Canada faces facts: we can't match U.S. haul

Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:06pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada wanted to "own the podium" at the Vancouver Games but the United States will probably end up standing on top of it the most times, the chief of Canada's Olympic Committee conceded on Monday.

"We're in a situation where I think we'd be living in a fool's paradise if we thought we were going to catch the Americans," Chris Rudge, chief executive of the COC told reporters.

With the Winter Games in its final week, the United States leads the medal count in Vancouver with 24. Canada has nine, leaving them tied with South Korea and behind Germany and Norway in the total amount of gold, silver and bronze won.

The Canadian media has begun ravaging the country's "Own the Podium" program that provided extra funding for its athletes to prepare for Vancouver and raised pre-Olympic expectation of winning the most medals.

Rudge said it would be better to wait until after the Games have ended to judge the program's success because Canadian athletes are considered to be strong in some of the Olympics' later competitions.

"It's painful to do the autopsy while the patient is alive and kicking," Rudge said.

U.S. Olympic officials urged Canada not to give up on the athletic development program, saying that many Canadians may have taken the idea out of context.

"There is a spectacular pay-off of athletes in the long-term," said Mike English, chief of sport performance with the United States Olympic Committee.   Continued...

<p>Brian Rafalski of the U.S. celebrates his goal with teammates as Sydney Crosby of Canada skates in first period of their hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>