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So what about them games, eh?

By Oz_Media ·
Despite a rough start that included an opening ceremony 'glitch', rain on Cypress, a most horrific and fatal accident on Whistler's skeleton track, transportation issues (hundreds of people stuck on Cypress waiting for arranged coaches on the first night, a bus full of athletes getting lost in North Vancouver etc.)cancellation of some standing room tickets for Snowboard spectators and the slagging of the Own The Podium program (due to public misconception of its intent), the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games were simply outstanding.

The opening ceremony glitch was humorously sorted out by a stereotypically Canadian mime/clown with a belt full of tools, who got it working again to open the closing ceremony (a little laugh at at our own expense, a little humility and self-deprecation that was recognized and applauded worldwide). Catriona Le May Doan popped out of the floor with her torch and finally got to light the flames.

The sun and crowds came out at Cypress.

The city came alive in a way I haven't seen here in all my years in Vancouver. OTP program got some reprieve as Canada received the most gold medals, in fact the most ever won in Winter Olympics history.

And then there was "The Game"! The Canada US hockey match-up. After losing the opener against the US, Canada had to win 4 straight to get back on the podium. What a game it was, I won't even begin to mock the US team, it was a riveting and exceptionally well played game by both sides. No silly penalties or bad calls resulting in game winning power plays, just 73 minutes of well played and simply incredible hockey.

Between the curling, bobsleigh and hockey alone, the edge of my seat has now become threadbare.

One thing I liked the most was the stories. Athletes assumed to win, often didn't. Athletes assumed to put in a reasonable showing, often won gold.
How Joanie Rochette, after sadly losing her mother who had just arrived in Vancouver for the games, came back two days later and win a Bronze Medal or a flawless performance by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win gold (quite unexpectedly, I now love Tessa too, she's so purrrrdy an all!).

It reminded me of the old Wide World of Sports opening theme, "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat"

It was a way for Canada to show the world what Canadians really are about and I think it shed a positive, new light on a widely misunderstood nation.

So, in the end and despite some initial 'growing pains', it all came to an end with a hilarious closing ceremonies. Sure, some of the acts are bring widely criticized in both the US and Canada,
"Why not Celine?"
"I'm glad they didn't have Celine?"
"Why Nickleback?"
"Nickleback was the best"
"Avril was lip syncing!" (actually 90% of it was, and usually is in live events, including the symphony being dubbed in, for the TV broadcast)

But that is so trivial, it wasn't **** Clarke's New Years Eve Party after all, music was just the finishing touch. They even played the bands in reverse order, most popular to least well known, so that the crowd would filter out gradually and not congest the streets.

The idea was obviously that people would not be complaining about waiting through an hour of lesser known artists in order to see Neil Young or Michael Buble (which NBC interrupted for an hour in order to air a failure of a season opener by Jerry Seinfeld) they will find something else to complain about of course, "Why not (insert favortite Canadian artist here)?"

But one thing that rings true no matter where you stand, it was one for the books. American's dominated the overall medal count by taking an early lead that nobody could catch up to, Germany, the second largest population represented, came close. Norway, with a tiny population, showed incredible sportsmanship and winning spirit to drive up their medal count too, and what about them curling pants! Now that's having a laugh at yourself.

Everyone won in the end, the athletes, the locals, the tourists, the city of Vancouver, and Canada as a whole..and even the TV networks (despite NBC offering HORRIBLE coverage, that has received widespread bashing from upset US viewers)

Even the normally scathing, London, UK media, which initially condemned the games as possibly the worst, are now saying they learned lessons from watching how Canada came together to make it a great Olympic Games. They say they are carefully planning to try and create similar venue locations, atmosphere and "party zones" that hope to duplicate the scene from Vancouver.

It was a Winter Olympics that will be go down in the records as one of the best, or at least that's what the rest of the world seems to be saying, for now.

Sochi, ball's in your court now, have fun with it...and don't worry Russia, you'll win some medals again, once you get your attitudes back on a more positive track.


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by Oz_Media In reply to Hard to imagine a better ...

I think of how a simple set change will create havoc for days or how the PNE/CNE makes a minor change in format or operations and it takes almost the entire fair to get it runnign smoothly again, and these are events that have run for decades on end. the sheer complexity of such an operation is unfathomable to me.

