For a colossal event that is centered around “the Olympic and Paralympic journey and creating everyday champions,” there’s plenty of falsification occurring behind the opulence of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Who can forget the fake fireworks and child lip-syncher during the opening ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, along with fake cheer squads and fake blue skies? It appears that the “fake” factor is alive and well in Vancouver and Whistler.

FAKE MADE IN B.C. WINE: Last week, the media reported that some of B.C.’s wines contain large percentages of foreign wine from countries like Bulgaria and South Africa, with very little BC grapes. These wines are merely “cellared in BC.” This fact came as a shock to local wine connoisseurs and left many of us wondering whether B.C.’s world-class wines would be served and showcased during the games.

However, on their website, Vincor Canada, the Official Wine Supplier of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games assures its clients that, “It had always been our intention to use wines with 100% Canadian content for our Olympic wines when we first signed a six-year sponsorship agreement with the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee (“VANOC”) several years ago.  Now, thanks to the excellent growing season in 2007, as of July 1, 2009, all bottlings of Jackson-Triggs Esprit™ will be 100% VQA.”

FAKE FREEDOM: As Canadians, we pride ourselves on our freedom of speech and the right to express our views. Yet, the RCMP and security plans include protest pens outside the Games venues “in plain sight of the media and public.”

It appears that Canadian rights and freedoms are secondary to corporate profit from the Olympic franchise. The billion dollar security budget has to be dispensed and justified somehow.

FAKE GREEN GAMES: The 2010 Winter Olympics have been touted as the “greenest games ever.” Judging by the number of sensitive wetlands and old-growth trees bulldozed in the Whistler area to construct the venues and expand the Sea to Sky Highway, the displaced grizzly bear populations and the amount of real estate that’s been opened up, these games are anything but green or sustainable. Merely composting and recycling doesn’t cut it either.

FAKE OLYMPIC SPIRIT: VANOC is relying on the secondment of government employees to generate Olympic Spirit and cheers during the Games. Many local residents are less than enthused and will not be volunteering or participating in VANOC’s Homestay program next February.

Last week, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) launched a new program to get locals into the Olympic spirit called, Ask Me I’m a Local. The program is intended to “help Whistler in becoming the most friendly, caring and supportive tourist community in the world.

Whistler didn’t become one of the world’s top ski resorts without its share of friendly locals and service staff. Most of us don’t need an “ASK ME” button in order to be polite or to help a lost tourist. It’s a given.

FAKE TICKETS & KNOCK-OFF MERCHANDISE: Vancouver is awash with online scalpers selling Olympic tickets, and counterfeit t-shirts, buttons, backpacks and even Canadian maple syrup coming from overseas. If you have money to spare on 2010 souvenirs, look for VANOC’s authentic hologram logos.

FAKE MASCOTS: Even the mascots don’t represent Canadiana. The Vancouver 2010 logo – an inukshuk – doesn’t really say B.C. and while Sumi and Quatchi might come from First Nations backgrounds, they are “anime” creatures designed in an Asian theme.

FAKE LOCALS: A large number of Whistler residents have rented their homes and are leaving town during the Games. When you see a smiling person on TV wearing a Canada tattoo and ringing the red and white cow-bell, chances are, they’re from somewhere else.

If El Nino makes an appearance this winter, we may even see some fake snow at the alpine and nordic venues in Whistler.

Let’s hope that at least the athletes will be real.



Pina Belperio

Welcome to Word of the Rings, a new Rabble.ca blog that aims to serve as a one-stop examination at what’s happening behind the scenes in the lead up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler. Pina...