Our Olympic athletes go zero-for-the-first-week, the whole nation gets bummed out, and the message many sports commentators draw from that is we should spend more tax dollars so our athletes will raise our medal count and we can all feel better about ourselves.
I must be missing a gene or something because, although it's definitely a kick to see our victorious rowers belting out O Canada, whether I feel good about myself or not doesn't much depend on the athletic achievements of strangers, even if they are fellow citizens.
I don't doubt that if we spent the same amounts - proportionately and in real purchasing power - as the Americans, Chinese and Australians, we would produce proportionately as many podium-rank athletes.
Actually, I do doubt it. Given our political culture, we'd have to hire sports bureaucrats in all 10 provinces and three territories and equity experts and stress counsellors and environmental assessors and, above all, lots of lawyers. So we'd probably need to spend substantially more money per athlete to get the same medal output.
But what would be the point? Elite sports would have become an exercise in competitive applied physiology of the sort East Germany excelled at. Take a body of a certain skeletal and muscular structure, teach it so many hundred hours of technique per year, provide so many hundred hours of strength and cardiovascular training, and, hey, even Canadians can win gold medals.