Because sometimes it’s better to laugh than cry …

 

As the Feb. 12 start of the Vancouver Winter Olympics approaches, new details are emerging daily about the big spectacle as the torch winds its way toward B.C. Place for the Opening Ceremonies. Monday it was announced that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would be one of the final day’s torchbearers (but no, he will not be doing a Twins run with Danny Devito).

My first reaction was that the choice of Schwarzenegger was just bizarre (VANOC’s own rules are supposed to preclude elected politicians from running the torch, for one thing.) But, after a little reflection, I think he is actually a perfect fit for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and VANOC. Because, just like the Olympics, under that Hollywood sheen of glamour lies an unseemly track record with Collateral Damage strewn all over the bare slopes.

Schwarzenegger, as I’m sure you Total(ly) Recall, is perhaps the most famous walking talking advertisement for steroid use, having juiced his way to bodybuilding immortality and parlayed that notoriety into box office payday. Even a Kindergarten Cop could tell you his run with the torch sends the message that doping pays, and that sometimes it pays really big.

Then there’s his record of alleged Predator-like behaviour when it comes to women. Upon entering politics, he was forced to admit and apologize for some of his “indiscretions” on this front. Schwarzenegger’s run provides a patriarchal bookend for the Games, another Raw Deal for advocates of gender equity after the IOC ploughed right over Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms in denying women ski jumpers the right to compete.

Finally, Arnold’s carrying the flame in Vancouver reminds us that it’s True (the IOC) Lies by omission about the history of the Torch Relay itself. Both Schwarzenegger and the Relay, it turns out, have Nazi ancestry. The actor-politician’s father was an Austrian Nazi police chief; the modern Olympic torch procession started with the 1936 Berlin Olympics, as a way to spread a benign image of Hitler’s Germany across Europe.

Sometimes it seems like it takes the strength of Hercules to expose the Conan the Destroyer-like goons at the IOC. But with police Commandos surrounding Arnold The Running Man on Friday, this one looks more like an own goal by The Villains. I’m sure Jacques Rogge and VANOC just wish they could bring Mr. Freeze up here to work some magic on Cypress Mountain.

Derrick O'Keefe

Derrick O'Keefe

Derrick O’Keefe is a writer and social justice activist in Vancouver, B.C. Derrick served as rabble.ca’s editor from 2012 to 2013 and from 2007 to 2009. He is the author of the new Verso...