Every so often we are republishing posts that are or were particularly important. From 2008, this page is the 4th most-visited on


As this is being written Canada has not won a single medal at the Bejing Olympics. Australia, with a much smaller population, has won several. Even Togo, Algeria and poor old Georgia have made it to the medal podium. Canada – not a one.

What’s the matter with us? The critics’ answers are coming in fast. Canada doesn’t take the Olympics seriously enough. The Canadian government does not spend enough money on Olympic sports. Canadian taxpayers must shell out more, much more, on elite sports programs to identify, develop and fine-tune athletes who can make us proud at the Olympics. If Australia can do, so should we, the critics say.

Let’s look at the money argument. Ottawa now spends some $166 million a year on sports in general. In addition to that Ottawa doles out more than $40 million a year to support high-performance-international-grade athletes. Canadian taxpayers routinely give annual subsidies of as much as $18,000 to registered Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

So should we spend more money on Olympic athletes? Not according to the Montreal Gazette we shouldn’t . Instead of spending another dime on Olympic athletes, the government should spend any extra money on general participation sports and build a few basketball courts in places like Montreal North where police killed the young black man. The Gazette asks whether perfecting a few specialists to win medals is really a worthy national goal.

Instead the Gazette argues that taxpayers’ money should be spent on sports in ways which will more directly affect the well-being of large numbers of Canadians.

Should more money go to elite or participation sports?

Are you embarrassed that on the seventh day of the Olympics Canada has not won a single medal?

Be the first to like this.

Posted by Neil McKenty on August 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm
Filed under current events  |  Leave a comment  |  Trackback URI


  1. 1
    Chimera Says:

    I’m not embarrassed at all by the lack of Canadian medals. Why would I be? I’ve never been a vicarious hanger-on, to suck “national pride” from individual effort. I’m not against anyone else’s doing it, but I don’t understand it.

    I am absolutely, categorically, resolvedly against the shelling out of more taxpayer dollars for the support of professional athletes who do no more than practise their jobs four years at a time for the express purpose of showing off their skill levels for two weeks. I don’t see why they can’t fall back on the old system of patronage, in which each athlete has private and well-moneyed supporters.

    I will agree with the Gazette that general participation in sports of some kind (and not necessarily team sports, either) can be beneficial and healthy, and that if taxpayer dollars are going to go anywhere in sports, in should be to the general populace, who are paying for it, after all!

    Why would anyone want to shell out money from which he cannot benefit?

    Posted on August 15, 2008 at 6:11 pm e
  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Has it occured to anyone that maybe, just maybe, Canada has no medals because maybe, just maybe, our drug testing programs are more efficient or more real than other countries’s and therefore our cleaner athletes just aren’t up to the competition despite Speedos LZR Racers and other equipment? I’d much rather have honest athletes than medals.

    Posted on August 15, 2008 at 11:36 pm e
  3. 3
    exposrip Says:

    Chimera, they’re amateurs not professionals. Big difference in my opinion. The amateur athlete has a purpose in society.

    I’ve heard a lot of “we’re doing enough and it doesn’t matter” garbage coming from people. We really have no respect or understanding of what constitutes an Olympian. Neil, you’re a sports fan and you know what sacrifices they do.

    It annoys me to hear how this doesn’t bother people. It proves, in its own way, how we simply don’t value excellence.

    Our athletes are caught between segments of the media making incomprehensible social commentaries, no corporate support and an apathetic society that accepts mediocrity.

    What’s the Gazette’s point? So, build more basketball courts and then what? Watch society heal itself? Where’s the role of the parents in all this?

    More importantly, what does this tell the athlete that wants to represent their country? It tells them it’s not worth it.

    So, if the Gazette thinks this way (and I’m not surprised at how they ditched the Expos) then why have an Olympic team at all? If we’re not going to take it seriously because we don’t feel it’s important then don’t make a mockery of it and participate. Because you know what? EVERY MAJOR NATION takes it seriously.

    This is typical parochial Canada. When the tough gets going pull back and claim we need to put our resources elsewhere. We did this with the military and we promptly became a peacekeeping nation that just as quickly didn’t have the capabilities or muscle to pull its weight. We have a mismanaged health system and poor education. Now sports is heading that way.

    I would prefer my money going to a dedicated and upstanding Canadian athlete than to the projects to be honest. The Gazette is right up to a point but it shouldn’t come at the EXPENSE of our Olympians. Get real.

    I guess the concept of fully integrated athletes as the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Italian Humanists and Victorian England taught goes -whoosh – right over the heads of us Canadians.

