The 2010 Winter Olympics - A Canadian Perspective

2/28/10 in Olympics, Summer   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

My home province, British Columbia, hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  Unfortunately, in order to pay for the games ticket prices were high and the cost of attending the games was, for me at least, something I simply couldn't afford.  However, with home town boy Cody Hay competing, and our closest neighbor's hometown boy, Denny Morrison, also competing, the Olympics were defenitely the topic of conversation everywhere, far moreso than in past games.

With the glitch in the opening ceremonies, the fourth arm of the cauldron not rising, and the difficulties at the Speed skating oval with the icemakers, the world started criticising us and our attempts to make this the best Olympics ever.  Bob Costas called our troubles "unacceptable".   We were dissed for our lofty claims that we would take the most medals in the Olympics and taunted when the Canadian men's hockey team lost to the USA team.  Posts of "screw you Canada" appeared, and the disdain continued.

Through it all, Canadians country wide held their heads high and ignored the taunts and persevered.  Slowly, people of other countries let their respect for Canada, our citizens and the Olympic efforts shine through the disdain and arrogance of the others.  People became vocal in their applause for the Olympic effort and the continuing efforts of the Canadian athletes. 

Living in Canada, we have a few National television stations and we've always been able to access the American stations.  Because I have been, first and foremost, a North American fan, I've watched many of the events on whatever American station has carried the rights for the Olympics in the past.  This year, however, NBC has provided very poor coverage in my opinion.  The coverage has been even more US oriented than ever, with very little attention paid to any other country's efforts.  Granted, it is a station obligated to provide coverage for the American athletes to their American fans.  Unfortunately, NBC seems to have taken this to a whole new level.  Add to that, their insistence to show daytime competitions three hours later than they actually occur to the fans on the West Coast, and I think they failed their US fans miserably.  However, as i said, that is my opinion, and much as Bob Costas opined that the speed skating oval problems were 'unacceptable", I will do the exact same and state that I felt their coverage was "unacceptable".

Luckily for me, Canada had CTV, TSN and Rogers Sportsnet all providing coverage for the Olympic games, so at any given time I could watch a contest, performance, rival game or perspective, live as it was happening in Vancouver.   Canada even stepped up and provided some decent commercials, a definite rarity.

But, the Olympics is all about excelling at your sport.  The Canadian athletes may not have said goodbye to these games with the top medal count, but they have 13 Gold medals, more than any other host country ever.  As the last day of competition finishes up, the Canadians have an opportunity for two more gold medals, although realistically, the hockey game is the event on everyone's mind.  The Canadians entered in the Men's 50Km Cross Country skiing event under way as I write this. They are not expected to reach even the top ten, although as every Canadian has, they will give it their all. 

Throughout the games there have been some memorable moments.  The death of the Georgian Luger,  in the very early hours of Olympic practice was tragic, and led to more criticism, but the Vancouver and IOC officials did what they felt was necessary to ensure no further such incidents would occur.  And none did, thankfully.  It doesn't lessen the occurrence of his death, and because of it, the Vancouver Olympics will never be deemed a success.  My sincere condolences are with his family and friends.

Joannie Rochette arrived in Vancouver, her hopes high to attend these games, knowing her chances for an Olympic medal were the best Canada had seen in decades.  Unfortunately, her mother suffered a massive heart attack just as they reached Vancouver and succumbed before the day was done.  Through her grief, Joannie decided to skate, doing what her mother cheered her through during her younger years.  She said her mother was always her biggest fan.  She performed a nearly flawless short program and went on to the free skate in third place.  Her free skate performance was moving for everyone, and the Bronze she accomplished even sweeter, knowing her mother would be proud.

The Canadians and the US also showed the Russians how the direction of Ice Dance has changed, dominating the sport through all aspects.  It was so close at the end, with the Canadians taking Gold, while the US took silver.  The teams trained together and are friends, so in my mind, the finish could have gone either way.  The Canadians of Virtue and Moir just skated a tad better, and thankfully took the gold for Canada.

