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The Vancouver Sun
February 24, 2010

Own the podium? Canada's women still might

As I watched Canada's spectacular medal haul Wednesday -- one gold, two silvers and one bronze, the most yet in a single day -- I was struck by something else: all four medals were won by women.

Indeed, it made me think that most of the Canadian athletes I've seen up on the podium so far have been female athletes.

A quick look at our medal count shows I'm not wrong: 11 of our 15 medals (73%) have been won by women. (You could argue that should really be 11.5 with Tessa Virtue's half of the ice dancing medal).

Which got me wondering about something else: Much has been made about Canada's failure to "own the podium" by winning more medals than any other country. The current Top 5 is:

United States: 28
Germany: 24
Norway: 18
Canada: 15
Russia: 13

But what if you looked just at female athletes. How would Canada look then?

Figuring this out seemed, at first, like an impossible task -- I didn't relish the thought of counting up each country's medalists to see how many were male and how many were female. But it's actually easier than it looks.

If Canada's female athletes were their own country, their whopping 11 medals would put them ahead of all but four countries total medal haul: the U.S., Germany, Norway and Russia.

So figuring out whether Canadian women "own the podium" really just requires seeing how many female athletes have won medals in those four countries. And here's my count, as of 8 p.m. Wednesday (before the women's aerials medals were awarded):

Germany: 14
Canada: 11
United States: 10
Norway: 5

Canada doesn't top this list either, of course.

But it's a lot closer than the overall medal count. And I think it's safe to assume at least two more medals to come: a guaranteed gold or silver in Thursday's women's hockey match and a medal of some description (if not gold) in women's curling.

I don't have a good sense of Canada's chances in the other remaining female sports -- or those of the U.S.and Germany, our closest female competitors.

But it doesn't seem out of the question that our women still might come out on top.

At the very least, it seems very clear that if Canada does pull off a best-ever performance at the 2010 Olympics -- or win the most gold, something that now seems tantalizingly possible -- we'll have our kick-ass female athletes to thank.

Be sure to check out all my other Olympic-related blog posts.


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