For most of the 200-plus athletes on the Canadian Olympic team, there are usually no fancy flights, five-star hotels or media scrums after practice.
For these dedicated, shining examples of clean living and old-fashioned Canadian hard work, typically there are no interview requests, agents, contracts or the glare of television cameras.
These Sochi Olympics is their time to shine, their payoff for years of early morning workouts in freezing conditions in relative obscurity.
Think of the bobsledder and cross-country skier. The speed skater and the athlete who does that scary skeleton thing. There is no Luge Night in Canada with its own theme song and TV audience of millions every Saturday night.
So, when you want to diss the Olympics, when you want to yell about the colossal misuse of money or ridiculous Russian laws, try to think of that lonely cross-country skier, slogging day after day for years in the cold somewhere near Calgary or Williams Lake or Sherbrooke.
This is their time to shine. Generally speaking, they are not looking for fat contracts or endorsement deals, although the latter can help them get through the next four years without as many cash calls to the parents.
They are true to their sport, their country and themselves.
More than any time in the past, Canadian athletes are getting better financial support from both government and corporations. We applaud that, and when we look at some of the places where our tax dollars land, supporting young people in healthy pursuits seems like one of the better ones.
While they get the biggest headlines, our men’s hockey team really shouldn’t be the focus of these Olympics (we will be watching every minute of every game, no point fibbing). But it’s hockey, and that shifts the balance of logic in this country, fair enough.
Today we are urging Canadians to support these lesser-known young athletes, during these Games and between Olympic years.
If you can’t get past your strong anti-Olympics feelings, we ask you to consider this:
Hate the game, not the player.
— Editorial by John Harding