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Michaelaw
02-06-2010, 09:36 PM
I was against the stupid thing from the get go, but hey it's sports right? Dating clear back to Christians and lions! well here's a couple of articles I just received re the games.

Vancouver's Olympics head for disaster

Two weeks before the games and with police officers on every corner, Vancouver is far from an Olympic wonderland

Douglas Haddow, Guardian UK
Vancouver's Olympics are heading for disaster | Douglas Haddow | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk (http://bit.ly/ctNv1t)

It's now two weeks until the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games, a city-defining event that is a decade in the making. But a decade is a very long time. Much of what seemed sensible in the early 2000s has proven to be the opposite: for instance, allowing investment bankers to pursue profits willy-nilly was acceptable when Vancouver won the bid in 2003, but is now viewed as idiotic. So it comes as no surprise that just days before the opening ceremony, Vancouver is gripped by dread. Not the typical attitude for a host city, but understandable when you consider that everything that could go wrong, is in the process of going wrong.

Vancouver has been continually ranked as the world's most livable city. An Olympic sized-dose of gentrification would only serve to speed up Vancouver's transformation from a livable yet expensive city into a glitzy hotel for international capital. But these neoliberal dreams are now little more than fantasy. In the mid-2000s the games were originally slated to cost a pittance of $660m and bring in a profit of $10bn. This ludicrous projection was made before the market crash – an event that the Vancouver's Olympic committee failed to anticipate.

"The Bailout Games" have already been labelled a staggering financial disaster. While the complete costs are still unknown, the Vancouver and British Columbian governments have hinted at what's to come by cancelling 2400 surgeries, laying off 233 government employees, 800 teachers and recommending the closure of 14 schools. It might be enough to make one cynical, but luckily every inch of the city is now coated with advertisements that feature smiley people enjoying the products of the event's gracious sponsors.

Conservative estimates now speculate that the games will cost upwards of $6bn, with little chance of a return. This titanic act of fiscal malfeasance includes a security force that was originally budgeted at $175m, but has since inflated to $900m. With more than 15,000 members, it's the largest military presence seen in western Canada since the end of the second world war, an appropriate measure only if one imagines al-Qaida are set to descend from the slopes on C2-strapped snowboards. With a police officer on every corner and military helicopters buzzing overhead, Vancouver looks more like post-war Berlin than an Olympic wonderland. Whole sections of the city are off-limits, scores of roads have been shut down, small businesses have been told to close shop and citizens have been instructed to either leave the city or stay indoors to make way for the projected influx of 300,000 visitors.

Vancouver's Olympic committee has also assumed the role of logo police. Librarians are being commanded to feed McDonald's to children while unauthorised brands have been banned from Olympic venues. Worse yet, they've begun to casually slip clips from Leni Riefenstahl films into their Coldplay-soundtracked promotional videos.

This manic mix of hype and gloom is a byproduct of the games' utter pointlessness. For those who have been planning their resistance since 2003, Vancouver is about to become the world's premier political stage. It will be the best chance yet for the Olympics to be derailed and exposed as what they are: a corrupt relic of the 20th century that does little more than gut city coffers and line the pockets of developers and investors. If things go pear-shaped and Vancouverites resort to their riotious ways, at least the city will get its money's worth out of that bloated security force and the ensuing spectacle will boost NBC's slumping ratings. After all, the Olympics are primarily a patriotic event, and in the words of the late Howard Zinn, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism".


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As Olympics near, people in Vancouver are dreading Games

Dave Zirin, Sports Illustrated

As Olympics near, people in Vancouver are dreading Games - Dave Zirin - SI.com (http://bit.ly/5nFDIO)

When I arrived in Vancouver, the first thing I noticed was the frowns.

The International Olympic Committee has leased every sign and billboard in town to broadcast Olympic joy, but they can't purchase people's faces. It's clear that the 2010 Winter Games has made the mood in the bucolic coastal city decidedly overcast. Even the customs police officer checking my passport started grumbling about "$5,000 hockey tickets." Polls released on my first day in Vancouver back up this initial impression. Only 50 percent of residents in British Columbia think the Olympics will be positive and 69 percent said too much money is being spent on the Games.

