Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fellow Canadians we have to stop saying we’re sorry!

So there is grumbling from some quarters that the Vancouver Olympics haven’t been perfect. Big deal! The big beefs are weather and transportation.

Vancouver is experiencing the mildest January on record. Weather is a factor in every Olympic and guess what – you can’t go anything about it. No one has invented a mechanism for redirecting frigid Arctic air. If they knew how to, I happen to know where they can find a lot of hot air that needs chilling. In the meantime, how often do you get to wear shorts at a Winter Olympics.

Every Olympics also have some transportation issues. As I recall the Atlanta Olympics was a nightmare. Let’s face it you typically will have some problems when you have to transport a whole lot of people quickly around an already congested city. Usually the bugs are worked out after a couple of days. A lot of buses have been crapping out. Organizers said Monday that 100 new buses had been ordered to replace vehicles leased from California (the engine were probably made by Pontiac) that appeared to be having mechanical issues.

Some in the international press have labeled the ‘Own the Podium’ program as arrogant nationalism and contrary to the Olympic spirit. Not true. The program was aimed to provide enough funding to athletes so that we wouldn’t be embarrassed on the world stage as we were in 1976 and 1988. Nonetheless, our funding pales compared to some countries. The program was also intended to encourage Canadian athletes to believe in themselves. If you want to see arrogance, trying checking out an NBA game some time soon.

Over the weekend several American friends kindly reported back to me that the opening ceremony was boring. It wasn’t like Beijing two years ago. Well no apologies from me that we didn’t spend $0.5 billion on a 3 hour show. We didn’t have a thousand drummers (likely prisoners chained together) wearing diapers. We didn’t have dissidents picked up and jailed for the duration of the games. We just had a very low key, Canadian production that highlighted Canadian heritage and culture. I thought it was moving. If you didn’t like it then you could have switched to that culturally-challenged karaoke show, American Idol. Now that is entertainment. If you couldn’t appreciate that inspirational performance of “We Are More” by Shane Koyczan well that’s just too bad. I’m not sorry.