Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 Vancouver Winter Games

Personally I really enjoyed these games. The level of competition and overall spirit of all the events were amazing. Vancouver did an outstanding job as host to this international event, so many props to all the people who invested time, resources, and energy in British Columbia (and across the nation) to help make these winter games one of the best ever! I also have to tip my hat to CTV. They did an amazing job covering the games, better than any other network in our history.

That being said, however, it was heartbreaking that Nodar Kumaritashvili, a Georgian athlete, died in his training run. The very thought of an Olympic athlete dying never crosses anyone's mind, and when that tragic accident took place it was a very sad moment. I know that people from all over the world felt horrible, and everyone's heart goes out to Nodar's family, friends, and the Georgian team and nation.

Another downside to the Olympic experience was the Canadian media. Just before the end of the first week I heard nothing but anti- "Own the Podium" references on cable television and talk radio. To those unfamiliar with the Canadian "Own the Podium" initiative, it's basically a catch-phrase for supporting athletes financially. I believe Canada spent around 117 million over the past several years to bolster the support of our Olympic athletes to help them train and prepare for the games. Historically, Canada has spent very little supporting Olympic athletes, so the "Own the Podium" program was the first of its kind in Canada.

Early into the games, when some Canadian athletes didn't perform as well as the media had hoped they would, they began to question the worthiness of the "Own the Podium" program. The general theme they were tossing around indirectly, and sometimes directly, was that the program was a waste of money. Of course, what this basically boiled down to was the Canadian media jumped ship on their own athletes. If you're going to say it's not worth investing money on your athletes, what you're also saying is that you don't find them, or their cause, worthy enough to spend money on. You can't just do the athletes lip service and call it a day.

However, the good news is that our athletes didn't back down, didn't get disheartened, and continued to give their very best. In the end, they broke the all time record for gold medals won in any winter Olympic games with 14 of those beauties and achieved third overall in the total medal count standings. For a nation with a population a tenth of a size of the United States, this is an outstanding accomplishment! Now those in the media that were against the "Own the Podium" program will be doing a complete 180, and I am sure we will hear tons of good things about the worthiness of the program for a long time to come. Welcome back on board Canadian media, although I am sure many didn't miss you anyway.

Nonetheless, the games were amazing and what a finish! To have the Canadian men win hockey gold in such a dramatic fashion was a storybook ending to a very entertaining and memorable winter Olympics. Canada has definitely raised the bar for hosting the Games, and that has caused a swell of pride across the nation!

Top 3 Nations

1. United States 9 Gold - 15 Silver - 13 Bronze
*New all time total medal count record with 37 total

2. Germany 10 Gold - 13 Silver - 7 Bronze

3, Canada 14 Gold - 7 Silver - 5 Bronze
*New all time gold medal total record with 14

For full final standings, visit the official website of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

jrobichess makes chess videos and has a chess blog along with a personal chess site at

1 comment:

Michael Quigley said...

Hi J,

From an English point of view the games were disappointing. Not the medal count (we are a country with no mountains or regular snow) but from the organisational and attitude of the host nation.

Firstly, the organisation was poor. The food for the athletes was bad and the less than perfect weather managed to "break" the electronic systems in place. This is all avoidable.

But what was worse was the general chanting and rudeness of the Canadian crowd. This was most apparent in events such as the curling, were teams need to concentrate and be able to hear each other. The crowd were quite for the Canadian team but noisy for the other teams. Sometimes even abusive (with one female British athlete getting abuse so bad that it lead to her ending in tears).

I know the U-S-A chants and general rudeness of American sporting events is well documented, but Canada has never been tainted with this brush, before these games. It's a shame that the host nation could not show the same level of support and fairness to all athletes as was seen in the 2008 Olympics. I certainly hpe that in England in 2012 the crowd are better behaved.

Of course Britain is use to hosting major events annually with competitors from across the globe. We are also geographically closer to other countries and much more multi-cultural than Canada, so we are much higher on the learning curve, but the host nation really did seem to let itself down.