"The most striking thing in the poll is that as the Olympics get closer, British Columbians are less likely to see the Games as having a positive impact," said Hamish Marshall, research director for the pollster, Angus Reid. "Conventional wisdom was that as we got closer to the Olympics, people here would get more excited and more supportive." If the global recession hadn't smacked into the planning last year, with corporate sponsors fleeing for the hills, maybe the Vancouver Olympic Committee would be on more solid ground with residents. But public bailouts of Olympic projects have decisively altered the local mood.

I spoke to Charles, a bus driver, whose good cheer diminished when I asked him about the games. "I just can't believe I wanted this a year ago," he said. "I voted for it in the plebiscite. But now, yes. I'm disillusioned." This disillusion is developing as the financial burden of the Games becomes public. The original cost estimate was $660 million in public money. It's now at an admitted $6 billion and steadily climbing. An early economic impact statement was that the games could bring in $10 billion. Price Waterhouse Coopers just released their own study showing that the total economic impact will be more like $1 billion. In addition, the Olympic Village came in $100 million over budget and had to be bailed out by the city.

Security was estimated at $175 million and the final cost will exceed $1 billion. These budget overruns are coinciding with drastic cuts to city services. On my first day in town, the cover of the local paper blared cheery news about the Games on the top flap, while a headline announcing the imminent layoff off 800 teachers was much further down the page.

As a staunch Olympic supporter, a sports reporter from the Globe and Mail said to me, "The optics of cuts in city services alongside Olympic cost overruns are to put it mildly, not good."

But these aren't just p.r. gaffs to Vancouver residents, particularly on the eastside of the city where homelessness has spiked. Carol Martin who works in the downtown eastside of Vancouver, the most economically impoverished area in all of Canada, made this clear: "The Bid Committee promised that not a single person would be displaced due to the Games, but there are now 3,000 homeless people sleeping on Vancouver's streets and these people are facing increased police harassment as they try to clean the streets in the lead up to the Games."

I strolled the backstreets of the downtown eastside and police congregate on every corner, trying to hem in a palpable frustration and anger. Anti-Olympic posters wallpaper the neighborhood, creating an alternative universe to the cheery 2010 Games displays by the airport. The Vancouver Olympic Committee has tried to quell the crackling vibe by dispersing tickets to second-tier Olympic events like the luge. It hasn't worked.

The people of the downtown eastside and beyond are developing a different outlet for their Olympic angst. For the first time in the history of the games, a full-scale protest is being planned to welcome the athletes, tourists, and foreign dignitaries.

Bringing together a myriad of issues, Vancouver residents have put out an open call for a week of anti-game actions. Different demonstrations on issues ranging from homelessness to indigenous rights have been called. Protesters from London and Russia, site of the next two Olympics will be there. Expect a tent city, expect picket signs, expect aggressive direct actions. Tellingly, according to the latest polls, 40 percent of British Columbia residents support the aims of the protesters, compared to just 13 percent across the rest of Canada. Harsha Walia of the Olympic Resistance Network said, "We are seeing increasing resistance across the country as it becomes more visible how these Games are a big fraud."

The Games will also coincide with the largest and longest-standing annual march in Vancouver, the Feb. 14 Memorial Women's March meant to call attention to the hundreds of missing and murdered women -- particularly indigenous women -- in British Columbia. The Vancouver Olympic Committee asked the Memorial March organizing if they would change the route of the march for the Olympic Games. As Stella August, one of the organizers with the downtown eastside Power of Women Group, said to me, "We are warriors. We have been doing this for 19 years and we aren't going to bow down to the Olympics."

One thing is certain: if you are in Vancouver, and competitive curling doesn't get your blood pumping, there will be quite the spectacle outside the arena.





