The Whiner Olympics
Listened to a wonderful radio interview on CBC yesterday with Clara Hughes. Clara is the only Canadian and one of only four world-wide athletes who have medaled in both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, with her sports being long track speed skating and cycling. She is a class act all the way around. I cannot help but think that if all the Games naysayers out there had listened to this interview, they might’ve had a change of hearts.
To regress, never have I heard , read and seen such negativity about a world-sized event such as the V-W Olympic Games than that put out there by British Columbians and Vancouverites! Is it the wet weather? The time zone? The supposed ‘western alienation’ from all things East? Oh, we’ve heard about the overly-zealous security, limited parking, re-routing of transportation, closed businesses, costs, housing, branding, crowding and more. I mean, what will the Olympic Whiners do when the games are over? What will they fill all their empty time with?? What will be next on their list of whine-worthy world events?
I should put it out there that I am not a VANOC or IOC fan by any means. These organizations have completely missed or misread the ‘lessons learned’ packages from the ’88 Calgary Olympics and the recent Vancouver World Police Games with respect to getting people ‘on side’. They have been heavy handed, out-of-touch, arrogant and demanding. And the municipal, provincial and federal governments seem to have rolled over and bent over in their efforts to please them. Lack of spine has become the newest political sport.
However, all this being said, I believe the OW (Olympic Whiners) faction is suffering from mass confusion, if not hysteria. In their shotgun approach of naysayerism, they have targeted the whole Olympic movement and this is dead wrong. IOC? For sure! VANOC? Certainly. President of the IOC? Of course! The athletes and workers? NO! These wonderful, fanatically dedicated and incredibly hard working people should be hoisted on the highest pedestal. They are the true stars and represent all that is good about this world and these games. And this brings us back to the Clara Hughes interview . . . . .
Here we are less than a month to the Winter Olympics 2010, and Ms. Hughes has given of her time and is being interviewed about her fund and awareness-raising efforts for children around the world! You might remember that she gave $10000 of her earnings at her last Olympics, to the Right To Play programme and is one of its ambassadors. This is an athlete who gave of herself so physically totally, that she collapsed on the ice in Turin after winning the long track speed skating. She had nothing left. Clara Hughes describes skating through the pain as a ‘thousand razor blades cutting at you inside”. This athlete exemplifies strong work ethic, humility, compassion and sheer guts. Hughes also has a strong awareness of the world around her, its problems and what someone in her position with her achievements can do to help. There is no ego. Just strong practicality and pragmatism. And it is these last two characteristics I wish the participants of the 2010 Whiner Olympics would practice themselves.
You may not want to watch, enjoy and celebrate Ms. Hughes and her fellow Olympians achievements. Fair enough. But enough already! Get over it! Put your efforts and compassion towards those in the world who need it now.