NEWS
 
Team Canada wants more medals in Sochi
We are sending about 220 athletes to Russia, more than we ever have to any winters games event
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At 11 a.m. ET today, the winter games will kick off with the opening ceremonies in Sochi.

Canada will have about 220 athletes marching through the Fisht Olympic Stadium, led by flag-bearer Hayley Wickenheiser.

Four years ago, we heard our anthem 14 times - more than any other country. With a total of 26 medals in Vancouver, Canada was 3rd in overall count, behind the U.S. and Germany.

What is our goal in Sochi?

"Twenty-seven (medals) or higher would be a tremendous accomplishment," says Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own The Podium.

Team Canada's chef de mission, meanwhile, says he believes we can be on top in overall medal count.

"When we went into Turino, we had no notion that we could ever strive for number one," Podborski says.

That was in 2006. He says his goal is now possible.

"I'll tell you why I believe in it, because if we say we don't want to be number one, we're striving for mediocrity, and we're not going to do that," he says. "We're striving to be the best."

He says to be the best, we would need some of the "dark horses" on Team Canada to win medals.

LISTEN: 

Podborski admits getting more medals than any other country would be tough, but there are several factors that can help Canada beat its Vancouver count.

First, with about 220 athletes, this is the largest team we are sending to the winter games.

Second, there are 36 new sports, and Canada excels at 12 of them.

"We're very strong in the luge relay, for example, and the team figure skating event," Merklinger says.

We also have top athletes in snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe.

As for being in a foreign country without the home advantage of Vancouver, Merklinger says she's not too worried about that.

"[The athletes] have toured the facilities, they've trained and competed there," she says. "They've done everything possible to become as familiar as they can."

No matter what happens, Podborski says Team Canada will give it its all.

"Remember, these athletes are the finest our country can produce."

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At 11 a.m. ET today, the winter games will kick off with the opening ceremonies in Sochi.

Canada will have about 220 athletes marching through the Fisht Olympic Stadium, led by flag-bearer Hayley Wickenheiser.

Four years ago, we heard our anthem 14 times - more than any other country. With a total of 26 medals in Vancouver, Canada was 3rd in overall count, behind the U.S. and Germany.

What is our goal in Sochi?

"Twenty-seven (medals) or higher would be a tremendous accomplishment," says Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own The Podium.

Team Canada's chef de mission, meanwhile, says he believes we can be on top in overall medal count.

"When we went into Turino, we had no notion that we could ever strive for number one," Podborski says.

That was in 2006. He says his goal is now possible.

"I'll tell you why I believe in it, because if we say we don't want to be number one, we're striving for mediocrity, and we're not going to do that," he says. "We're striving to be the best."

He says to be the best, we would need some of the "dark horses" on Team Canada to win medals.

LISTEN: 

Podborski admits getting more medals than any other country would be tough, but there are several factors that can help Canada beat its Vancouver count.

First, with about 220 athletes, this is the largest team we are sending to the winter games.

Second, there are 36 new sports, and Canada excels at 12 of them.

"We're very strong in the luge relay, for example, and the team figure skating event," Merklinger says.

We also have top athletes in snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe.

As for being in a foreign country without the home advantage of Vancouver, Merklinger says she's not too worried about that.

"[The athletes] have toured the facilities, they've trained and competed there," she says. "They've done everything possible to become as familiar as they can."

No matter what happens, Podborski says Team Canada will give it its all.

"Remember, these athletes are the finest our country can produce."

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