Now comes a pointed whack at VANOC and the Own The Podium program from downhiller Aksel Lund Svindal, who made it a point, at his press conference yesterday after he had won the men’s downhill silver medal, to voice his opinion of things.
“I just want to say that the reason I was not allowed on the hill last year had nothing to do with the Canadian ski team. The Canadian team, and Alpine Canada, are great to work with,’’ Svindal said after finishing second to Switzerland’s Didier Defago. “Erik Guay gave me a great report on the hill here. I want to thank the Canadian ski team. It wasn’t them who kept me off the hill. It was VANOC and Own The Podium, or something.’’
This the most direct attack yet on the stated plan to limit visiting athletes’ use of the facilities here to the legal minimum. Own The Podium, of course, wishes to have it both ways, boasting about maintain Canada’s “home-field advantage’’ while at the same time saying it hasn’t done anything wrong.
Other athletes don’t see it that way, of course, and Svindal expressed himself the only way that really matters, out on the field. He’s from Norway, the same place country as Bjorner Hakensmoen, the coach who handed Canada’s Sara Renner a ski pole after hers broke while she was winning a medal in 2006.