Start List/Liste de Départ: it’s tomorrow already

A swimmer responds to the Paul Gains “put down your Twitters” article. I get the sentiment: hey, we work hard, and despite the push for medals or bust from the media, it is true that top 10 in the world is very good. It’s an important achievement and worth supporting, as Wilkinson points out:

“One of the most discouraging comments I’ve heard is, “Why are we wasting our tax dollars on athletes who can’t bring home medals?” Well, here’s a theory: when we support our athletes, they become more visible in the media. Kids then see the athletes and idolize them. How many kids decided to play hockey because they wanted to “be like Wayne Gretzky?” And in a country where obesity among children is rising (over a quarter of Canadian children under 17 are overweight or obese), one of the best solutions is getting kids away from their Playstations and onto fields, courts and pool decks. According to the Childhood Obesity Foundation, the direct and indirect costs of obesity in our country cost taxpayers $4.3 billion in 2001.

So before you grumble about where your tax dollars are going, consider the benefits of supporting athletes for more than a medal count.”

That makes sense, and should be the heart of the argument. But statements like this, from Wilkinson, are off base: “when criticism bordering on belittling comes from within our own country, from our own media, we don’t have a hope to succeed.”

That’s total crap. Focused and determined athletes don’t give a rats ass about what gets said in the media. Sure, it might hurt, but if it hurts so much that it prevents you from succeeding, then the problem is you, not the press.

Then she writes: “When it comes to criticism, we can take it. By all means, tell us that we need to do better. But when Canadians are telling their own athletes that they should “take up chess” because their performances are so awful, it hurts more than a hard workout, a close loss in a race or a bad bout of tendonitis because we’re putting our heart and soul into our sports, I promise you.”

That just sounds thin-skinned to me. Like Jared Connaughton would say: don’t be a hater. Suck it up, go and train, and you’ll be the example you need to be. Battling in the press is just playing their game, raising to the bait, and taking your eyes off the prize.

More links:

Nova Scotia coach Steve Morley has a blog. Add it to the roll! “Wait, I was trying to do one thing at a time, and concentrate on doing that one thing well.” That’s some good sense!


Kelsall is back…to tell us he’s having surgery and won’t be back for a while.


Lefort is also back. He’s running the Springbank 5k in London.


Fleshman has her second post wrapping up Daegu.
And here’s another piece on her from Jim Mcdannald at Track Focus. She and her coach Mark Rowland took a smart, long term approach and it paid off.