By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter
Coming into the 2010 Winter Olympics, Jenn Heil was regarded as the athlete to beat in the moguls event.
By all accounts, Heil had earned her ranking through hard work, dedication, and her dominance in the event leading up to the Olympic games. Like many Canadian athletes, Heil’s goal was to win gold in her event; expectations for Canadian athletes have changed this time around, especially where the favorites are concerned.
At the risk of coming off a bit too crass and a tad jaded, I think I speak for many Canadians when I say, despite Heil’s silver medal effort, I was left disappointed and a touch angry at the final results.
You see, historically many Canadian athletes have come into the Olympic games favored in their respective events, and on far too many occasions they have come up short.
Comparatively, for whatever reason, the Americans seem to shine at the Olympics, as was the case last night in the moguls event where American Hannah Kearney finished with a gold medal effort, despite her perceived shortcomings—mainly her complete self-destruction at the 2002 Olympics in Turin where she was favored to win gold only to place a very disappointing 22nd.
Canada is yet to win a gold medal at home in the Winter Olympics. Yesterday, Canada had a legitimate shot at two golds and came up flat. Charles Hamelin—who has dominated the men’s 1,500 metre event—was expected to compete for gold and instead failed to even qualify for the final, which, in a word, was weak.
A silver medal is a nice effort and all, but when everything is said and done I believe Canadians expected a gold from Heil and/or Hamelin. Despite Heil’s “victory,” I have to say I think day one at the Olympics will be deemed a failure.
For Canada’s sake, let’s hope the other Canadian athletes learn from their teammates' shortfalls and bring their “A-game”—especially those athletes expected to win gold.
I, for one, am tired of watching Canada self-destruct, a scenario that has become all too common in Olympics past—a scenario I hope we have seen the last of in Vancouver.
Jenn Heil tried her best and should be congratulated for her efforts, but gosh darn-it, Canada needs its first gold on home turf, failure is no longer an option...
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