I'd like to thank Ruth Ann Harnisch for a little push to put thoughts on the Olympics "down on paper". Much appreciated!
As residents of this amazing part of the world, our 2010 Olympic experience actually started in 2003. That was the year Vancouver was awarded the Winter Olympics. And, in the past seven years, the Olympics has loomed larged. The provincial media has dilligently covered all the planning and provincial government officials have never missed an opportunity to extol all the benefits for British Columbia. A lot of BC commmunities have benefited from various Olympic related programs and pre-event events.
Still, the Olympics have also been very controversial. From sponsorship heavy handedness to concerns about misplaced priorities to concerns about the incredible costs, many people have been worrying.
Pre-Olympics, I was mostly in the camp of the worriers. I also felt that some relatively grassroots community priorities were being replaced by Olympic driven spending items. Transit planning in Vancouver, in the past years for example, has been largely planning for these past two weeks. I do think some social concerns were given more resources because of the games.
But, a funny thing happened once the games began. I started to get excited because everyone around me started to get excited. I was concerned that we could spend money going to the Olympics to help address homelessness, but then I was volunteering at a homeless shelter and witnessed two fellas talking with great pride and excitement about Canada' golds. This made me think.
Canada did have this "own the podium program". I didn't get too into that , but I personally feel watching people at top of their game from any country is an incredible treat. It makes me think of excellence, makes me want to be more excellent, and makes me wonder how I can be more excellent.
With great glee, I watched hockey, ice dancing, skiing, curling, and bobsledding. All on my tv, didn't get to Vancouver (and I even kind of regret not going to take in the incredible energy almost everyone who was there has spoken of).
The games are of such a magnitude and have so many dimensions that is really hard for me to say "I love" or "I hate" the games.
In the end, I am proud we were good hosts. I don't really get into this competition for world supremacy in sports, but as an exhibition of excellence and an exciting, energetic, and (yes) unifying events, I really enjoyed the Vancouver 2010 Games.
I guess we will see what this all has cost us financially. That is the only real concern I have left.