Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Olympics, The Bad

Since most people know I love the Winter Olympic Games, I thought I would post some of my concerns about the Olympic Games.

Budget Transparency:
The critics are right, we do not really know what was spent on the games. This means we have wild speculation as to what the games have cost us. I do not believe the costs are as high as some critics put it, but there are costs we do not know about. NDP MLA Rob Flemming made some good points about how some of the Olympic costs are distributed through government.

We would all have been better served with a clear and up front accounting from the start.

I am also not happy with the amount of government advertising during the Olympic games. There is no need for it.

Government Subsidy:
Sports have become a business and I really do not like any sort of subsidy for business. This means I really do not like tax breaks for one business over another. I also am not keen on much of the arts funding because it is often also some sort of a defacto business subsidy.

Own the podium should be be privately funded or at least be done through a foundation and not through the government. The federal government also has the Athletes Assistance Program. Top level Canadian athletes get $18,000 a year from the government. Not all get the full amount possible. There are somewhere close to 1800 Athletes being funded through this program

It is my view that government has a role in supporting amateur sports and arts but not the elite or professional end. Yes, I loved seeing Canada top the medal standings in the winter games.

I accept that this is not going to end and that my view is a minority.

The IOC Structure:
Structure may not even be the right word. There is a complete and total lack of accountability of the leadership of the IOC.

I also do not like that IOC members get preferred access to games tickets. IOC delegates should have to cover their expenses to go to the games. Their national Olympic committee

The IOC could away with their in person meetings and do it all online. There is no need to have them all gather together.

The Logo and the Mascots:
We should have been using west coast First Nation images for all the design of the games. Style wise it is some of the coolest looking in the world. These are designs that have endured for centuries and have always looked modern and exciting. Raven or eagle would have been so much better than the inukshuk.

The mascots were the mascots and I did not expect much more than something done by a committee. They were not the worst, but they were hardly great.

The Torch Relay:
This should have been non-stop. This start and stop several times a day and then long distances being flown broke up the relay aspect of it. The idea of the torch being passed from hand to hand to the very last person to light it is an iconic Olympic image

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies:
The opening ceremonies were decent enough and had some great moments, but I feel it just missed the mark. That pickup ride to the plaza by Gretzky was just not right.

The closing ceremonies were designed to poke fun at Canada but given that much of the audience would not get the references and that many Canadians would find it off putting, it just seemed wrong. It seemed juvenile and amatuerish

Restriction of Free Speech
I was very concerned about the rules put in place for what people could say and when, in the end this was not enforced, but still the very use of restrictive rules is just wrong. The actions of the protesters will only reinforce the call for restrictions in the future.

Other Issues
The death - sliding sports are inherently dangerous, this has happened before and will happen again.
The weather, no one expected the very warm weather but at the same time no one was surprised. In the end the weather had no impact on the games.
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