While, like many, I’m ambivalent about the Olympics, I lean to the positive side, and was moderately happy when Vancouver scored the 2010 Winter Games. Since then, the infrastructure preparations have ripped the shit out of our city, the financial arrangements have gone sideways, and I failed to get any of the tickets I signed up for.
Worst of all, it seems that the security costs have ballooned, up towards a billion dollars. We’re not that big a city and that’s way too much “security”. I just know it’s going to be lame-brained persnickety abusive intrusive pervasive bullshit; a thousand officious minor officials drunk with their pathetic petty power, imposing massive inconvenience embodied in rules designed to prevent the last five terrorist ploys and cover officials’ asses. And we live in among the venues. The idea of just getting out of town for the duration is looking better and better and better.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: David Ing (Jan 21 2009, at 21:19)
Yep, I feel the same - I can barely remember a unbombed Cambie St. Ironically we left London to move to Vancouver and feel we're being chased around the globe by the Olympics. I missed out on tickets here too, so will grit teeth and look forward to better local transit/ski hills as the sweetner.
From: Dave Bolton (Jan 21 2009, at 22:23)
Many people in Sydney felt that getting out of the city would be a great option during the 2000 Olympics. Too much noise, inconvenience and money in the lead up, too many people due to arrive.
Then the Olympics begun, and we all had a wonderful time, and truly marveled at the international spirit and goodwill, along with all the benefits that the thorough preparation brought (such as painless travel, and a well presented city).
Living through an Olympics in my hometown is something I now wouldn't swap for the alternative (a holiday out of town) for any price. And I only went to two events -- they were not the reason it was so good, rather the atmosphere and the sheer human goodwill.
I haven't been following the progression of events over there, but if it turns out anything like our experience, you may go from ambivalent to believer, just like me.
From: John (Jan 21 2009, at 23:39)
I can only agree with Dave.
Sydney was a delight, a blast and the old town at it's very best.
This was all pre 9/11 and the "power" industry it gave birth to.
The costs you quote are outrageous.
Seems to me that countries, even regions, should bid for the Games in the future, not cities.
From: jack (Jan 21 2009, at 23:48)
I moved all the way out of Utah rather than endure the Utah olympics, but then I'm kind of a misanthrope. And, ok yeah, that wasn't the only reason.
My younger brother stuck around SLC for the duration and muttered darkly about armed national guardsmen on the street corners and the 40 minutes it took to walk 4 blocks from his apartment to his job.
From: Eric Meyer (Jan 22 2009, at 04:52)
As a bonus, given your placement, you could rent your place out for some obscenely high figure to a Olympianiac while you're gone. Find a former hedge fund manager, one that got out early, and sing "La Marseillaise" or "L'Internationale" all the way to the bank.
I do find it ironic that they're spending a billion dollars to prevent terrorist attacks on an infrastructure that's been ripped to shreds for years. (Yes, yes, I know, bioterrorism mass casualties etc. I'm just sayin'.)
From: Chris (Jan 22 2009, at 07:59)
I agree with Eric, if you are going to get out of town rent your place out and earn a little. I had a friend in Atlanta in 2006 that rented his spare bedroom out for an obscene amount.
From: katre (Jan 22 2009, at 12:57)
I was a student at Georgia Tech in Atlanta in '96. The preparations for the games were terrible, and I was glad to get out of town. Everyone I knew who stayed hated it. Mostly because they all lived near campus, which became the Olympic Village, and so for several weeks they could barely move around.
Luckily things got back on track pretty quickly afterwards, except that the national delegation that lived in our house broke the AC and the Atlanta Committee went broke before they could pay to have it fixed.
From: Stuart Marks (Jan 23 2009, at 18:53)
I remember people saying the same things about the 1984 Olympics in L.A. Lots of people decided to get out of town for the duration. Of course, many stayed. They said it wasn't nearly as bad as they expected. Maybe it's because everybody ELSE got out of town.
However, at that time there was probably much less concern about security than there is now. After all, 1984 was a different time. Ooooooh isn't that ironic.
From: Mark (Jan 29 2009, at 10:30)
I've lived in two Olympics cities during the Olympics, Los Angeles and Nagano. What you are saying is repeated by people in every city with an upcoming Olympics. Learn from history. If you do stay it will be one of the greatest, most vivid memories of your life. All your quibbles will seem so trivial after the Olympics are over.
You don't need tickets to anything. It's not important to see the big events with the famous athletes and teams. In fact, I recommend concentrating on the first week when the various elimination rounds are happening. Go to the hockey arena when Belarius is playing against South Korea. You will have a great time. You can stand outside the arena until after the game starts and get tickets for nothing from a scalper. And you'll be having wonderful conversations with people from all over the world who are doing the same thing.
In Nagano the best event to me was curling. Now to a Canadian curling may be a big sport. But I'd never heard of it, nor had anyone else in Japan. It was great to be in a tiny high school gym sized place right on the ice next to the action, trying to figure out what the heck this sport was with the people around me. There will probably be a few unpopular minor sports in Vancouver, and they can be the most fun.
When the Olympics are over the world will turn to black and white for 2 months. You will be depressed. Decompression will take quite a while.
The one thing that I regret about Obama winning the presidency is that it might give Chicago an advantage over Tokyo for the summer Olympics bid. I want the Olympics to come to my city again! In fact, I really regret not going to Beijing.