It's hard to hear & see everything going on, while the ringmasters hold center stage & shout their boasting of what sights & events lay ahead: "We will be amazed, entertained & quite possibly shocked, but OH, won't it be wonderful?! We'll cherish the memories for years!"
At least, that's what we're supposed to take from all the smoke & mirrors delivered to us via government & corporations.
Don't get me wrong, I fully enjoy & respect athletes for their abilities, their dedication, their individual & National pride, however, it's hard to view these Winter Games only for the love of sports, yet turn a blind eye from the negative impacts B.C./Canada has suffered & will continue to do so for many years to come.
If only I could just wave my flag, cheer for my hometown guys & gals, and pretend that 'this' is what the Olympics are all about! I love our athletes & if I were of a religious nature, I would say God-Bless them. They are, without a doubt, definitely 'doing us proud'!
On a few other positive notes; it's infectious & enjoyable to get caught up in the excitement of the competitions. To converse with friends & strangers over medal standings, observations, the stories behind the athletes....that in itself, is gold.
Then I must mention the world-class venues built for the host city & her athletes of 2010, to be utilized & enjoyed by future hopefuls. It's feels pretty great to have something so new & shiny...I get that.
Now, back to the ugliness of it all. The underlying costs, greediness & undemocratic nature of this beast. Now, I may have my facts off from actual figures, but I'm pretty sure I'm close....
2% of the B.C. population were given the right to vote whether or not to host these Games, of which, they obviously won, by approx. 60/40. The voters were actual Vancouverites, not citizens of Vancouver's 25 surrounding communities, nor the populations held on Vancouver Island or the cohabitants of the remaining 4 large regions of B.C. I can pretty well assure you, had the rest of the Province had a say, or even just a few more of those communities, you would not be watching this year's Olympics in Vancouver. A democratic vote? Not bloody likely.
OK, so now onto the projected spending.
I seriously cannot type those words without yelling a "HAH!" out loud.
In 2006, it was reported that approx 2.5 billion dollars would be spent on 2010 Olympics....spending to date: an estimated 6 BILLION dollars! Short term tourists spending is projected to be close to one billion & oh, let's not forget about future international attraction coming to B.C. We may just get this paid off in a few decades!
And lastly, for now, the corporations or as they prefer to be named; "The Sponsors".
Let's see....35 corporate sponsors are named the "Official Sponsors" & for receiving exclusive marketing rights, we are bestowed with their blasting of products & services. VANOC will make damned sure of that! To the point of ridiculousness, I say.
A small example: Vancouver's Public Library employees were told that if they were hosting any kind of gathering/event for businesses, other than the sponsors, that all logos had to be completely hidden or covered. Fines for not following these procedures were 'implied'.
Another: Very minimal food/refreshments were available on Cypress mountain, for the hundreds of spectators that waited for hours to even get to the venue. Mostly because of the red-tape unofficial vendors had to go through to provide a service for this International crowd. Families with children, ended up turning around and missing their ticketed events, to ensure their kids some nourishment. Businesses all over Olympic areas were bullied & threatened legally by these sponsors over such things as selling their hamburgers, with the name: 'hamburger'. Instead having to get creative by selling this item using a different name, such as, 'buffalo sandwich', which I'm sure, did not appeal to most. Since when did McDonald's have the exclusive right over the word, hamburger?
Don't even get me started on the statement the government made, promising the world, the "Greenest" Olympics yet! Lets just ask David Suzuki, shall we?
I'm sorry if I've rained on your Olympics parade, but this to me, has been more about a corporate marketing circus & the all-mighty dollar.
"Go Canada Go"........"Do YOU believe?"
Speaking of the Olympics:
Jim Richards from the Jim Richards Showgram, of Toronto's radio station NEWSTALK 1010, will be broadcasting his show this Friday, live from Vancouver, with special guest host, George Stroumboulopoulos. I've been told they may be discussing/watching the Men's hockey finals.