Canada defeated Russia to get to the men's hockey final and, for many Canadians, that was the biggest accomplishment of these games - a 50 year rivalry ended in our favor on our home soil.  We were defeated by the Russians in 1988, in Calgary, something that has been eating at us since then.  The redemption this year is something all Canadians continue to celebrate.

Curling and the performances by both the Men's team of Kevin Martin and the Women's team of Cheryl Barnard made fans of people who had never watched a curling match before in their lives.  Martin's team grabbed the Gold, while the Bernard team settled for silver, but both teams made Canada proud, and showed the world how exciting the game can be.

The Canadian Women's hockey team defeated the US Women for the gold medal (and celebrated in a manner deemed unacceptable by many, save Canadians who see these celebrations after every win). And as we head to the Men's hockey final this afternoon, all eyes will be glued to the televisions.  Mine too, although this means less to me than some other competitions.  After all, just as the Summer Olympics features a basketball competition made up of NBA players, the Men's Olympic hockey teams, since a 1986 ruling,  are made up primarily of NHL players. This is something which, again - in my mind - is not keeping with the spirit of Olympic competition.  I just feel the hockey teams, and the basketball teams in the summer Olympics should be made up of Junior players, not the pros.

 Whether Canada or the US wins, it doesn't really matter to me,  as long as it is a good game, and not a blow out by one team, I will enjoy the hockey - it is after all, just a chance to see some of our favorite NHL players display their skills in a different venue. 

The Closing Ceremonies will take place this evening, bringing an end to the 2010 Olympic Games, until the athletes meet again, in 2014 in Russia.  Through all the adversity, the ciriticism and the stellar performances, I can honestly say, I am PROUD to be a Canadian.
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3/12/10   |   capeman48   |   3 respect

suzanneclark12 wrote:
Labatt Blue?...  :-P

Molson's as well !

3/1/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Whatever goes best with Crow, right?

3/1/10   |   suzanneclark12   |   435 respect

justinedward wrote:
Canadians ran this, gold is all that matters.
(Edited by suzanneclark12)

Labatt Blue?...  :-P

3/1/10   |   suzanneclark12   |   435 respect

justinedward wrote:
Canadians ran this, gold is all that matters.

Right Arm.!..burrrrp...we all out of Moosehead?...  :-P

3/1/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

ML31 wrote:
I watched the closing ceremonies on my DVR last night...  Of course, complaint #1 was the lack of the live broadcast.  But the ceremonies themselves were pretty fun.  In fact, I liked the closing much better than the openers.
I do like hearing Costas...  But he did talk a bit too much over the closing.  That being said...  If there were one national commentator who I don't mind talking a bit too much, Costas is the one.

Because I DVR'd the ceremonies, I started watching them about an hour after they began, and was able to skip over all the worthless NBC retrospectives they ran....  And caught up with the taped broadcast near the end.  I remember thinking, "I guess I'm just going to have to start watching the commercials now..."  But low and behold, they broke away from the festivities for....  The Marriage Ref??????  Really, NBC?   REALLY?  They have been over pimping that crappy looking show for three weeks and then they feel the need to cut into the closing ceremonies for it?  Words cannot properly express my feelings on this action. 

I am very unhappy NBC has the London games in '12 and really feel that NBC should be barred from broadcasting any games for at least 60 years.

Over-pimping is an under-statement - not a chance in hell I will ever tune in to that lame-ass show.

3/1/10   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Debi_L wrote:
I watched the Closing Ceremonies, in their entirety, on CTV and enjoyed every single minute of them.  I did not think they were lame in any way, rather a way for Canada to poke a little fun at ourselves, now that the seriousness of the Olympics is done.  The presentation by Solchi was beautiful and I'm sure the 2014 Olympics will be incredible.  I'm sorry that NBC chose to cut away for someone like Jerry Seifeld.  I know I'm risking my neck saying so, but I never could stand either the man or the show, so I'm glad I had CTV and was not dependant on NBC.

