EDITORIAL: The cost of Olympic medals

An Olympic presence is not just the result of athletic training and effort

With a total of 29 medals, Canada had its strongest showing ever at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Canadian athletes won medals in freestyle skiing, figure skating, short track, snowboard, speed skating, luge, bobsleigh, hockey and curling.

These medals come at a significant cost.

For the athletes, participating at the games requires intense training for many years.

But an Olympic presence is not just the result of athletic training and effort.

It also takes money to send athletes to the Olympics.

The federal government’s Own The Podium funding is providing $75,261,545 for athletes going to the games.

This dollar figure is significant, but so is the Canadian presence at the games.

Canada sent 225 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics, more than any other country except the United States.

In addition, athletes have also received sponsorships and funding from other sources.

Comox freestyle skier Cassie Sharpe did indeed “own the podium,” realizing a near life-long dream by winning gold in the halfpipe competition.

Her victory was celebrated by the entire community, as many local businesses and individuals put down sponsorship money, or other fashions of support, to help Cassie reach the pinnacle of her sport. In that regard, her victory was an achievement for many. Certainly, her current corporate sponsors – Monster, Giro, Air Canada, The North Face, and Zuma Skis, also played – and continue to play – a large part in her success.

And our other Olympians, Spencer O’Brien and Carle Brenneman, have also had the support of the local community, and national corporations, in their endeavours.

At the Winter Olympics, Canada is seen as a dominant force, and this is a reputation worth celebrating.

But the cost of training and sending athletes to the games must also be considered.

Olympic medals are not free.

–Black Press

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