Do You Think Vancouver 2010 was the Best Winter Olympics Ever?

At every Olympics closing ceremony of late, there seems to be a moment of anticipation to see whether or not the president of the International Olympics Committee will say it is the “best Olympics” yet. It is a legacy of former President Juan Antonio Samaranch not to be repeated by current president, Jacques Rogge (Xinhua News, with thanks to a reader who corrected me).

However, that expectation is still there, as it was in Beijing (see Xinhua story). There was a quiet, disappointing murmur of the otherwise raucous crowd at the Closing Ceremonies when Jacques Rogge only called these Games “excellent” and “friendly”. “Best ever” or not, “friendly” and “excellent” weren’t good enough for the otherwise generally easy to satisfy Canadians.

Sure, there were some issues at these games. However, they were glitches compared to major issues that happened at some of the other games. Bigger, more deliberate stuff, that had far greater consequences. However, that’s politics for you.

I’m sure if Rogge waited till Shatner did his updated “I AM CANADIAN!” speech, though, and the rest of the comedy in our Canadian sense of humour shown in the Closing Ceremonies, Rogge might have strengthened his adjectives to describe these games. Btw, here’s , if you didn’t know. ­čÖé

One thing I can say for sure, the 2010 Closing Ceremonies were DEFINITELY the BEST EVER with the humour added to all the glitz and glory otherwise!!!

Now, nobody expects the Olympics to go over without glitches and issues, but it seems some were more political and deliberate issues than others. Look at China’s Internet censorship and continued human rights abuses, among other promises it made that it never lived up to, in or since, the 2008 Olympics. It was just political maneuverings typical of the Chinese government that was to be expected. Not surprisingly, its constant smoke and mirrors deceit stretched to choosing a girl to lip sync during the opening ceremonies because she looked prettier than the one who actually sang the piece who could have been there.

These are bigger and more deliberate issues, with real and symbolic ramifications, that are different than glitches nobody can do much about. I have a lot more trouble reconciling those deliberate situations than stuff like broken hydraulics or lack of snowfall from an unpredictable El Nino oscillation in weather situations that started last August. Mind you, the fact one torch branch didn’t come up during the opening ceremonies was pretty embarrassing. When the world was watching, we couldn’t get it up! ()

At these Olympics, it’s widely known the British have been trashing it. The Russians have called this the “cursed Olympics”, but it was more about their lack of results. But all that said, and all else done, Jacques Rogge adjectives or otherwise, do you think the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was the best Winter Olympics ever?


14 thoughts on “Do You Think Vancouver 2010 was the Best Winter Olympics Ever?

  1. The Jack referred to in the speech was Jack Poole, the chairman of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee who died of Pancreatic cancer 24 hours after the Olympic torch arrived in Vancouver in October.

    • OK. I AM AN IGNORAMUS. You heard it here first.

      Thanks for the correction. I’ve removed the comment and my sincere apologies. I thought John turned to Jacques Rogge when he said it and thought he was referring to Rogge.

  2. And another thing…

    I think it would be unseemly for Jacque Rogge to call this the best Olympics ever after the death on an athlete. His closing comments were a classy way of praising Canada in light of this tragic accident.

    • Well, he was the one who said it was the athlete’s fault and not the track or designers’ fault. He’s being hypocritical to cover his political rear end, but what would you expect, right?

  3. I must remind the author that it was the former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch that would declare games as being “best ever”. The current IOC president Jacques Rogge has stated many times that he will never use that kind of phrasing and has never done so. Jacques Rogge has been IOC president since the 2002 winter olympics. Salt Lake City’s Olympics were never called “best ever”. So people should stop looking for that phase!!

    • Thanks for that correction. Apparently, it doesn’t seem a lot of the world knew about this. There was an article I picked up from Xinhua News to illustrate your point and that was written in 2008, 8 years after Sydney. The muted response to Rogge’s calling of these games “excellent” and “friendly” seemed to have suggested the same point. Also, you should see how many searches that are leading to this post involving some combination of more than half of these “jacques rogge vancouver games olympics best ever”!

      I’ve made the adjustments in my article, but the general gist is still the same. Disappointment in the summary and wanting to know what people thought regardless of any statement made or not by the IOC president.

  4. I was genuinely excited about these Olympics and the storybook finish by the men’s hockey team was simply amazing. However, the opening and closing ceremonies were rather embarrassing. There was a lot of flag-waving and rabid patriotism for Canada when the ceremonies (especially the closing ones) should have an international feel to them to convey the Olympic message of brotherhood and friendship.

    It’s fine to be proud and to showcase Canadian culture, but the way the organizers did it smacked of a nation that is self-conscious about its place in the world.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ishmael. I’m OK with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies’ glitches, for the most part. Those include the things a little out of our control at times, not like the French language debacle by John Furlong. We came through a lot of times when it really counted. I was hoping the teams would have mixed a bit more in the Closing Ceremonies’ entrance.

  5. Good article.

    Do I think these were the best Winter Olympics ever? Wow, that is hard to judge but I’ve been to 3 Olympics so far (2 of them winter). This was definitely the best of those 3. For background I attended 6 events in Vancouver and Whistler and countless free venues and concerts. Many of the problems hyped in the press had nothing to do with my Olympic experience. A leg did not go up on the cauldron in the opening ceremonies? So what? How is that supposed to effect me? Outdoors cualdron was behind a chain link fence? I could see how that would be irksome to some but to me it was a very minor disappointment. The death of Kumaritashvili was so sad and I feel bad for his family but this had nothing to do with my day to experience at the games.

    The problems at Cypress were a real issue for some spectators but the oft hyped refunding of 28000 tickets sounds bad except when you consider that was about 2% of 1 days tickets at these games. Friends of mine got refunded and just turned around and bought cheap tickets to something else. And despite how the press liked to hype stories about high resell prices for certain events cheap tickets were easily available to a lot of different sports. I did not buy any tickets ahead of time, only bought from scalpers and never paid over face.

    Vancouver nailed things like transportation, food, keeping prices under control, being inclusive by having a lot of free events (and crowd control at these was sloppy at first but they adjusted within just a couple days) and high quality venues.

    The only thing they couldn’t fix was the unusually warm weather but this was really only a factor at the snowboard venue, it made for easy spectator conditions and events still proceeded.

    Best games ever? Maybe.

    • Thanks for the “expert” opinion, Doug! That’s quite the track record you’ve got!

      And definitely thanks for the vote of confidence that Vancouver might have been the best games ever. Not a “yes”, but from your description, a lot of the supposed problems could now be put in their place properly.

      Much appreciated!

  6. IOC president did say that the way canadians embrace the olympics was unique and something he has never seen that other host nations should try to do the same, moreover it would have been innapropriate to call the games excellent with the death of the Luger, excellent is the highest complement the IOC can give a host nation

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