I watched the closing ceremonies on my DVR last night...  Of course, complaint #1 was the lack of the live broadcast.  But the ceremonies themselves were pretty fun.  In fact, I liked the closing much better than the openers.
I do like hearing Costas...  But he did talk a bit too much over the closing.  That being said...  If there were one national commentator who I don't mind talking a bit too much, Costas is the one.

Because I DVR'd the ceremonies, I started watching them about an hour after they began, and was able to skip over all the worthless NBC retrospectives they ran....  And caught up with the taped broadcast near the end.  I remember thinking, "I guess I'm just going to have to start watching the commercials now..."  But low and behold, they broke away from the festivities for....  The Marriage Ref??????  Really, NBC?   REALLY?  They have been over pimping that crappy looking show for three weeks and then they feel the need to cut into the closing ceremonies for it?  Words cannot properly express my feelings on this action. 

I am very unhappy NBC has the London games in '12 and really feel that NBC should be barred from broadcasting any games for at least 60 years.

3/1/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

jake_leone1 wrote:
I rarely comment on T.V. coverage of a sporting event, but NBC's awful coverage of the Olympics requires that I do so, in order to have a clear conscience.

I hope to God they don't win any awards for this travesty.  If they win any awards, we'll need an FBI investigation to find out who accepted the bribe money.

Among the worst points:
- 24 hour tape delay of events.  ridiculous since Canada and the United States share the same time-zones.

- Peanut Gallery commentary by Bob Costas during opening and closing ceremonies.  Don't sports commentator know when to shut the hell up.

- Breaking up the ice-skating, into little blurbs, throughout the whole night, finishing always at 3PM.  Artistic events need to be shown in their entirety.

But the worst, most horrible act, ever perpetrated by a self-serving network.  An act that is in need of review, satire, and ridicule, was breaking up the cute-Canadian closing ceremony, with the sadistic a-hole show "Marriage-Ref".

Way to go you NBC Heidi-heads (reference to a prior, classic N.B.C. blunder). 

I watched the Closing Ceremonies, in their entirety, on CTV and enjoyed every single minute of them.  I did not think they were lame in any way, rather a way for Canada to poke a little fun at ourselves, now that the seriousness of the Olympics is done.  The presentation by Solchi was beautiful and I'm sure the 2014 Olympics will be incredible.  I'm sorry that NBC chose to cut away for someone like Jerry Seifeld.  I know I'm risking my neck saying so, but I never could stand either the man or the show, so I'm glad I had CTV and was not dependant on NBC.

3/1/10   |   jake_leone1

I rarely comment on T.V. coverage of a sporting event, but NBC's awful coverage of the Olympics requires that I do so, in order to have a clear conscience.

I hope to God they don't win any awards for this travesty.  If they win any awards, we'll need an FBI investigation to find out who accepted the bribe money.

Among the worst points:
- 24 hour tape delay of events.  ridiculous since Canada and the United States share the same time-zones.

- Peanut Gallery commentary by Bob Costas during opening and closing ceremonies.  Don't sports commentator know when to shut the hell up.

- Breaking up the ice-skating, into little blurbs, throughout the whole night, finishing always at 3PM.  Artistic events need to be shown in their entirety.

But the worst, most horrible act, ever perpetrated by a self-serving network.  An act that is in need of review, satire, and ridicule, was breaking up the cute-Canadian closing ceremony, with the sadistic a-hole show "Marriage-Ref".

Way to go you NBC Heidi-heads (reference to a prior, classic N.B.C. blunder). 