I agree that Catherine was a bit 'scrawly' or something, she had a sort of edge that just was hard to determine as being funny or being bitchy.

Picklesack, well whatever, they lost my support a full year before they released their first CD to the mainstream, not that I liked them much when they more, punk/hillbilly (yeah, an odd one that was).

Bill was alright, I groaned when he started and thought "oh, not THIS again", his overplayed commentary was cute at first but got tiring soon after due to continued radio play. For people outside of Canada it might have been new and humorous though. People were begging for Celine, thank God she was busy stateside trying to get artificially knocked up.

I am surprised Bruce Allen hasn't been all over the radio slamming it yet, he's far more critical and bristling than I am and he's the first to be on the radio after Buble plays a show. He's not one to shy away when contracts try to restrict his saying anything either.

Furlong was painful, but that's the 'cermonial part' so I write is off as expectedly droning on.

Whistler was tough for everyone. They recarved a run and it was not open to tyhem until just before the games, just as other athletes were complaining about, however they were insisting Canadians had more time there. If that's the case, so have US athletes. Vonn, for example, trains in Whistler a lot too. Many other Americans who are within a short flight for a week of training go to Whistler for training and recreation regularly too.

If there's too much snow, they whine about teh surfacing, if there's not enough snow they complain, if it's icy they complain, people just complain, that's what people do by nature when under such pressure to perform. I did expect to see better in Alpine from Canada though, however this isn't the old days of training at Red Mountain, when Steve Podborski and Ken Read owned the slopes. Whistler is a real challenge. the snowboard teams had a horrible season leading into the Olympics. Training was constantly cancelled due to problems at both Cypress and Whistler, I followed their reality show/training doco, Over The Bolts this year, plus they have next to no funding at all, and I'm not talking only a few million for the team but merely several thousand here and there.

I also initially groaned at the giant mounties, inflatable beavers and moose, but then that's what people THINK Canada is like. I do often camp at a small lake where a colony of three have been for years, that's kind cool, but I think downtown Alaska sees more Moose than BC does below the very northern tip or the province. I doubt many people in BC place have ever seen a moose or a beaver, besides the beavers at Vancouver Aquarium. But it was all in fun and I thought the giant table top hockey was great.

We have a bit of a rest, Paralympics begin in 10 days. They are not as sprawled out as these games were though, except for a couple of in town events, they are mainly in Whistler so the traffic will improve and there won't be street closures.

After that, I am in Whistler for a while too, kicking back with friends and working on some serious partying, it'll be nice to see it so quiet. I go up in August for Kokanee Crankworx too, which is more chaos and crowds but it's a scream, especially with all the hotties in the summer. I also stay lakeside then, just outside of the main village so you can escape and relax.

No that I think of it, IT'S CAMPING TIME AGAIN!!!! WOOOHOO! Time to get out of town and enjoy our backyard playhround for a while.

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I hope Barack quietly attends the Paralympics..

by cmatthews In reply to LOL

They let Biden out of the nest for some fun, now in quiet openness, he could be amazed at what paralympians can do when they say "yes we can"
(it would smooth-out some of his character flaws too..)

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Biden, I almost creamed his car!

by Oz_Media In reply to I hope Barack quietly att ...

I was heading southbound down Burrard, with a steady stream of quickly moving traffic. Biden's cavalcade came cruising through the intersection without police escort ahead of him and several cars, including myself, stopped just short of broadsiding his SUV.

By sheer fluke, I happened to be listening to a Roger Waters album at the exact same moment, as they sang The Powers that Be.

"They like a tough game
No rules
Some you win
Some you lose
Competition's good for you
They're dying to be free
They're the powers that be
They like a bomb proof Cadillac
Air conditioned
Gold taps
Back seat gun rack
Platinum hub caps
They pick horses for courses
They're the market forces
(background : Nice car Jack)"

"They like fear and loathing
They like sheep's clothing
And blacked-out vans
Blacked-out vans
Contingency plans
They like death or glory"

Oh the irony!