Something tells me the far-side of this gaming idea is going to hurt:wall-an:

Bambi
02-06-2010, 09:53 PM
I can't believe that the auther dissed curling!!!! :mad:

okay, do you want to hear something funny? I was thinking about the Olympics the other day and this thought crossed my mind: "I wonder why MAW hasn't said anything about it yet? " :)

I don't disagree with you. I think that we are getting to the point where such incredible expenditures of money cannot be justified. I would be okay if the money was going to the atheletes but it seems that it's going everywhere but there. Also we have countries like China who enroll thousands of children in special schools just to fuel the quest for gold medals. It can be argued that it works out fine for those that do make it (although I have my doubts that it does long term) but for those who don't they are discarded and it's too late for them to pursue a regular education.

I would be happy if we just stuck to the various world championships for sports and gave up on this idea of one big venue.

Michaelaw
02-06-2010, 10:36 PM
I've stayed out of it for two reasons. First I have zero use for sports of any kind and secondly I don't watch telly haven't for going on ten years so I've not been following the money woes of the Olympics. Seven billion dollars could have gone a long way attending to real problems in this city. My feeling now is that we've been had and the fallout from this escapade will border on nasty when all's said and done, but you know me...Always the optimist :laughing:

Mad Aussie
02-07-2010, 12:03 AM
I hate Curling!

JAS_Photo
02-07-2010, 02:34 AM
Oh man, you suck as a Canadian then M.A. Curling can be very exciting.

I can't believe the negative attitudes of the above writers (Not the commenting members).

I love the sports that involve skating and those that involve smoking a joint. ;)

I think Calgary was one of the first cities that really involved corporate sponsorship on a big level and it really paid off for them with some world class venues. Olympic Plaza continues to be a gathering place to this day giving the downtown area life.

Mad Aussie
02-07-2010, 03:19 AM
You serious? Canadians actually like Curling? I think I can confidently say that I've never met another person who admits to liking that 'sport.'

Greg_Nuspel
02-07-2010, 06:03 AM
MA curling is a big thing for many Canadians, in farm communities it is a great pastime for many people. All ages can play it and the beer stays cold. I must admit I don't spend anytime watching it but I don't watch any sports. I prefer to go out and do things instead of watch someone else. I've never like team sports mainly because as a kid I was uncoordinated and sucked at them and boys are so kind about that type of thing.

Back to Curling I used to joke that it would be the only Olympic sport with Olympic size ashtrays at each end of the rink.

casil403
02-07-2010, 07:55 AM
When we only had 2 or 3 TV channels back in the day, curling was a regular Saturday afternoon sport on TV in Canada....curling in the afternoon, Hockey Night in Canada in the evening. :thumbup: I've never played, but I don't mind watching it...reminds me of being a kid. :)
It's was also a real winter social thing for people up here. Go down to the local curling club in the winter, suck back some beer and sweep a few rocks. Pretty much every town had a local curling rink/club....curling club and a legion!;)
I guess you could say it is a part of our heritage...at least I remember it. :o

On the Olympic topic...I don't really watch it anymore...too commercialized with ads everywhere and many professional players playing what is/used to be considered an amateur sporting events. It's all about winning/owning the podium and making money now at all/any cost...IMO....just really doesn't interest me.

Bambi
02-07-2010, 09:20 AM
You serious? Canadians actually like Curling? I think I can confidently say that I've never met another person who admits to liking that 'sport.'
:eek::mad::eek:

Well let me say that not only do I like curling I do it twice a week!!! :p

Husband talked me into it when we moved to the town we live in as a way to meet people. 14 years later, he no longer curls and I'm still at it.

My definition of curling is that it's where physics meets chaos theory. :wall-an:

That said it's a lot of fun, low impact and yes, it keeps your drink cold while you play.

Virtually every town in canada can be guaranteed to have two things: a hockey rink and a curling rink.

Mad Aussie
02-07-2010, 01:16 PM
Wow ... well there you go. This really helps me to understand why Curling is in the Olympics now. It's such a slow, boring to watch sport, but in icy climates I guess it's a vital way to get some sort of exercise for mind and body.

