Editorial: Olympic Figures

One gold, five silver, a dozen bronze. Eighteen medals in total put Canada in 13th place when the London 2012 Olympic Games drew to a close.

One gold, five silver, a dozen bronze. Eighteen medals in total put Canada in 13th place when the London 2012 Olympic Games drew to a close. While Canadian news coverage of the Games has been flooded with reports of the “disappointing” performances by many of Canada’s top athletes and gold medal contenders, our Olympians actually fared better overall this time around than in Beijing four years ago, when Canada finished 15th.

Also, it always pays to keep in mind population numbers when analyzing the outcome. Of the countries that finished in the top nine, Canada’s population is decidedly the smallest with the exception of Australia: (1) United  States — 314,000,000; (2) China — 1,347,000,000; (3) Russia —143,000,000; (4) United Kingdom —62,000,000; (5) Germany — 82,000,000; (6) Japan — 128,000,000; (7) Australia — 23,000,000; (8) France — 65,000,000; (9) South Korea — 50,000,000… and Canada, in 13th place — 35,000,000.

Seeing that Australia doesn’t experience much of a winter, it’s no wonder that our cousins below the equator came out ahead.

Interesting to note that of the 18 medals, British Columbians pulled in half of the nation’s total. According to a B.C. governement news release:

“Of Canada’s 18 medals, athletes who are either from B.C., or train in the province, earned nine (50 per cent), including six bronze and three silver. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Summer Games, B.C. athletes won 39 per cent of Canadian medals. At the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games, B.C. won 25 per cent, and at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Summer Games, B.C. earned 21 per cent of Canada’s total medal count.

“B.C. sent 110 athletes to the Games to compete in 22 sports. The British Columbia contingent accounted for 40 per cent of the Canadian Olympic Team. Of those athletes, 67 were born and raised in B.C.; the other 43 received substantial training and support through the B.C. sport system.”

For a province that stunned the world with an exceptionally brilliant 2010 Winter Olympic Games, B.C. is now proving itself to be an ideal training ground for summer athletes as well. Now, doesn’t that provide some interesting opportunities?