Through 13 days of competition with 25 podiums remaining, Canada is now tied for most first place finishes. Ironically enough, this is also tied for the most gold medals Canada has ever won in a Winter Olympics. One more gold and we will set a new record for most playings of our national anthem at an Olympics (1984 Soviet boycott notwithstanding). Does this qualify as choking under pressure? What happened to the days when pressure and fan support provided energy to athletes? What's up with the theory that athletes are going to screw up specifically because there is a lot of fan support?
When the USA jumped out of the gate with several 2nd and 3rd place finishes, I was among the first to suggest that perhaps "owning the podium" should be the most total playings of the national anthem. A few days ago I even joked that our focus for these games should be "if you ain't first, you're last", and a number of Canadian athletes have been propelled by the media reported pressure to finish in first place. Pressure leads to anxiety, which leads to adrenaline. It is a simple equation.
There will be more added to this story in the next few days.