The Olympic Hammer

Last modified on October 7th, 2009

I read an article this morning that basically made me feel bad for being against the Olympics at this stage in the game. It was written by a participant in the games, one who is disappointed with the lack of support in this province:

With a blunt and harsh realization that not everyone with a Canadian passport is brimming over with excitement and anticipation for the sixteen day event in February, I must admit that my bright and shiny optimism has turned a murky shade of grey.

Not because sliding hasn’t been great – it’s been fantastic. I feel in top form on my sled, I am in my best physical shape, and emotionally, I feel complete zen.

My biggest challenge at the moment is surviving life in British Columbia.

To be honest I’m not exactly sure what the people in Whistler dislike more, the fact that I’m Albertan or that I’m a participant in their perceived ‘‘Olympic abomination.’

It’s a double whammy against me. Lose-lose.

I’ve never supported the Olympics in this city. Truthfully, other than watching a few events on TV as a kid, the whole concept has never appealed to me, maybe because I’m completely inept at pretty much every sport that is a part of it. I appreciate that the athletes get a chance to represent their countries, and showcase their abilities to the world, but the Olympics stopped being about the athletes a long time ago. Need evidence of that? How about this:

When the top names on the International Olympic Committee visit Vancouver for the 2010 Games next February, little expense will be spared to see that they’re comfortable and tuned in to virtually every athletic competition underway, CBC News has learned.

Documents acquired through access-to-information requests reveal that IOC president Jacques Rogge will be housed in a five-star waterfront Vancouver hotel, at IOC expense.

In terms of getting around in Vancouver and Whistler, Rogge and other IOC members will get their own cars and drivers, as will members of all the international sports federation bodies.


But where the IOC members get five-star treatment, the documents said accommodation for athletes need only be at the three-star level.

The documents were specific about other requirements athletes must have, including 50 litres of hot water each per day and rooms decorated with children’s art.

TVs in the athletes’ rooms were not listed as a necessity.

So, despite an event that is supposed to primarily be about the athletes, the organizers have demanded five star treatment, and only require three star treatment for the very participants in the events.

This morning on Twitter I saw an article showcasing a cease and desist order the IOC sent to someone who posted their photos online to Flickr. Truthfully, the IOC is correct in this instance — as the photos were taken on private property, the IOC does have the right to control them. But in a world dominated nowadays by the Internet and social media, it does seem like a foolish move on the part of the IOC, and further highlights the true motivation behind the Olympics — money.

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