Kawarthabob
02-07-2010, 01:25 PM
I don't want to take anything away from the athelets as they do work hard to achieve the right to represent their country and compete against the world's best. That being said, the Olympic bids have become a farce. Starting from the IOC and continueing down to the city level of government. Greed overwhelms the city council and the private sector is not free of this sin either. Since we learned that the games would take place in the city of Vancouver , people have been told their rents would increase exponentially and have been forced out in the cold. Some landlords are looking to get what they would get in a year in just over a week in rent. Tenders have been given out and the construction almost finished with most if not all coming in overbudget. In the real world we would take these companies to court if they didn't finish the job as per their legally quoted bid for the job. We are now seeing grafitti stating " RIOT 2010" and are being told by the media that some groups are intending on disrupting the games with any means necessary. This should make for some interesting photo's from anyone who lives out there. It could even launch a career in photojournalism if you're lucky. I for one am glad that Toronto didn't get the bid for the games.;) As for curling....... I will support any games that keep your beer cold:1st:

JAS_Photo
02-07-2010, 01:48 PM
Wow ... well there you go. This really helps me to understand why Curling is in the Olympics now. It's such a slow, boring to watch sport, but in icy climates I guess it's a vital way to get some sort of exercise for mind and body.

Oh, man it's not boring. One rock changes everything.



As for the above comment about the media. The media has a tendency to propel ill well and panic, and after succeeding, big run headlines to proclaim "We told you so!"

Bambi
02-07-2010, 03:59 PM
Oh, man it's not boring. One rock changes everything.



As for the above comment about the media. The media has a tendency to propel ill well and panic, and after succeeding, big run headlines to proclaim "We told you so!"


yeah JAS. Most sports are boring to watch if you don't understand them. I look at a car race and think 'well there they go around the circle again' *yawn*
But that's it MA. When you come to Canada I am dragging you to my club and letting you give it a go.

Mad Aussie
02-07-2010, 05:58 PM
But that's it MA. When you come to Canada I am dragging you to my club and letting you give it a go.
I better be able to bowl over arm then! And if there isn't some loon down the end ready to whack it out of the park then I'm going photo shooting instead!

casil403
02-07-2010, 06:15 PM
Maybe curling for us is like cricket for your country. :) Now that's a sport I don't understand! :shrug:

crystalb
02-07-2010, 09:29 PM
I'm with you MA, curling is not my thing but 'each to their own' :)

The ridiculous over spending for the Olympics is unacceptable, I think. What is the point of setting a budget if you aren't going to try to stick to it?

It is pretty bad that the education of children are at risk, with all the teachers getting laid off, just because Canada wants to 'keep up with expectations'. Who says that the Olympics has to be bigger and better each year? So much for the whole 'carbon footprint' problem... I think the next place that hosts the Olympics should do it 'retro' style. It would definitley would be interesting.... ;)

Bambi
02-07-2010, 09:39 PM
I better be able to bowl over arm then! And if there isn't some loon down the end ready to whack it out of the park then I'm going photo shooting instead!

sure MA. I'd love to see you take a 40lb rock and lob it over hand. Of course you'd mark the ice and that's a big no-no.

Seriously curling is a support of finesse and strategy. It's quite fascinating once you get to know it.

Mad Aussie
02-08-2010, 02:08 AM
Cricket ... it's a lot like watching baseball on valium really. Or grass growing. Or Curling! I hate it. Poncy ass game.

If I had a go at Curling I'd liven it up by throwing rocks at those morons who want to keep sweeping the course!! :headslap:

Fortytwo
02-08-2010, 03:31 AM
I'm going with MA here. Beside being hilarious to watch, curling doesn't do much for me either. Guess it's really a Canadian thing...

Mad Aussie
02-08-2010, 03:39 AM
I could be wrong, but as far as I'm aware, the rest of the world groans when Curling is shown on TV ;) Mind you ... we also wonder why the hell Sychronized swimming is in the Summer Olympics too! :)

Fortytwo
02-08-2010, 05:26 AM
we also wonder why the hell Sychronized swimming is in the Summer Olympics too! :)

Ehm, fit women in bathingsuits stretching their legs... :angel:

Greg_Nuspel
02-08-2010, 06:46 AM
Everyone has their sport, soaring was in the Olympics but it isn't a good spectator sport so it doesn't bring in the crowds. This is changing with new technology, two years ago the New Zealand (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgT6RA9v7eY&feature=related)competitions were broadcast and with on board cameras people saw how amazing it is to fly along a mountain ridge (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccL8SwQLuPU&feature=fvw)at well over 100 miles an hour with your wing tip just a few feet from the rock face. The thrill of being in a gaggle of 20+ sailplanes sharing the same thermal, diving for the start where if you go to fast you learn all about flutter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQI3AWpTWhM). But then for some why would you want to do this?

