When it’s all said and done, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is sure to declare the Vancouver Olympics the best Games, as they do for the Games wherever they take place. But much of the world press has brandished the Games as the worst games ever.
The “best” is not likely to be used by anyone aside from the most passionate Olympics boosters. The “worst” is also not particularly accurate given some of the past debacles at Games and those to come (see Sochi in 2014).
The overall characterization, however, is largely irrelevant since in less than a week almost no one will care. There may be some sniping about how we failed to “own the podium,” but once again, no one really cares about this except for sports commentators and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). COC has already written off Own the Podium.
Some of the obvious glitches had nothing to do with Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC). These were largely weather related and can hardly be expected to be under VANOC control, but mild weather sure as hell should have been something VANOC planned for. No snow on the mountains was a huge hickup and will dog the Games as long as we have global warming, but on the other hand, the beautiful weather led to increases in what might otherwise have been dismal turnouts at the “Celebratory Sites” downtown. Thanks to the sunshine, crowds have been big and getting bigger.
But it is almost impossible to watch the throngs without making two key observations: many are drunk and most couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the Olympic sports. Most have come out for the party.
The party aspect now seems to involve not only the usual Saturday night Granville Street revelers, but a surprising number of middle class vanilla types who regress into adolescence fueled by cheap booze. Just this Saturday, my girlfriend babysat for a couple in their thirties with two young kids. They went downtown and came back drunk as skunks. The wife had barfed in the taxi, the husband…well never mind.
On the Drive, drunken tourists stagger out of bars clothed in their red and white Canada jerseys chanting “Go Canada, go.”
They lurch down the street for hotel rooms or home. Yup, we’ve turned the entire city into an expanded Granville Street Saturday night.
It’s about partying until you drop, not about sports, not about universal love or the human spirit.
A lot of party animals are going to have a very bad hangover when, with what’s left of their neurons, they face the sobering financial cost of the three-week blowout party. It’s going to take many barges full of Tylenol to take the edge off.
As the Irish Rovers sang back in the day:
Someone took a grapefruit
Wore it like a hat
I saw someone under my kitchen table
Talking to my old tom cat
They were talking about hockey
The cat was talking back
Long about then everything went black
Wasn’t that a party?