I live in Vancouver. Today, the 2010 Olympics are starting.
And there are a lot of people here that aren’t happy about it.
I’m going to be honest. I don’t know a whole lot about the issues that people are raising in protesting the Olympics. There’s a lot of concern that it’ll cause huge economic problems. There are concerns about corruption in the IOC and VANOC. There’s this whole Freedom of Speech issue. Lots of people are trying to escape Vancouver for these two weeks. Lots of people have never wanted the Olympics here.
I am not one of those people. And sometimes, I just want to tell them to get over themselves. It’s the goddamn Olympics.
Did Vancouver cheat its way into getting the Olympics, saying Vancouver and Whistler are like, right beside each other guys, it’ll be easy? I’ve heard that. I dunno. Does it matter? It’s done now, the Olympics are here.
Have there been freedom of speech issues? Well, anyone who’s not an official sponsor isn’t allowed to do some things regarding advertising. Which I guess could be seen as a problem, but it’s just like at a contained sports event — only certain ads can be inside an arena, those companies payed a lot of money for that. It’s just now the arena is a whole city. But it’s just for, what, a month?
And there’s been this kerfuffle wherein protestors are being restricted to certain areas (notably, away from event venues, and thus, potentially, TV cameras). Is this a restriction of free speech? Well, yeah, maybe. And I’m a staunch supporter of free speech. But do you really think media won’t get to the protestors? That’s news. And keeping them away from the venues? Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but as someone who’s going to be attending a few events, I sure as hell don’t want to have to fight my way past protestors to get there. If the protestors were at the venues, it would cause a whole bunch of problems for the smooth operation of the games. They wouldn’t be solving anything, they’d be causing more of a problem. If I were a protestor, I’d probably try to get everyone to protest elsewhere anyway, because otherwise you’re just being an ass to everyone else.
Is the Olympics going to cost the city/province/country a lot of money? Hell yes.
But really? It’s the Olympics.
I have been a fan of the Olympics since I was a kid. I’m not a sports guy, but every two years I plunk myself in front of the TV, pull out the Sports section and fire up the internet. There’s something about this great, international competition, something about national pride and globalism. I mean, think of the Olympic moments that have happened despite wars and controversy.
That’s what this is all about. This is about bringing the world together. It’s about athletes striving to be the best they can be, to train and work and represent their country and bring pride to their teammates and nation. It’s about having people from the US competing with people from Russia, and China, and Sweden, and South Africa, and not only saying, who can be the best athlete when everything else is stripped away — but also saying, look: we can bring together people from the US, Russia, China, Sweden, South Africa, and everywhere else in the world, and bring them all to one place for a friendly competition.
It’s about striving to be our best, it’s about being proud to be who we are, it’s about dedication and work and payoff, it’s about fun, it’s about people coming together.
It’s about being human.
It costs a lot of money to host. But the Olympics are at our doorstep. The world is here. Why can’t we show them a good time? Why can’t we strive to showcase all of those virtues? Are there better ways to run/put on/obtain/manage/pay for the Olympics? I have no doubt. Am I going to enjoy the Olympics anyway?
You bet I am.
Welcome, World. Let’s play.