February 4, 2010 3 Comments
DISCLAIMER: the expressed opinion in this blog posting does not reflect the opinions of VANOC. Rather they are the expressed opinions of the author.
I must admit that before coming to work at VANOC, I knew very little about the Olympics.
I never truly followed it much… not to the extent of some of my hardcore-Olympic-fans coworkers that can recite fact and stat like it was their last name.
I got excited over hearing of Canadian success stories such as when Kurt Browning became the world’s first figure skater to land a quadruple toe loop jump in competition (1986); or in 2002 when Team Canada won men’s hockey gold in a 5-2 win over the US – followed by gold for the women’s hockey; or Cindy Klassen’s speed skating wins in Turin that left her competitors wondering what happened; and the men’s curling nail biting sweep in Torino put this strange but unique sport on the map… These are just some of the ones that I can think of without googling the rest.
Honestly… those truly are the moments that stand out for me. I don’t particularly follow other countries – the incentive really wasn’t there honestly. I am Canadian. I root for my country. Red-White Maple Leaf all the way! That perhaps won’t change… but I am much more aware of the global impacts of the Olympics. From the mundane (anti-doping rules) to the exciting must-see athletes… it has taken on a much broader meaning for me. We are all global citizens… and for a brief moment in time, we are one… all competing for excellence and fair play. Politics aside (in most cases), every qualifying athlete has an opportunity to compete for excellence and make their countries proud. It’s very exciting honestly.
So here are some of the events that I have been following, ones that I find exciting (or not so exciting really) and worthy of sharing… while I am sure there are plenty more.
Anti-Doping rules in Italy that I believe ought to be implemented worldwide, for all NOC’s (National Olympic Committees). Would certainly make athletes think twice about doping up for added advantage.
Now who would have thought that Africa would ever participate in a Winter Olympic event? One would venture to say, only when it doesn’t snow in Canada… (well according to David Suzuki, global warming caused it NOT to snow in Vancouver. Forget El Nino… Hmmm… )… would Africa have a skier in the Winter Olympics. Well guess what, mes amis, while Africa has (1) lone skier who qualified for the Olympics. Meet Kwame Nkrumah, of Ghana. His story is pretty spectacular honestly. He did all of this on his own dime… no help from his own country, who pretty much think of him as a mockery. Curiosity dictates that he must be watched. Is he of the same Olympic caliber as his other competitors? Time will tell. But it’s impressive nonetheless.
Sadly though… the Jamaican bobsled team didn’t make the final qualifying rounds for the 2010 Winter Olympics. While they made it into the world top 50 rankings, they needed to be higher up to make all the way to Whistler. Gotta give it them, they hope to make it to Sochi 2014 with a few more teams. Cool runnings, mon!
Another momentous event for me is watching Canadian skier Brian McKeever. Why you ask? Well he is the very first legally BLIND man to qualify and compete in both the Olympics AND Paralympics. This is a historical moment, leading the way for other athletes with disabilities who want/can compete with ‘abled-bodied’ athletes. The fact that he is Canadian, legally blind and will be competing without a guide in the Olympics, is mind boggling to me. I will be looking out for him for sure… and rooting him on, no doubt.
While meteorologist predicted last July that El Niño (you know, the natural weather pattern that circulates warm air from Hawaii up to the Canadian west coast? Yeah, that thing) would greatly impact the Winter Olympics, yet we remained hopeful that, not unlike many a Canadian winters, we would get hit with loads of snow overnight, and voilà – problem solved. But alas, that didn’t happen. So now, David Suzuki claims that it’s global warming and climate change fault. So if I understand this correctly: to make sure we have snow on the West Coast renown for warmer winters and greatly impacted by El Nino… we must eat more granola, recycle and turn off the lights. Yes. That is how we are going to get more snow up on Cypress. Smart plan, Suzuki! Let’s always blame global warming for a naturally re-occurring phenomena that has been happening on the West coast for YEARS. Yes. The lack of snow on Cypress is going to make Canada take the issue of global warming and climate change seriously. Seriously? Ugh. Yes. We, VANOC, must be blamed for that. While we’ve set precedence in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting about 300,000 tons of CO2 of carbon dioxide at the 2010 Games… clearly – it’s clearly: not enough. David Suzuki said so. ‘Nuff said.
Scandal!!! Obama is snuffing the 2010 Winter Olympics… a no show. Instead, he is sending Joe Biden. (Who? Do you know him??? Apparently he’s the VP of USA… rarely seen or heard of in the Obama show) Hmmm… I wonder if the man is a little sore at the IOC for giving the 2016 Games to Rio – loosing out in the first round of cuts?? Jealous little, maybe? The thing is, I really don’t mind. Him not showing up will keep the spot light where it belongs: on Canada. On Vancouver. On the athletes. On the Olympics. Exactly where it belongs. But its not stopping the US from putting up a stink fest, raising unnecessary security fears, instilling fear into Americans coming up to visit Canada – because “we Canadians are sooooo bad with security.” The security level is at an all-time high, mostly because of the US. Or so I believe it is. Military deployment seen only in the likes of Afghanistan are in place. Mostly because the US says… Canadians let in terrorists… and we do not protect our Venues – at least not better than the US could. *Sigh* So go ahead Obama. Send in your B-team instead. He’s no threat to security… no one knows who he is, or cares about him anyways. No. We can now concentrate on protecting the other more important delegate from 40 or so countries… and let Obama be a poor sport about it… while hiding behind the ‘it’s Bidden’s turn to go to Canada. I went last February’ crap. Great neighbour you are Obama?!
The Vancouver Athletes Village was officially opened today at a 7:45am ribbon cutting ceremony, inviting both athletes and delegations alike, along with media to finally setup home for the next month & half. I didn’t make it but I have already done two 10 hrs shifts checking in delegates from around the world into their rooms & ensuring the products & services they bought, were there for them upon check-in. The rest of my days are spent at HQ… pushing out orders and contracts – which don’t seem to end.
Today is also the first official day we all dress in our uniforms, affectionately refered to as ‘the Smurf-look.’ Workforce and Volunteers are all sporting the very blue uniform until the end of the Paralympics (or Olympics, depending on when your term ends)… easily identifyable by everyone. I’ve already been approached by 3 different set of Japanese tourist wanting to buy my stylin’ one-of-a-kind (well more like one of 13,000 made) buy waterproof coat. I’ve been tourist guide and ambassador to my country, city and profession. I sport my button “BONJOUR” to identify myself as a bilingual person, should anyone want to speak to me in French. It is… full Games Time mode… only to get more hectic, as we speed towards opening ceremonies and competition events…
So this post is long enough. Sorry for that.
There is sooo much going on its craziness. Took me 3 days to get this post written because I don’t really have much time to devote to writing, yet here I am. 8 days today and counting… holy crap!
While I am excited at what the next month will bring… I am now dreading the date 28-Feb-10… the date that will end it all for me.
And where I will then start writing a new chapter in my life. But until that time comes, I still have much more to say… and write about.
Enjoy this great animated video by BBC Sport… and let the Games begin!