Marko
02-08-2010, 07:57 AM
We had the Olympics in Montreal in 1976.

It took THIRTY FRIGGEN YEARS for the city of Montreal to finish paying for our Olympic stadium. To this day many Montrealers (including me) call our stadium the big owe. It's a cold ugly building. All thoughout my youth I heard about this stupid building... roof never came with the building, tried to add the roof, first roof didn't work...on and on....for DECADES.

Mismanagement, corruption, and private interest on the backs of taxpayers....you know, all the usual suspects.....30 years to pay off something that happens for a few weeks.... For what? a good highlight reel? .....pure stupidity. Not worth it.

I sure as hell hope Vancouver does not suffer the same fate. Hopefully it will pay off its inevitable debt within a few years, not 30.

CTV Edmonton - Montreal still paying for the 1976 Summer Games - Canadian Television (http://edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20060717/olympics_montreal_060717?hub=Edmonton)

Greg_Nuspel
02-08-2010, 08:11 AM
I always thought Calgary didn't have debt but read this article (http://2010watch.com/articles/fantasy.html).

Marko
02-08-2010, 09:16 AM
Good link Greg.

Kawarthabob
02-08-2010, 10:56 AM
I better be able to bowl over arm then! And if there isn't some loon down the end ready to whack it out of the park then I'm going photo shooting instead!

Or maybe they should introduce tackeling or even some sort of contact and a goalie!

Bambi
02-08-2010, 04:07 PM
I'm going with MA here. Beside being hilarious to watch, curling doesn't do much for me either. Guess it's really a Canadian thing...


actually it was invented in Scotland....

JAS_Photo
02-08-2010, 04:36 PM
I always thought Calgary didn't have debt but read this article (http://2010watch.com/articles/fantasy.html).

Let's just add this bit as well:

However, the games fuelled an endowment fund of $70.5 million that is now worth $185 million and continues to fund sport in a variety of ways. Additionally, the Calgary Olympic Committee (OCO) gave the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) $40 million, which after investment is now worth $110 million; those funds assist the COC's $8 million annual contribution to national teams, coaches and athletes and permits its existence as a self-sustaining organization that does not rely on government funding.[2]

Infrastructure
Five world class facilities were built for the games, and several others were improved.

Nakiska at Mt. Allan
Olympic Saddledome
Olympic Oval
Canada Olympic Park
Canmore Nordic Centre
Eight national teams use Calgary or Canmore as a home base, and Calgary has hosted 200 national and international competitions between 1987 and 2009 because of its Olympic facilities.[3]

Of 30 world records in speed skating, 17 of them have been set at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, considered the fastest ice in the world.[4]

Social
There was a substantial social impact as well. From the unprecedented volunteer involvement in staging the Games, a program was put in place where ordinary Calgarians could purchase, for $19.88 in the summer of 1986, a brick at the main medal presentation plaza called the Olympic Plaza with their names laser-engraved on it. The involvement of ordinary Calgarians was evident. This was of paramount importance to the organizing committee, OCO'88, as it kept the Games from appearing distant and "out of reach".

Part of making the games accessible to all Calgarians were the medal awards held at Olympic Plaza each night.

The atheletes received the medals at the Plaza at the end of each day. That along with other entertainment brought out up to 35,000 Calgarians each night. Also, Stephen Avenue was a busy social hub filled with locals, visitors and athletes (not hurt in the least by the unseasonably warm chinooks). Exchanging pins was extremly popular and everyone tried to get as many pins from other countries as they could.

The movie "Cool Running" starring John Candy was inspired by the Jamaican bobsled team competeing in the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics. And who can forget "Eddie the Eagle"? or "The Battle of the Brians"? or Canada's figure skating sweetheart, Elizabeth Manning?