Register Wednesday | February 28 | 2024

Vancouver Olympics Reax II

Colby Cosh

Canadian journalists covering the Games have, virtually to a man, accepted the premise that the Games provide an accurate moral, artistic, and technical reflection on Canada as a whole. I don’t remember signing that contract, and if I were going to sign one with a city and its business and volunteer communities, I wouldn’t have chosen Vancouver. Are you kidding? Place is screwy! As it happens, Alberta already staked its international reputation on a Winter Olympics, thanks, and did fine. The rest of you are quite welcome to let yourselves be judged on the basis of this fiasco, but as far as I can see, you haven’t been asked.

William Houston

Jamie [Campbell] utters “this great country,” regularly during his play by play, presumably to inform us that he loves Canada, to remind us it’s a great country and that he is very patriotic. It’s the sort of language you might hear from a hack politician, but not a good sports broadcaster. But it’s all part of the cheerleading package. Nobody at CTV seems to have bothered telling him it’s a bad idea.

Seth Klein

The Games may produce a marginal increase in tourism for a few years. But in the longer term, I can’t stop wondering this –- in a world wrestling with climate change and peak oil, are people really going to be traveling like this, or will rising oil prices make the cost of air travel prohibitive? I suspect the days of destination ski travel and global tourism as we’ve seen it in recent decades are numbered.

Don Martin

There's no obvious explanation for why London reporters are the most caustic of the contingent, having elevated Vancouver-bashing into an unofficial Olympic sport.  Perhaps they're dreadfully bored. After all, the BBC alone has more personnel at the Games than the kingdom's entire 52-member Olympic team. 
Joshua David Stein

Once airborne, the skiers lean acutely into the wind beyond, like matadors of the air. They hold steady and still, the white ground reflected orangely in their ski goggles whirrs below them. For those of who appreciate the simple things in life--warm chocolate cookies, tax refunds, Fred Sandback's string sculptures--the pure geometric simplicity of the sport is refreshing: two parallel planes, separated by a parabola, like a high school physics diagram made real. For those more metaphorically inclined, the striving ascension is a reminder of man's hankering for transcendence of this realm of shadows and gravity. It's Icarus on Ice.

Christopher Hitchens

Though I didn't think the story belonged in the news section at all, I did learn today that there's not enough snow for this bloatedly funded spitefest in Vancouver and so they'll be choppering some white stuff in from the north. That at least might be momentarily interesting to watch (Haitians in particular would, I bet, be riveted to see it). Meanwhile, with millions of other don't-care people, I won't be able to escape the pulverizing tedium of the events themselves. Global warming never seemed a more inviting prospect. Let it not snow, let it not snow, let it not snow.

Elvis Stojko

Figure skating gets no respect because of outcomes like this [awarding the gold medal to Evan Lysacek]. More feathers, head-flinging and so-called step sequences done at walking speed – that’s what the system wants. I am going to watch hockey, where athletes are allowed to push the envelope. A real sport.

Timothy Egan

There may be no more heart-stopping view in all the world than the glimpse to the west, toward the distant Strait of Georgia, from the span of Lions Gate Bridge, which links Vancouver to its northern suburbs. The pan-Asian cuisine of British Columbia, built around a bounty from the sea, forest and prairie, puts London and Hong Kong to shame. And the cheeky sensibility of Canadians — without the British snarkiness — is a fine colonial legacy. Vancouver is Manhattan with mountains. It’s a liquid city, a tomorrow city, equal parts India, China, England, France and the Pacific Northwest. It’s the cool North American sibling. If only, and this holds true for the rest of Canada, it didn’t feel the need to blush.