There were lessons to be learned of the sporting and life varieties at the XX Games of the Winter Olympiad just concluded in Turin, Italy. The recent 16-day sporting spectacle afforded us an emotional display of individual and team athletic achievements, heartbreak and pure magic. Here are but a few of the many lessons we learned from the just concluded Winter Games: · Canadian women rule-- Without the gutsy showing of such extraordinary Canucks as Cindy Klassen (a gold, two silvers and three bronze medals) and the Canadian women's hockey team our country's fortunes would likely have been sub-par at best. Two-thirds of our nation's medal haul came courtesy of our female athletes-- including Klassen's Canadian record five medals on the speed skating oval. · The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) got it right-- for a change-- in estimating that our country's athletes would capture close to 25 Olympic medals-- blowing away Canada's previous record haul of 17 medals at the 2002 Salt Lake Games. An additional 21 fourth and fifth-place finishes bodes well for Canada in 2010, when the world comes to Vancouver. As of today, there are 1,444 days, or roughly four years, until the Vancouver Games. If last month's record-setting effort is a sign of things to come, Canada will be both a hospitable and competitive Olympic host nation. · Our Olympic athletes deserve better. While most of the world's Olympic powers reward top-three finishes with cash, Canada offers its athletes not a penny for their remarkable achievements. It's high time time we started providing a more substantial benefit than personal pride to those athletes who achieve such athletic excellence.