3/1/10   |   Abe_Linc   |   39 respect

Thank You Canada! In my mind the games and the coverage were a HUGE success. I enjoyed every minute that I watched, enjoyed the victories, and smiled as we tired our best and came up short. Our men and women did us proud. They showed what it is like to be Canadian, and our women's hockey celebration on the ice IS the Canadian way. :)
Our TV networks did a fantastic job, working together, giving us the best coverage we have ever had. Thank You to all three. I was able to see what I wanted to watch, see it live, and catch replays of other events later.
All in all, I'm proud to be Canadian. We protrayed ourselves to the world in a manner that is Canadian, proud but not boastfull.
Thanks

3/1/10   |   powerpuff770   |   104 respect

Thanks Canada for the Olympic games. What I sa w was enjoyable and I really was into Curling eventhough I do not understand it.  Also hockey and Speedskating . But some of the NBC coverage was pretty lame and Im sorry to the West Coast but like I said last week look what happen to Conan GO FIGURE. We have some things happen like in Luge ( God Bless that man that died and prayers to his family.) then the Ice not being up to par for speedskating and it took hours to get the Ice right. But all in all it was s good olympics so thanks again Canada for being  a good host I just wish I was there in person to see all the activities. 

2/28/10   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Canada has a lot to be proud of (these lame closing ceremonies notwithstanding) as host of these Games. Outside of the tragedy with the luger, none of the so-called "glitches" are really anything anyone's going to care about in a week. I thoroughly enjoyed these Games (and miss curling already), and congratulate Canada for doing great both in competition and as hosts.

2/28/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

justinedward wrote:
Canadians ran this, gold is all that matters.

No, Gold is definitely NOT all that matters.  Respect, integrity, sportsmanship, all matter more than the gold. SO much more.

2/28/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Chief_aka_James wrote:
Oh, I was just speaking in terms of his interviews, namely with Lysacek, I hardly watch when it's Bob or Al or Mary are "reporting" on the days events. And don't know when he made that remark.

Obviously it isn't necessary, most of the stuff never is.

Okay, gotcha

2/28/10   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

NBC continued to show why they should be barred from broadcasting Olympic games for the next 60 years.  And it's not Costas....  I think he did what he could with what he had.  It's their decisions to screw the west coast, and their time shifting of events.  It's pathetic.  We know they paid a lot for the games, more than any other nations broadcaster.  But my word...  If you pay so much that you have to screw viewers to make your money back, don't you think you overpaid?

2/28/10   |   justinedward   |   31 respect

Canadians ran this, gold is all that matters.

2/28/10   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3307 respect

Debi_L wrote:
While that may be so, his assertion that the problems at the speedskating oval were "unaccaptable" were not necessary.  What wordly purpose did that serve?  EVERYONE was working night and day to the best of their ability to get the job done and the problems corrected.  He had no little winks or shrugs to indicate he thought otherwise.  In the end it was corrected and the events were run.  I didn't hear anyone else calling the problems life altering or game changing. And I went looking, believe me, because I was truly concerned, as a Canadian, that he was right.

Oh, I was just speaking in terms of his interviews, namely with Lysacek, I hardly watch when it's Bob or Al or Mary are "reporting" on the days events. And don't know when he made that remark.

Obviously it isn't necessary, most of the stuff never is.

2/28/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Chief_aka_James wrote:
I'm not the largest Costas fan out there, but I saw the same interview - I can tell you from my viewpoint, Costas didn't even want to ask those questions, it was from the list of "You have to ask these or don't expect to work here anymore" kind of questions. Every interviewer has them, and I can't blame Costas for that one - he even made a joke to the effect of "I know how much you love answering these and I love asking them" and then a shoulder shrug and a smile from both as if to say they have nothing to do with it, but it's what the "Higher ups" want to see.

While that may be so, his assertion that the problems at the speedskating oval were "unaccaptable" were not necessary.  What wordly purpose did that serve?  EVERYONE was working night and day to the best of their ability to get the job done and the problems corrected.  He had no little winks or shrugs to indicate he thought otherwise.  In the end it was corrected and the events were run.  I didn't hear anyone else calling the problems life altering or game changing. And I went looking, believe me, because I was truly concerned, as a Canadian, that he was right.

