Home > Random/Rants, Sports > Glass-Housed Stone-Slingers: Return Fire for Foreign Olympic Criticism.

Glass-Housed Stone-Slingers: Return Fire for Foreign Olympic Criticism.

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

So many Olympic thoughts running through my brain.  After watching it on TV EVERYday  so far, and even going to Vancouver to see a few events, I gotta say I’m really enjoying the Olympics overall.  I don’t think I’d be

from the CURLING preliminary match I went to.

 wrong to say that most Canadians are as well.  Have you ever seen spontaneous  jubilation in streets, or random outbursts of “O Canada” at curling matches before?  Unreal.  Truly something special; whether you’re viewing from afar, or are there to experience it in person.

Most people internationally would likely say the same thing as well.  Unfortunately, there are a few members of the American and British press who want to rain on everyone’s parade by labelling Vancouver 2010 as the “worst games ever”. 

Sure, the weather hasn’t been ideal; but events have continued, and medals have been awarded.  Sorry we forgot to import the weather machine that does our meteorological bidding.  Our courses are too hard?  The competitors are the best in the world at their sports, right?  Should we make

best Canadian celly so far.

them easier for everyone?  Sorry for training on our own tracks a lot; didn’t know that was such a bad thing.  The world doesn’t like our “Own The Podium” program, where we give more money and training opportunities than we historically have to our Olympic athletes in hopes of them winning a lot of medals?  Oh, sorry, should we just go back to being a mediocre sporting nation for everyone else to roll over like they used to?  What we gave our competitors is still nowhere near that of other nations, and hey, it’s not even working out THAT well for us so far, so chill.  We’re doing alright though, and no one here is going to be less proud of our athletes for any reason.   

A malfunction in the Opening Ceremonies?  Um… whoops.  We swear they were working in practice.  Some people thought the flaming icicles looked like male genitalia, or drug paraphernalia?  Well, think what you want, but be careful what indigenous people you vocalize those opinions around.  No one can get close to the flame?  Hey, they’re working on it.  I got a few good pics; I’m not complaining.  The US beating Canada in men’s hockey?  Wait, that’s Canada’s complaint.  Blame it on the goalies when things go squirrely, right?   

And the death of Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili; well that was simply a tragedy, nothing else.  That track has been ridden countless times safely, and it’s a very unfortunate and sobering example of just how dangerous that sport is.

So England and America, oh yee dwelling in glass houses and flats; how did your prior Olympic Games hostings turn out? 

London’s Olympic Games in 1908 saw England piss off the Finnish, Swedish, and USA by not displaying their flags at the Opening Ceremonies.  Finland decided not to march, and Sweden left all together.  The Americans were then asked to “dip” their flag to the Royals, which they outright refused.  Solid international relations, England.    

The USA’s Games hosting tenures haven’t been “squeaky clean” either.

Atlanta’s 1996’s Summer Games were considered over-commercialized, had a highly criticized Olympic Village and Opening Ceremonies by spectators and athletes alike, and… what else, what else…. OH YEAH, there was a BOMBING that killed 2 people and injured 111 others.   

Salt Lake City’s Winter Games of 2002 were marred by a bribery scandal (all-expense-paid ski trips, scholarships, Super Bowl trips, plastic surgery, deals on real estate, jobs for family members, and cash for IOC delegates from the Utah bid committee)  to bring the Olympics to Utah which saw several IOC members expelled, and others resign.  Allegations of foul play in figure skating judging saw scores and results reviewed and medals re-awarded.  Suspect refereeing in speed skating DQ’ed a Korean, and angered that entire country to the point that the Olympic website crashed from the overload of threatening emails sent to them over the result.  Russians threatened to go home after they felt they were unfairly accused of doping in cross-country skiing.   

Los Angeles’ Games of 1984 were boycotted by 16 countries.  In LA’s 1932 Games, President Hoover became the first head of state in Olympic history not to even show up at the event.  The 1904 Games in St. Louis became a sideshow of The World’s Fair, and lasted four and a half months. 

Now, all that to say to the critics look, we know things have been going wrong.  We’re working on it.  No one said Vancouver 2010 was going to be perfect.  And let’s be honest, everyone throwing stones at us right now has got plenty of skeletons in their own closets from when they tried to host the Olympic Games previously.  Can we at least agree that it’s a rather dubious task?   And London, you get them again in 2012, so you better be expecting an earful the second after the first thing goes wrong.  I’ll take a few unseasonably warm days in Whistler over any of those other issues any day.  There’s just so much good to be taken from these Games, maybe we can all just quit pointing fingers at our follies and just enjoy our athletes rising above the childish media behavior?      

I think US Men’s Hockey Team GM, Brian Burke, said it best with this earlier quote in response to the criticisms of Vancouver 2010:

I think that’s bullshit.  I’ve been to four Winter Olympics. This is the best one I’ve been to in terms of organization. You’re going to have glitches in an event this size. With this many people, logistical things with multiple venues, you’re going to have glitches. I don’t know why people are whining about it.  I think it’s been extraordinarily well run — again, this is my fourth one so it’s not like I’m a novice. I think they’ve done a marvellous job here. I wish people would quit bitching about it.”

Man, for a million reasons, I wish Brian Burke was Canadian.

  1. Billy
    February 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I am totally with you, Dave. I agree 100% with what you’re saying. I am LOVING these games. Crap happens, suck it up!

    • February 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      I knew you were one of the good ones, Billy! I’m sure it helps that you guys are dominating as well 🙂

  2. Chris Forte
    February 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Touche Dave. We’ve been very quick to criticise which is pretty stupid given that your hacks are now have 2 years to rehearse their pithy epithets for London 2012. I like the way you dug all the way back to 1908 to find some dirt on our olympic organising capabilities. Never had the Swedes down as such a sensitive bunch.

    • February 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      Well, it was tough to find much dirt on you Brits, so I had to turn back the clock to make my point; which was only that it’s impossible to host an Olympics mistake-free. It does seem a little dramatic of the Swedes, but I’m sure there’s more to that story than the 2 sentences I wrote about. I’m sure London will do a good job in 2012… though they’re the last people who should be coming down on other countries’ weather!

  3. Chad Hoffman
    February 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Just for the record Dave. As an American, I think everything that has been in human control about the Olympics, Vancouver has done an excellent job handling. Everything else that has not been in control is just stupid for people to complain about. When you put on something that large with that many people, things are bound to go wrong that aren’t in your control. I’ve been really enjoying these winter games.

    • February 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      I think you’re right on the mark, Hoffman. Unfortunately there are a small number of American media members who happen to have a big enough media presence to get their skewed views into the mainstream. I think most Canadians would punch Rick Reily square in the nose given the chance, after what he wrote recently in Sports Illustrated. We know there’s sensible Americans and British out there, but sometimes the negativity makes for a good story and rises to the top.

  4. Stacy
    February 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Yet again I have to agree. The games aren’t over, but to this point the strengths that the games have had FAR outweigh the weaknesses. And if you ask the athletes (those whom the games would not exist without) – they are thrilled beyond belief.

    • February 23, 2010 at 12:53 am

      Beyond some criticism of other teams, I’ve yet to hear one athlete say one bad thing about the Olympics so far. I’d say if anyone’s opinion on the matter counted, it’d be theirs.

  1. February 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm

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