Bronze is the new Gold.

The following observation was written in the wake of the last Olympics and the usual rush of Canadian Bronze. It talks to an attitude where mettle matters more than metal. But how times change. As this is written mid-way through the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Canadians are tallying more than their traditional share of  the medal count, with four Gold and the hockey final still to come. In a very real sense, Bronze has turned to Gold.

Oh, Canada.

I love this country. From coast to coast we are so unalike and yet at certain times we come together as one in our pursuit of the lowest common denominator.

ES17Take for recent example the London 2012 Summer Olympics, where our passionate pursuit of the Bronze excited bar patrons from Sooke to St. John. Sadly, there were some on the field of battle who were unclear of our country’s commitment to the time-honoured marriage of copper and tin.

These few trampled tradition by winning a Gold and five Silver and dropping our Bronze count to twelve from a potential eighteen. But for their quest for personal glory, Canada would have tallied more Bronze than South Korea.

No matter. There was still ample opportunity to watch our best bask in the light of a third-place finish. To share the tears and laughter and feel the hugs of a modest nation cast however briefly in the spotlight on the world stage.

The value of our Bronze bonanza reflects the national funding commitment to our athletes. A Gold Medal is worth about $500, a Silver half that. Our entire complement of Bronze medals would fetch around $4 but that figure is based purely on metal and ignores mettle, which the Canadians demonstrated in spades.

We saw our athletes finishing fifth and sixth and eleventh and showing more enthusiasm than the countless Gold winners from the U.S., China and Russia. We worked harder at losing than the others did at winning. And probably without drugs. Apparently, just the thrill of being in London after growing up in Moose Jaw or Airdrie feels like reaching the top step of the podium.

There was a wonderful innocence about the Canadian effort, as there usually is. We are so happy just to be invited to the party and once there, we party harder than anyone. For that, we’re loved around the world.


Of the 150,000 condoms handed out to the athletes at the games, we understand that a disproportionate number went to the Canadians.

First the Bronze, then the Wood.

12 years ago

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