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Thursday, September 14, 2000
Don't hold your breath

When it comes to medals for Canada, Mr. Jones says ...

By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

 SYDNEY -- If you're betting, bet under on the over-under Down Under.

 In Atlanta, Canada won 22 medals.

 Three gold. Eleven silver. Eight bronze.

 It says here it's going to be under that here.

 I say 15.

 Four gold. Five silver. Six bronze.

 The world's form chart for Olympic medals is provided by Sports Illustrated. The magazine, which traditionally comes up short when it comes to Canada, has us down for 18 medals.

 SI experts figure Canada for two gold, six silver and 10 bronze.

 Gold: Flag-bearer Caroline Brunet in kayak and Allison Sydor in mountain bike.

 Silver: Bruny Surin in the 100 metres, the men's 4 x 100 track relay, Troy Amos Ross in boxing, Brunet and Karen Furneaux in kayak pairs, Emile Heymens and Anne Montminy in synchronized platform diving, Theresa Luke and Emma Robinson in pairs rowing.

 Bronze: Steve Giles in canoe, Attila Buday and Tamas Buday in canoe pairs, Tanya Dubnicoff in cycling, Heymens in platform diving, Erin Bulmer and Blythe Hartley in synchronized springboard diving, Derek Porter in rowing, the Canadian women's eights in the same sport, Ross McDonald and Kai Bjorn in star class sailing, Daniel Nestor and Sebastien Lareau in doubles tennis and Maryse Turcotte in weightlifting.

 I only see about half of those people on the podium.

 On the other hand, I like the women's water polo team for a medal. I like defending world champion David Ford in kayak. I like Canada's synchronized swim team for a medal. And what about our swim team?

 No medals?

 I think the track team has a lot better chance at no medals (sorry about that, Edmonton 2001) than our swim team.

 Joanne Malar? Curtis Myden? Marianne Limpert? Morgan Knabe? The relays?

 "We're coming off one of the best situations we've ever been involved in with the Canadian team,'' says swim coach Dave Johnson of pre-Olympic preparation up at the Great Barrier Reef.

 "I think we'll be better than Atlanta in medals and in A-final swims.''

 Canada won a silver and two bronze in Atlanta. Canada had 11 A-final swims in the last Olympics.

 Edmonton's contingent in these Olympics is kind of like a microcosm of Canada.

 Ford, Bulmer and Knabe are all serious contenders for medals. But none of the three are locks. They could all come home with medals. They could all come home without one.

 I don't know. I'm down on Canada Down Under.

 I've covered two Commonwealth Games Down Under, in Brisbane, Australia, and in Auckland, New Zealand. In both, Canada didn't come close to living up to expectations. Maybe we just don't compete that well when we're upside down.

 But, hey, what's wrong with four gold, five bronze and six silver? We only won 10 medals in Seoul in '88. And only three times, in the boycotted Los Angeles Games in 1984, Barcelona in '92 and Atlanta in '96 have we won more. In Melbourne in 1956 Canada won two gold, one silver and three bronze.

 Then, again, the Aussies are probably going to win more golds, more silvers and more bronze than we win overall medals.

 Now there's a bet.

 Remember, as you watch the Aussies kick butt at their own Olympics that Canada didn't win a gold at our Olympics in Montreal and when Canada finally invented a first-rate free-nation sports system we ditched with a failure to continue funding. And remember the Aussies took our model and then perfected it. Now, compared to them, we're a Model T.

  At the end of the day, no matter how many medals we win, that's going to be the rub. They've become the sports nations we should be.

 You get what you pay for. Four gold, five silver and six bronze is about what we're paying for.
 Sport by Sport
PARALYMPICS
Purdy's golden moment
WRESTLING
IOC strips gold medal
TENNIS
Nestor's golden win hits home
BOXING
Harrison starts in Britain
WEIGHTLIFTING
Bulgarian coach resigns
TRACK & FIELD
Student suspended for e-mail threats
CANOE/KAYAK
Bridesmaid Brunet
PENTATHLON
Brit wins women's modern pentathlon
TRIATHLON
Simon's our man
BASKETBALL
Dream Team hangs on for another gold
WATER POLO
Hungary destroys Russia in title game
GYMNASTICS
Barsukova wins rhythmic gold in an upset
EQUESTRIAN
Wind dashes Millar's medal hopes
VOLLEYBALL
Yugoslavia beats Russia for gold
DIVING
Despatie arrives early
FIELD HOCKEY
Netherlands retains Olympic title
TAEKWONDO
Bosshart wins bronze in taekwondo
SYNCHRO
Ironic performance wins bronze
SAILING
Clarke retires after finishing 17th