Canada Guns for Olympic Gold
Usually reserved nation says it will 'own the podium' in Vancouver
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2010 3:06 PM CST
Torchbearer Frank Humber carries the Olympic flame in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – No more Mr. Nice Canada: Our neighbor to the north has contracted Olympic fever and is shouting from the rooftops that it will “own the podium” in Vancouver. After Canada made disastrous showings in the two previous Games it hosted, an organization called Own the Podium has emerged and raked in $109 million to guarantee some gold this year. “We’re going to have several,” its CEO tells Time.

Jesting aside, some foreign athletes have complained that Canada is playing hardball by limiting the use of its facilities. “I wouldn't want to win or have success in that way,” carps American speedskater Apolo Ohno. The CEO says that’s a “zero story,” but the drive to win is real. Own the Podium takes a page from the American playbook after the US vastly increased its medal count following the Salt Lake City Games. The message is “let’s try to improve.”