Thursday, February 18, 2010

Objectivity Lesson - Vancouver

Olympic-Sized Problems

Let me list them for you...

Huge cost overruns going into the Games.

Warm temperatures which prompted a round-the-clock operation to bring in snow from higher elevations to make Cypress Mountain ready for Freestyle and Snowboard competition.

Tragedy at the Luge practice run on the eve of the opening ceremony.

At the opening ceremony one of the four pillars that support the central flame failed to rise out of the floor, leaving Catriona Le May Doan with nothing to light.

The International Press and French Canadians get irritated that not enough French was spoken during the Opening Ceremonies.

Heavy snowfall/fog/rain at Whistler that forced disruptions to alpine skiing events.

Injuries plaguing the competitors.

Protesters rioting
downtown and breaking windows at the Official Olympic store.

The location of the Olympic flame in downtown Vancouver is behind a wire fence.

The problem of the buses:
Several dozen drivers quitting complaining about the long hours and poor working conditions.
Buses are breaking down.
Bus drivers getting lost.
(Bus Bus, Sea Bus)

Organizers were forced into an embarrassing cancellation of 28,000+ tickets for events at Cypress over safety fears with rain washing away snow that made the general admission standing room spectator area unsafe.

A veritable downpour during the Women's Mogul competition.

Zamboni Olympia "Super Green" Electric Ice Resurfacing Machines unable to perform their jobs. Replacement "Zamboni" brought in. (Shhhh!)

Protests at the biathlon on Tuesday over timing errors.

Protests and delays at Long Track over malfunctioning starting equipment, and scoring systems that made a timely race restart impossible.

But the local Fishwrapper makes a good point...

"No point in circling the wagons and pretending otherwise, of pointing to every bus that arrives on time, every security checkpoint that works flawlessly, every smiling, polite volunteer," comments Globe and Mail.

G&M is correct: Quite a bit has gone right.

Just look at the smile and tears on Lindsey Vonn's face, or Maelle Ricker after her win at Snowboard Cross.
And the two Russian winning gold and silver at the Cross Country today.
Or, or Shaun White's amazing performance; No matter your opinion of the Ramp Monkeys- he's still pretty good, eh?...

And after all the horror stories about the Sahara-like heat and the snow convoy & helicopter airlift canceling out any Carbon Footprint credits that might have been garnered at the 2010 games- the actual competitions at Cypress have been fantastic.
(Which is more important: that those with enough luck, prior planning or disposable income got screwed out of standing-room-only tickets, or that the competition occurred, and the athletes performed at the best of their ability?)

It's been rough here in Vancouver... Not for me, of course, except for the dismal dining at the IBC and the high price of rum, but rather for the image of the Games overall...

But then- I can remember page after page of complaints about Athens, Torino and Beijing too...
Happy spectators and perfect conditions don't sell papers, or bring in viewers to the news broadcasts...
Only tragedy and controversy are news.
"If it bleeds, it leads" is the old adage, and Vancouver 2010 has been hemorrhaging.

Enjoy the Games, if you can. It's about the competitors and performances,
not politics, not woulda-coulda-shoulda.



The Mighty Skunk said...

I haven't been able to Google up any info about the speed skating timing equipment malfunctions. Lots of reference to the Zamboni problems @ Richmond, but the only timing problems I can find were @ biathlon. Any links?

The Big Guy said...

It will be there-unless it gets buried.

It was at the Richmond Oval this afternoon.
The 7th pair in the men's 1000m, Lobkov/Nagashima race.


The Big Guy said...

Found it...

Near the end...


The Mighty Skunk said...

Thanks. I also found an oblique reference to it here:

"There also was speculation of a timing malfunctioning contributing to the delay, but Richmond Oval officials refused to comment when asked for clarification by Yahoo! Sports."

Somebody seems to be doing a very good job of keeping it a secret, since the pooch-screwing is referred to "speculation"

The Big Guy said...

Seriously, listening to the "clean feeds" you hear interesting discussions and speculation via the commentators.
We were hearing that the scoring system couldn't re-insert the competitors... sounds like some aw3s0me Omega software inflexibility, along with a smidge of operator incompetence.