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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.

Go-Canada-Go!

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Yeah housing is cheaper

by Oz_Media In reply to Yeah, that's my plan

I know that US housing is somewhat cheaper stateside. Then again, a mansion in Iraq would be a pretty good price too, I would assume.

I guess you get what you pay for, except teh silly pricing I offered for Vancouver homes and condos, that's insanity. But between moving to the BC interior and moving to NewJersey, or Detriot, or (insert US state here) is not exactly comparable. Our CITY population is a mere fraction of yours, our suburban population density is barely measurable in comparisson, but the BC interior would be like being completely stranded in comparisson to living within 50 miles of a US city.

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Sense of Humor

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

I was chatting online with a friend and watching the closing ceremonies, when I saw the Mime. I told him to put the TV on NBC. His comment was, "See, I told you Canadians had a sense of humor!"

I thought the opening ceremonies were great. The only thing is that the Torch thingy with the glitch looked like a bunch of lit doobies. I imagined the artists sitting around and one saying, after he took a good puff, "Duuuude. I know. Let's have 4 giant doobies come out of the floor, then when they are lit, they can light a giant bong. That would be cool."

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I hate mimes

by JamesRL In reply to Sense of Humor

I was kinda hoping Katrina LeMay Doan (who was the one left without a cauldron to light in the opening) would accidentally set fire to the mime - now that would be entertaining....

The torch thing really captured Canadians. In 1988 you had to run the Torch one kilometre, which not everyone could handle, and the route was much shorter. This time it was much shorter for each participant, and the route was much longer, many more people participated, and big parties were organized in many communities. I have a pin for singing at the celebration in my city. It was a big deal, thousands came out to see it.

James

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Mimes

by Oz_Media In reply to I hate mimes

He wasn't really the typical mime though. HE was more of a clown from Cirque Du Soliel, Cirque also provided many of teh acrobats and even a few of the people in the Russian Zorbs (those bouncy balls full of lights that people ran around in like mouse wheels.

I don't normally care for mimes either, but as most Cirque clowns don't speak strong English, they are a muted group. Plus, what good is some guy making noise in a Stadium that seats 66,000, not including the floor space. That's why the shows are lip sync too, the sound there is simply abysmal.

As for the torch relay, that REALLY got things going, one small community at a time. After seeing it come through towns of a few thousand, if not a few hundred, those people had to tune in to see it arrive in BCPLace and then were glued to the games. I think it was a brilliantly thought out and almost immaculately organized production throughout The many thousands of volounteers (the blue jacket people) have been priased globally for helping to execute a perfect games, and well they should be. It's hard to smile and be helpful all day when people are nice one minute and in your face the next, and the thousands of people they dealt with while out in the weather. My hats off to them all.

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I was glad for Vancouver

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

I've written on here before about being "stuck" in Vancouver when the 9-11 attacks occurred. The people couldn't have been more accommodating and caring. With that in mind, I was quite pleased to see that the games went off very well; and the hockey played was phenomenal (not just the gold medal game, but high-level throughout...BIG BOOS to NBC for relegating games to MSNBC).

On the other hand, the only negative about the Olympics overall is that there isn't a strong anti-rooting interest anymore for me (sometimes, it is just as much fun to root against someone as it is to root for someone...ask any Cubs or White Sox, Mets or Yankees fan about that). Back when I was a kid, you had the USSR and East Germans (nothing says 'sexy' like women who look like cavemen with bad back acne...woo hoo). The political tension seems to have been removed from the games. Maybe that is a good thing.

NOTE: Yes, I am perfectly aware that for many, the US is now the Big Bad Olympic guy. Still, if someone defeats the US in an event, like Argentina's basketball team in 2004 or Canada in this past Hockey tournament, I'm more inclined to say 'good for them' than I am to harbor any ill will.

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Don't you mean LOOOOOU's ?

by Oz_Media In reply to I was glad for Vancouver

There are no booos in Vancouver, we LOOOOOOOOOU.

Seriously though, there was almost more excitement over teh CAN vs Russia game, simply due to the long rivalry in world hockey games from teh cold war. That game meant more to Canadians at the time.

However, when many records were on the line and it's teh final Olympic game, all heads turned to defeating the US.

In an INternational games, it i ssimply poor sportsmannship to boo anyone competing at that level, and people were more inclined to priase the USA hockey team than trash talk them.

Now make it a regular season NHL game, and things change very quickly. Believe me, nobody will be supporting you then and trash talk runs wild.

I think people just have more respect when so many visitors are in town, it's pretty classless to downplay a team at that calibre in an international games.

Face it, NOBODY in the entire Olympics games can actually be said to have sucked at what they do...well, there was Nickleback but even that I'll take with a grain of salt.

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Definitely a good display of good sportsmanship!

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Don't you mean LOOOOOU's ...

I made sure I pointed out some things during the Olympics to my oldest girl )about to turn 7). The handshakes at the end of the hockey game were a great opportunity to talk about sportsmanship; especially since the Blackhawks were well represented (see, honey, they just played against each other, but will play with each other in the next game).

Still glad Chicago didn't get the games, though. Daley (our mayor) would have #$%^ed it all up somehow!

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If you liked that

by JamesRL In reply to Definitely a good display ...

If you watched any of the newer snow sports, like moguls or aerials, they had three seats at the bottom. The top three would sit in those seats waiting for the others to come down.

Most of the time, when someone posted a fast time, everyone stood up, and the new fast person hugged everyone, including the person who got bumped. This was men and women from different countries, congratulating each other even before the race was over. Mostly because in these type of events, you are really competing against yourself.

When Canada mens hockey team defeated Russia, they were not so gracious. The handshake thing is tradition, but the words between them vary. If its quiet, its not a good sign. The Russians didn't say a word, even though some of the people they were shaking hands with were NHL teammates.

To me the Olympic are supposed to be about excellence and performance not just national pride. One of the Canaidan speed skaters missed at a distance which isn't her best, but she was very happy, because she improved her personal best time. Thats the right attitude.

When Canadian Jenn Heil got silver in moguls, she had a great run, best run so far, and worthy of a gold. Then an American skier, who had challenges in previous Olympics and never medalled, had a truly amazing run. My kids were moaning, but I corrected them, there is no shame in coming silver after someone does an incredible job and takes gold.

James

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Too true

by Oz_Media In reply to If you liked that

And by the reaction of Jenn Heil, you'd have thought she actually DID win gold.

I think the best examples of just how closely matched they all are, were set with bobsleigh and cross country 50KM.

Bobsleighs coming in and splitting times by HUNDREDTHS of a second, now THAT'S competition of the world's finest. What gripping runs they all had.

Then there's the mens 50K nordic, MAN what a marathon. It is actually said to be the most physically demanding sport of all Winter Olympic sports.
Canada came in with an AMAZING 5th place finsh, but after over 2 hours of skiing a 50km course, the differnce between Gold and 5th place was a mere 1.5 SECONDS! That's truly remarkable.

Man, those are athletes!

Unfortunately Brian McKeever was told he wouldn't be racing in the event at the last minute. The only man to compete in both Winter Olympics and Paralympic games (due to blindness), I will be looking for him over the next few weeks when the Paralympics are on and rooting for him to win this one.
See now, THAT is one of those great 'stories'I was referring to earlier, one blind man competes in TWO world games for Canada.

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A shot at Nickelback?

by Slayer_ In reply to Don't you mean LOOOOOU's ...

I thought he looked less gay than usual. Still has almost no vocal range however.

Burn it to the ground was probably not an appropriate Olympic song...

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