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09/14 2010

My comment on David Asper’s National Post Article

In response to David Asper’s National Post Article:

Think about how the 2010 Games unified this country. The pride we collectively felt for our athletes seeped from our living rooms out into the streets. ‘Canadian Culture’ grew that month. As a nation we realized our athletic potential, realized we were really good at something. After the much anticipated men’s gold medal hockey game our national anthem was sung (but mostly shouted) through the streets of Vancouver and every other community across the country. Culturally, the games were worth every dollar spent.

If we can recreate that pride in communities across Canada, we will also create locally based identities (and economies) that communities will invest in, financially and emotionally. If that takes joint local and federal funding initially for arenas, theatres, or galleries, then all Canadians will be better off for it.

As a three time Canadian Olympic rower and Olympic Silver Medalist, training three times a day, six days a week, for my fourth games, I depend on my wife’s salary and the charity of others to be able to live at or close to the poverty line. We are not rich people, our facilities are not the best in the world, but we are so dedicated to our craft that we force success. I had the privilege of winning Canada’s first medal of the 2008 games.

I know that my story, as with many other Canadian Olympians, has brought Canadians closer and has helped to create a piece of Canadian Culture, Canadian Identity. Could you imagine the power of these stories at a local level? What if they were told more than every four years? Could you imagine if those stories weren’t just of hockey legends, but also of musicians, artists and performers – oh, and don’t forget those brave amateur athletes.

David Calder

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