge of their progress. We would just no longer be under the thrall, and grubbing hands, of The Keepers of the Podium.

• Not good times for Smokies and their fans, but the team put up a decent fight in a tough place against Wenatchee. It just seems they may be losing standings ground they may not be able to recoup post holidays, when they are back near full strength. The next home game, all the rest of those, in fact, have increasing importance in the scheme of season outcomes.

Here’s hoping the current rash of injuries does not portend the future.

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