VANOC Frustrations and Canadian Glory

February 15, 2010

Tonight should be one to celebrate, but I don't have the energy... after being at Cypress to watch Alexandre Bilodeau win gold in Men's Freestyle (moguls), the first ever gold on Canadian soil, we were treated to several punches from the VANOC police-state that has allegedly plagued the games since day 1 of planning. During my short time living in Vancouver, I was always uncomfortable with the use of hard authority - bans on this, that or the other thing (like bar closing time at 11PM), no walking in public parks after certain ridiculous times (like 8PM.. seriously.. I'd understand midnight)... I always felt like I needed a permit to do anything. Here's how things unfolded after the gold medal exhilaration...

1 - we waited 2 hours, in the cold, for a bus after the event. For some reason there was a major lack of service to Lonsdale Quay likely due to poor planning - there were half a dozen buses waiting empty for the other 2 dropoff sites, none of which were redirected to the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people waiting to get to Lonsdale. Nobody had the authority to send some of these empty buses to where they were needed. Some kid got separated from his parents halfway through the night, and they tried to scapegoat this as the reason for the overall disruption, but it was still really slow after they found him (Note to parents: please hang onto your children, our sanity depends on it). Somehow the entire team of Cypress volunteers, who left the hill well after we did, managed to beat us to the restaurant for dinner... although apparently they parked at one of the less used bus stops, and knew they'd be able to get on one of the empty buses no problem... good on them for figuring out the system quickly... this whole situation might have turned into an angry mob (and almost did at one point) if we weren't riding high on the gold medal. 

2 - our snowboard cross tickets ($50 standing room only) are cancelled tomorrow. apparently for the reason of "safety"... don't worry, if you bought the expensive tickets, you can still go. we'll get a refund and have to watch it on TV. I didn't come to vancouver to watch TV. 

3 - Olympic flame is in jail. Seriously, it's behind a chain link fence with a no trespassing sign, and nobody can get near it within 50m. Paranoia, Vanoc, paranoia. You're embarrassing all of us normal Canadians, get your iron fist out of Rogge's ass, and cut the "security theatre".  Let the flame stand in public so we can all see it, get close to it, and enjoy it. 

4 - Security Theatre - BC's tax dollars hard at work.  Last night I could have brought anything (a gun, knife, bomb, drugs...) into Canada Pavilion. I placed my jacket, full of my phone, wallet, keys and water bottle into a bin, the security guard promptly moved it across the table into the 'secure' area as I walked through the metal detector. He didn't question for a second what was in my jacket. Should have brought a flask... oh and when we got into the Canada Pavilion venue, one of the in-uniform, on duty security guards was having too much fun dancing with a possibly underage girl. Some 'security'... oh yeah we caught this one on video too :)  Talking to an 'unnamed source' - if there is an attack of any sort, heads will roll for lack of preparedness on the part of the Vancouver Police, RCMP etc. There is only the illusion of security at Vancouver 2010. 

I'm beginning to see the other side of the Olympics... as much as I love the celebration of Canadian athletes, culture, etc., the organizing committee deserves a solid smack upside the head for how they've handled all of this. Maybe (some of) the protesters do have a point, when they're not breaking glass or smashing things downtown... although I've yet to see it. Vanoc, you've failed me hard tonight, and watching SBX on TV tomorrow will be a bitter pill to swallow. You better hope Canada doesn't win gold... 



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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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