Friday, March 5, 2010

over here

snowy at the station

i have to say the excitement and buzz over the winter olympics here, compared to four years ago, has been incredible. this increased frenzy and interest was helped by having multiple ways of tuning in: beyond the regular t.v. broadcast, there was extended coverage, live events, and highlights on digital t.v., as well as the bbc's iplayer, which is essentially catch-up t.v., on demand, on the internet. there has also been extensive newspaper and news reporting, mostly because london is due to host the 2012 summer olympics.

a friend from vancouver wrote to me to say she heard the british press had been ripping into the vancouver games. i can't say i had seen any great evidence of this -- in fact, quite the opposite. the overwhelming feeling has been that, despite the tragic start, the vancouver games have been incredibly successful and, possibly, the best winter games to date. most of all, the reporters have been repeatedly commenting on the spirit, enthusiasm and generosity of the vancouver people in welcoming the international community -- and the hope that grumpy londoners will similarly rise to the occasion in a few years.

winning the nomination for any host city was always going to be a poisoned chalice. if there was a referendum and the question was put, would you rather the government spend billions of dollars/pounds on improving education/social housing/healthcare/insert social cause of your choice, or spending on a sporting event, there is no question which way i would vote. but the options are rarely as straight-forward as "a" versus "b"; the social road is not always free of public opposition (reference vancouver spending "tax-payer money" to open safe-injection sites, or south of the border the lack of support for obama's healthcare reforms); nor do i think does the olympic road only benefit atheletes and the sponsoring corporations (i hope, for example, that the improvements on the sea-to-sky will mean fewer accidents; and i know my driving-addicted-mom is looking forward to giving up her car for improved public transport as she gets older).

in a media world saturated with celebrity gossip, philandering footballers, wars and collapsing banks (both of which have cost countries and the world the equivalent of who knows how many olympic games) i have to say it has been an exciting two weeks watching the athletes push themselves to the limit in the hope of achieving a very unique dream. from my dentist to my four-year-old niece, i know the games have inspired and touched everyone in my small social sphere in some way. people used to say to me "oh you must be used to months and months of snow and cold weather;" now they say, "well of course there's rain in vancouver, it's a mild coastal climate." instead of "oh yes, i've been to canada, toronto is nice" they say "it's SO beautiful, where you're from." i feel really blessed and lucky to have grown up in a place like vancouver, and now living in a city where no one has heard of wayne gretsky (what???), i'm proud that at last the world can see and share a bit of where i'm from.

i was pretty BAH-HUMBUG when vancouver won the nomination, and even more BAH-HUMBUG when london won its nomination (i mean, how on earth will the city cope with even more people???)... but now i've been inspired to take part, and hopefully will get the chance to volunteer in 2012.

some interesting bits:
read seb coe's (chairman of the london olympic committe) report from vancouver

watch the two versions of the bbc's cool animation (better with the music on):
the promo and the final opening sequence with vancouver skyline.

bye bye olympics! bye bye beautiful HD helicopter shots of vancouver! it's been fun watching.


Anonymous said...

Hello. My wife and I bought our house about 6 months ago. It was a foreclosure and we were able to get a great deal on it. We also took advantage of the 8K tax credit so that definitely helped. We did an extensive remodeling job and now I want to refinance to cut the term to a 20 or 15 year loan. Does anyone know any good sites for mortgage information? Thanks!


happyd said...

We are getting so many spam and weird comments!!

Anyway, I think it would be awesome for you to volunteer at the 2012 games. I think it would be a once in a lifetime event :)

Have you started your countdown to Vancouver yet?