Olympic-esque Blog Day 1

Don’t think I can do a blog post on each day of the games but Day 1 was a big one.

First for the bad news of the death of the Luger from Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili.  Heard about it before I headed to the station last night for my show.  Had to mention it during the show since I’m sure some listeners would’nt have heard it before they flicked it on tv  that night.

Olympics will do things that just make you go nuts.  For instance overnight they put out an international press release pretty much saying the accident was Nodar’s fault and not the track.  Somehow the investigation has wrapped up in less than 12 hours and they’re going to run on the track as scheduled today.  They go from honoring him during the ceremony to throwing his name under the bus.  Classy.

I’ll move onto a lighter topic the Opening Ceremony. I don’t sit through opening or closing ceremonies of any Olympics since Salt Lake in 1996.  Had to draw the line in the sand after the “talking dinosaurs” that year.  Which lives on thanks to YouTube.  Donny and Marie Osmond as Dinosaurs.  Nothing in Vancouver’s opening or closing will top this when it comes to embarrassing.


Wow. How that got through a planning stage and part of an actual event is amazing.

Saw bits and pieces of last night.  Some East Coast content.  I would like to say Sarah McLachan “sang” but you can’t escape the lip synching at these things.  Last night seemed like a bad night for all of them.  Always heard BC Place was horrible for acoustics so it was fitting in a way.

Oh…. the torch hydraulics screw up at the end.  You’ve got to be kidding.  $20 Million spent on the ceremony last night but not apparently enough on a little detail at the end.  The lighting of the damn thing.  You might want to throw some cash that way to make sure it works.  Insane.

Gretzky being the choice at the end I thought was wrong.  Betty Fox all the way.  They went with “most famous” as opposed to anything else.  Wayne didn’t even medal in the one games he competed in.  Some will say he put together the Gold medal team.  Picking a bunch of millionaire hockey players to compete against other millionaires isn’t that impressive to me.  He also put together that team that finished 7th place 4 years ago too.  They don’t like to mention that.

I’ve never followed Men’s Hockey at the Olympics since the pros came in.  Didn’t even watch 2002 US-Canada Gold Medal game.  Our rich guys better than theirs?  Who cares.  At their own tournament that’s one thing.  But the Olympics are different.

Also the hockey overshadows the other sports for Canadians.  Most people remember how well or badly the hockey team did in a given Olympics first. “Did a speed skater win some medals last time?  Ummm, ya I remember that a bit.”

Not a very positive post to start things out but you can’t blindly be “rah-rah-rah” less than a day after the death of an Olympian.  I’ll leave you with a column Jody Vance wrote two years ago.  Saying Jody’s not a fan of BC Place is putting it mildly.  It was built in 1983 and I think that had something to do with the problems.  I read last summer an elevator used by CFL staff wasn’t working for close to 3 months at the stadium. Jody got the Super Bowl wrong but she got this right.

How can Vancouver top Beijing?

The big Olympic hand-off from Beijing 2008 to London 2012 went like everything else in China did over the course of the ’08 Summer Games: Like clockwork.

But before the Brits take over, in just 18 short months the Olympic torch will be lit right here on Canadian soil when the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics begin.

I’m nervous. Are you nervous?

Can Canada top what was achieved in China?

Beijing proved to be pretty close to perfect over the course of the Olympics of 2008 — it’s an almost impossible act to follow.

Follow it we shall.

My biggest worry is the opening and closing ceremonies in 2010. Did you know they will, in part at least, be held at B.C. Place Stadium?

B.C. Place is, hands-down, my least favourite sports venue on the planet. It’s void of personality and, for now, has an immovable roof — in a city where the temperature rarely dips below -5 C!

Yes, there are plans for a retractable roof as part of a renovation outline that’s also key to Vancouver’s MLS bid, but I didn’t like this place when it opened as the jewel of Expo ’86 and after years of covering sporting events there, I like it even less today.

How can B.C. Place deliver an experience even close to that of the likes of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest?

It boggles the mind that landing the Olympics wasn’t considered the ideal opportunity to knock that sucker down and put up a stadium worthy of both beautiful British Columbia and the Olympic Games.

It’s too late now, of course, and the compromise is that the opening and closing ceremonies will be “split” between downtown Vancouver and Whistler.

I have great faith in the Vancouver Olympic Committee and its plan to present a seamless and stellar experience showcasing the ultraunique culture that is the Pacific coast of Canada.

But, to get past that whole B.C. Place vs. Bird’s Nest thing will be next to impossible.


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