Canada’s comeback not enough in overtime as Olympic drought continues

Title: Canada’s comeback not enough in overtime as Olympic drought continues
Date: July 3, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Canada coming up short in the semis of Olympic qualifiers again.

Sports can be cruel. We search for elements of fairness or karma in the randomness of outcomes, but in reality, there are no just wins and losses. There is the game and there is the outcome, and in almost every case, one side is going to be disappointed. Often, bitterly so.

If you were a believer in the sort of existential elements that may nudge a team’s fortunes in the right direction, Canada’s senior men’s basketball team certainly had a few. They had worked aggressively and spent significantly to host an Olympic qualifying tournament in Victoria, only for the pandemic to delay it and then cap their home-court advantage at 10 percent capacity. They were suffering under a 20-plus year Olympic drought despite rising to be the second-largest producer of talent in the NBA. And they finally — finally — got the kind of turn out the program has envisioned over the last decade with the swell of young talent.

They also turned in one of the most spirited and unlikely comebacks in recent FIBA history. All game against the Czech Republic, Canada stumbled through foul trouble, a size disadvantage and unseasonably cold 3-point shooting. Down 10 with 57 seconds to play, all they could really hope for was to show the heart head coach Nick Nurse has said defined this group in their time together.

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