A for Barrack, they can make all the noise they want, it isn't going to attract much attention besides the normal handful of US protests. Politicians don't garner much attention here, Canada, everyone thinks they are just idiots with jobs.
Wayne Gretzky gains more attention at a ceremony or event that our own PM does, did you even notice Stephen Harper at the Olympic closing ceremonies? Our provincial premier got noticed but only for his two handed "maniacal" red mitten waving and for stuffing the flag in Harper's wife's face.

Obama could have a quiet holiday in Whistler, sure there would be a handful asking for autographs and the pictures, but a paraplegic playing hockey would still take precedence, and well he/she should. :)

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So it was you...

by JamesRL In reply to Biden, I almost creamed h ...

We heard about some nutcase getting close to Biden, didn't realise it was you they were talking about. Maybe he should hire Chretien to be his local bodyguard. He handles protesters very well.


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Ow e does it?

by Oz_Media In reply to So it was you...

'E would take dat guy by da kneck and choke im!

The guy slipped by volounteers for his ticket check, RCMP checked him for guns etc. and he snuck behind security and made it 4' before they grabbed him.

He may have slipped in without a ticket, but not with a weapon. US secret service priased the RCMP too and then they changed the entrance system a bit.

But seriously, some nutter trying to have a few stern words while wagging a red mitten at with him was all you are going to see from Canadia.

Nothing orchestrated from a grassy knoll. :)

"Now der! You listen 'ere and take dat finger wagging in your face, Mr.Big shot, American president type guy! You are blocking my view!"

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One word... Prepotent

by cmatthews In reply to Biden, I almost creamed h ...

I can picture that - I used to live on 14th (below False Creek).
Like I said, I hope Obama makes a quiet-showing to balance things out.. (unlike the other bag-of-wind).
Hope I don't offend anyone here by saying that :-(

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there you go then

by Oz_Media In reply to One word... Prepotent

I am on Burrard heading south, crossing the Georgia Street intersection by Hotel Vancouver. He's heading west along Gerorgia, toward Stanley Park (to Whistler I assume).

Any politician? Bag of wind?
Won my respect.

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Couldn't see enough

by .Martin. In reply to So what about them games, ...

in Australia, channel 7 go an exclusive deal to air it, but guess what? they showed about two hours a day of 'highlights'.

I (and many other Australians) found this really stupid

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I heard about that

by Oz_Media In reply to Couldn't see enough

And it's too bad, you really had some good showings. Even when not in the medals, there were some great competitors! Interviews with Aussie spectators in local pubs were hilarious too, they always are, really put the CRTC editors and lawyers to work, trying to decide what they can and can't air.

I was suprised to hear of the lack of coverage there, as Aussies have a very big presence here, probably our second most popular tourist to Americans.

In Whistler especially, not just for the games, there are a lot of Aussie college students (on an extended walk about?) working everywhere you go, especially bartenders, there's an Aussie bartender in every pub it seems.

I wonder how tight the media will be restricted for the 2014 games though, they'll probably just send out a morese code signal, RUSSIA WINS AGAIN, for every event, whether there are other competitors or not.

See how Putin had a meeting today, condemning his althetes and saying what a disappointment to the country they were?

No wonder Plushenko was such a poor sportsman when he didn't win gold.
Sure he did a quad, but one jump doesn't make for an Olmypic performance.

They are apprently thinking of cutting funding for Russian althetes now due to what he claims was their poor performance.

What I'd love to see now is Canada and US dominate the games in Russia, in front of their own judges and leaders. "What was that you were complaining about in Salt Lake City and Vancouver?" I think China and Korea will exceed in figure skating there too, as the entrants will be even more experienced.

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I remember on my Whistler trip 20 years ago

by JamesRL In reply to I heard about that

Virtually every lift attendent (liftee) was Australian, and they were friendly - G'day, was heard a lot. I'm used to quiet liftees in the east. But apparently not all of them had work permits, and one day we showed to the hill and none of the Aussies were there. The word had gotten out and they had stayed home, they were back later in the week.

As to the downhill courses, yes the course changes every time it is set, but as someone who worked on the same ski hill running races for 8 years, I realize there are also only so many variations you can set.

I was in Whistler during a world cup week, and because I had friends there, I was introduced to the race crew, and I got to take a run down the world cup downhill course. It was pretty amazing.


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