2/28/10   |   Lizzo   |   324 respect

Chief_aka_James wrote:
I'm not the largest Costas fan out there, but I saw the same interview - I can tell you from my viewpoint, Costas didn't even want to ask those questions, it was from the list of "You have to ask these or don't expect to work here anymore" kind of questions. Every interviewer has them, and I can't blame Costas for that one - he even made a joke to the effect of "I know how much you love answering these and I love asking them" and then a shoulder shrug and a smile from both as if to say they have nothing to do with it, but it's what the "Higher ups" want to see.

I can't disagree, and if that's true, the worst disservice is to the athletes. Lysacek  (spelling?) was so diligent at keeping to the high road, but he was running out of ways to respond to the same ridiculous thing! You know he just wants to scream, "Dude! Ask me about my win!" Truly the worst coverage of any Olympic Game I have ever watched.....and that's pretty much every one since I can remember watching TV!

2/28/10   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3307 respect

Lizzo wrote:
As usual, a well written balanced article. As I have said since the beginning of coverage, I am sick of Costas fat face. He is becoming the Jerry Springer of sports coverage. Did you see the interview with the men's US gold medal figure skater? He just kept reading all the nasty quotes the Russian made trying to get a negative response. It was so inappropriate! He seems fixated on stirring controversy instead of just talking to the athletes. Canada did great! Vancouver goes down as the best Winter Games for both our countries. I'm pretty stoked for North America!

I'm not the largest Costas fan out there, but I saw the same interview - I can tell you from my viewpoint, Costas didn't even want to ask those questions, it was from the list of "You have to ask these or don't expect to work here anymore" kind of questions. Every interviewer has them, and I can't blame Costas for that one - he even made a joke to the effect of "I know how much you love answering these and I love asking them" and then a shoulder shrug and a smile from both as if to say they have nothing to do with it, but it's what the "Higher ups" want to see.

2/28/10   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Lizzo wrote:
As usual, a well written balanced article. As I have said since the beginning of coverage, I am sick of Costas fat face. He is becoming the Jerry Springer of sports coverage. Did you see the interview with the men's US gold medal figure skater? He just kept reading all the nasty quotes the Russian made trying to get a negative response. It was so inappropriate! He seems fixated on stirring controversy instead of just talking to the athletes. Canada did great! Vancouver goes down as the best Winter Games for both our countries. I'm pretty stoked for North America!

I didn't see that specific interview, but I did see several that were equally antagonizing.  What is it about these people, they have to try to get a trash tallking response from athletes who just want to celebrate their win.  For the record, one of the Canadian inteviewers did that to a Canadian Gold Medalist as well.  Oddly though, I don't remember who the interviewer was, perhaps because I haven't seen her since???

2/28/10   |   Lizzo   |   324 respect

As usual, a well written balanced article. As I have said since the beginning of coverage, I am sick of Costas fat face. He is becoming the Jerry Springer of sports coverage. Did you see the interview with the men's US gold medal figure skater? He just kept reading all the nasty quotes the Russian made trying to get a negative response. It was so inappropriate! He seems fixated on stirring controversy instead of just talking to the athletes. Canada did great! Vancouver goes down as the best Winter Games for both our countries. I'm pretty stoked for North America!

2/28/10   |   billywa   |   658 respect

 "This year, however, NBC has provided very poor coverage in my opinion.  The coverage has been even more US oriented than ever, with very little attention paid to any other country's efforts.  Granted, it is a station obligated to provide coverage for the American athletes to their American fans.  Unfortunately, NBC seems to have taken this to a whole new level."

Well said Debi!  The most glaring example of the above for me occurred when NBC featured the Sven Kramer screw up in 10,000m speed skating.  While they pointed out that Kramer likely gave away a gold medal, since Americans didn't figure on the podium, NBC didn't bother to say who wound up winning gold, silver, and bronze!

And no gripes here with the Vancouver Games or the Great White North.  In fact, if a certain former Alaskan governor is somehow elected to national office in the US, I may well find myself living in Canada too!

2/28/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

NBC has continued to prove to me, even during these Olympics, why they have the absolute worst sports coverage of any major American national network.