    Support our damn athletes and do it with properly and with pride for once.

    The irony of course is that our athletes are performing well breaking all sorts of personal records. The swim team is not winning but much improved from Athens.

    The question is do we want to go beyond this and become world class.

    Posted on August 16, 2008 at 1:20 am e
  4. 4
    exposrip Says:

    And by the way, I hope God willing, to earn enough money to actually do my bit one day and help sponsor an athlete.

    Posted on August 16, 2008 at 1:23 am e
  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    Exposrip, if the athletes get compensated for what they do, they’re professionals, not amateurs. But, definition of “amateur” aside, precisely what societal purpose do you think they serve?

    Take it seriously? Okay…you take it seriously, but allow me my ambivalence, willya? Too much is taken seriously altogether. I gotta get my indifference where I can… ;)

    Posted on August 16, 2008 at 4:40 am e
  6. 6
    exposrip Says:

    I do take it seriously!

    Amateur athletes represent the nation. Once they’re done they don’t have contracts to sustain them. They train, get funding, maybe win endorsements if they’re the best and that’s it. Then they go back into society. They’re not professionals. Maybe the lines have gotten blurred now a little ( I don’t agree one iota in letting pros in the Olympics. As fun as it is to watch Lionel Messi and Duane Wade they have no business being there) but the idea of the amateur athlete remains in tact.

    The amateur program is meant to represent nations in the field of sports. What societal purpose do they serve? Like I mentioned above, this subject has been tackled by far better minds than I but just read what thinkers in Anc. Greece/Rome, Renaissance Italy, Victorian England and modern America have to say about it. Sports is a component of our total social being.

    But you’re right about one thing.

    It’s ok to be indifferent on this. But my point is that if we’re going to participate the least we can do is take care of our athletes. I point you all to Cam Cole’s article in today’s Gazette. Read it carefully.

    And that’s one small part. You could literally write a book on the second-rate nature of how we treat athletes. Remember that Canadian cyclist who won gold in Athens while her coach watched from a bar in Edmonton because they had no money? Was that right?

    I know people who have been part of the Olympics and it’s embarrassing to see how sometimes Canada looks like a ragged country; from begging for bike spokes to training with OTHER NATIONS TO GET FUNDING.

    Posted on August 16, 2008 at 9:12 pm e
  7. 7
    exposrip Says:

    ‘But you’re right about one thing” was mistyped. I was going to use it as a connection to pros in the Olympics. Sorry.

    Posted on August 16, 2008 at 9:14 pm e
  8. 8
    April Says:

    Canada doesn’t spend enough on the olympics period. It’s a joke really, Canada has no pride whatsoever and it’s really sad. Rowing is Canada’s best sport; yet they said on TV that Canada spends 800 000 a year on Canadian Rowing whereas Britain spends 12 000 000 a year on British Rowing, and there not even that great at it. So imagine what they spend on the sports they put more depth in to… The Canadian government is a joke. Instead of giving the Native Indians free everything, most of that should be going towards Canadian olympic sports.

    Posted on August 18, 2008 at 3:35 am e
  9. 9
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:


    Since your comment came in Canada has won seven medals, including two gold. So we must be doing something right. Thanks for your comment.

    Posted on August 18, 2008 at 2:38 pm e
  10. 10
    cody hollman Says:

    i think that we should be paying more caues we are making are athliets look bad we should be paying more on training our athliets

    Posted on October 16, 2008 at 7:10


  1. 1
    Bruce Finn Says:

    I love what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

  2. Amedar Consulting…

    I will immediately clutch your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please permit me know so that I may just subscribe. Thanks….

  3. 3
    Mollie Poole Says:

    First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a
    quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Cheers!

  4. 4
    G I S Says:

    I’ve gone ahead and bookmarked at so my friends can see it too. I simply used Top blog post: SHOULD CANADA SPEND MORE ON OLYMPIC ATHLETES? Exchange with Neil McKenty as the entry title in my bookmark, as I figured if it is good enough for you to title your blog post that, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way.

  5. 5
    Melisa Says:

    The Okavango Delta is a great tourist destination as it turns into an amazing network of waterways during the rains and is frequented by herds
    of elephants. If your loved ones needs to reach you as a
    result of the fact of an emergency, they can pass a message to you through the Workplace of
    Overseas Citizens Services at 202-647-5225. If you are
    a person who likes to party, this is one of the top islands
    to visit worldwide.

RSS Feed for this entry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: