One Vancouverites View of the Olympics
I guess I should start by saying I’m not a avid fan of the Olympics being in Vancouver (grew up in Montreal for the 76 Olympics and the huge debt after) and yet I’m not a rabid detractor of the games as some are who seem to have some very questionable rants about anything Olympic.
Well that being said let’s take a look at the Olympics from my point of view. for the last seven years our city has been preparing to host the games during this time a lot happened: the building boom, oil prices through the roof, the downturn of the economy, a partial recovery are the Canadian issues during those years while the organizing committee (VANOC) was building the venues and fulfilling its promises to the IOC of infrastructure changes it committed the city of Vancouver and BC to, so the IOC would forward their bid for the games. Now here is where many of us Vancouverites became a bit less than enthusiastic about the games coming to our city because at least two of these projects alone added 4 billion dollars to the tab of the games (the sea to sky highway upgrades and the new Canada line skytrain line ) but these alone were not the end of the big spending when VANOC budgeted the security at less than 250 million anyone who bothered to look at Greece’s security budget of 1 billion could tell VANOC was either lieing or not too bright with their quote on the upcoming costs of security.
After a number of years of preparations the games drew closer and as the level of excitement for the games grew at least for the fans and the volunteers who were getting their nice new suites and equipment packages the fan sites started to buzz with speculation on the opening ceremonies and who would light the cauldron while the LOOOOOONG torch run continued to be brought to us each night on the news counting down the days left. unfortunately for myself at least the huge buildup of press coverage which kept gaining force the closer Feb. 12th became was not having the effect of building interest but the opposite I was already getting sick of hearing about how great the games will be. things like the road closures which kept increasing my commute to work every few days was not endearing me to the games.
At this point your probably thinking “this guy doesn’t like the games” that would be untrue the games are a great coming together of (mostly) amateur athletes who have dedicated their lives to the sports they love. but don’t forget this is my point of view.
Feb 12th has finally arrived the city probably had more people take the afternoon off if they could to beat a quick retreat from the city and the expected influx of attendees for the Opening ceremonies than at any other time in recent history. Translink was ecstatic that traffic wasn’t a disaster. The Opening begins we role out a very native heavy spectacle which looked poorly choreographed considering how many different tribal clothes and dances they seemed to have just clumped together which was further marred by the obviously purposely late arrival of the four first nation leaders (seems most natives I’ve talked to felt their late arrival was in bad taste and a slight to natives in general) security had a scare when a man got past the lines of defense to get within a few meters of the US vice president using a faked all area pass. then the Canadian Anthem was sung by a very talented artist yet she decided to jazz up the song which had many people simply not singing along while others were very upset at this rendition of the anthem the start of the ceremonies were looking to be off to a shaky start the entrance of the athletes a fan favorite renewed the upbeat feel and then they added the projection light show which by all accounts as well as my own opinion the star of the show an easy A+ as for the human aspect the best parts I saw were the fiddlers and tap troupes who did great as well as when KD Lang did Hallelujah which all led up to the raising of the temporary cauldron which had technical issues and failed to lift one of the four outside parts all of which made the Opening Ceremonies grade a mere C to C+ it really looked like the organizers were trying to one up china’s opening and couldn’t put forth a really Canadian event because of it.
we’re now at Day 8 of the games as I write this and so far the Canadian athletes are faring really well we got our first ever gold on home soil plus other records which we can all be proud of our athletes for in fact we are pretty much assured more golds than ever before yet the “Own the podium” was and still is a really unrealistic goal we strapped to the backs of our poor athletes who some are obviously folding to the added pressure.
As a Canadian I’m proud of our athletes and how hard they are working to place in their respective sports they all deserve our respect for even making the games same for every countries athletes I’m sure I’ll be glued to the TV or at some outdoor venue watching how they are doing its unfortunate as a vancouverite that we had an Organizing Committee like VANOC run this show for us because one thing after another keeps surfacing and I’m afraid to see what the bill for these few weeks of games will be after everyone has gone home and we need to clean up the mess.