WTF? and Whine Wednesday

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
February 10th. 2 days. Only 2 days until the Olympics. I can't believe it. I remember the day the announcement was made.

7 years later...this is it. It's here.

It's disappointing to see so many people that are against the Olympics. I would be interested to know the statistics of how many other previous host cities had huge anti-Olympic groups. It's not something they often show...but then again, Vancouverites love a good protest. Sure, free speech and all that jazz, but really? Is our love of protesting something to be proud of? Is that what we want to be known for?

Things have a time and place. The Olympics are upon us. Is now really the time to be protesting them? Is "having your voice heard" really going to stop things from happening at this stage? No. So sit back and enjoy the show.

I see protesters, in situations like this, as being selfish. They want their voices heard and they do asinine things to get their points across. They forfeit any bit of respect they have for others, acting out as immature teenagers. If the roles were reversed, I'd bet money that the protesters would be the first to complain. Ok, so maybe protesters are miserable people who just want to have something to complain about. Let's make that assumption.

Well, I have news for you, protesters. The Olympics aren't about you! They're about sport. They're about the athletes. In fact, Pierre de Coubertin (founder of the IOC) believed that,

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

(The athlete's all know that it's about winning. Haha.)

But seriously. Think about it. The Olympics are for the athletes. Their sport is their job, it's the only thing they know. They do it because it's their passion, because in Canada, unless you have heaps of sponsors, it's definitely not about the money. These are the people who are probably the most patriotic of all. they make countless sacrifices day in and day out for their sport but also for their country.

Canada House - Rio 2007

Imagine if you will the feeling, the pride, of being able to compete against the world's best athletes, to hear your anthem played while the world is watching. It is these moments that make every sacrifice you have ever made, worth it.

So please, don't be shocked that I'm pro-Olympics. It's not about you, it's about the athletes.

Let's celebrate them.


Jeremy Lim said...

THANK YOU. This needed to be said, and I'll continue to say it all throughout.

Yes - Vancouver will probably see a rough patch after everything is done, and yes, the protesters do have other valid points, but it's here. Once. Ever. At least in our lifetimes. Pardon the language, but rock the fuck out.

I don't get people who left to avoid the Olympics, or who plan to hibernate for the next two weeks.


ko0ty said...

Wow was it 7 years ago that they announced it? It doesn't seem that long!

I support the Olympics and am proud that it's in Vancouver but I think I'm the only one who isn't actually feeling the Olympic Spirit. I know it's starting soon but I'm not excited at all for some reason... more dreading the traffic. =P

Niki B. said...

holllaaaaaaa. I'm so stoked for the Olympics and I totally agree - complaining now doesn't achieve anything. This is going to be awesome so just say yes and we'll move on. Get ready for a couple weeks of athletic achievement capped off by unreal parties. WOOOO!!!

And hello, what is this photo avec medal here? Please explain.

lisa said...

Yay, such a great post coming from a former Team Canada athlete!

I alternate between being excited and not being excited. It's not like I can take 2 weeks off work to just enjoy all the Olympics events and fun (I'll be working from home), but it's cool to see all the public art up around Vancouver and how happy and vibrant and warm the streets are at night!

Anonymous said...

I (a protester) am definitely pro-sports. And of course I would be pro-olympics, if the Games were what they are supposed to be.
What's your take on these athletes?
And on what happened in Berlin, or in Beijing?

I do appreciate a good part of the Olympics: lots of people do believe it's about the sport, and so, for them, it is indeed a beautiful event, and that is a good thing.
For other people (e.g. the new homeless in DTES), independently of their beliefs, it's an oppressive event, and I think that is worth saying, even if it spoils the party mood for a few minutes.

On a side point, for people that say "it's here, not worth complaining now", talk about selfish. This circus does not stop in 2010, and other groups in prospective future olympic cities do say thanks for our solidarity making their struggle bit easier.

Jeremy Lim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
It Girl (Anya) said...

I'm not particularly into sports (especially winter) but I support the Olympics! I like it for the sense of Global community and some nice friendly competition!

Yes, Vancouver has poverty problems and hosting the Olympics is a costly endeavour. But there have also been so many positive and sustainable improvements to the city (Canada Line, street-car, LEED-certified Olympic village etc.) because of the Olympics that the city as a whole will benefit from in the long run.

Erin, where is your medal from?

MizzJ said...

Hmm a great article to spark debate! I'd have to agree more with you Erin. The Olympics are here, so all the people who didn't want it should just put up and shut up - it's not like anything can be done at this point! And shouldn't we all have a little city pride by being gracious hosts? Tons of people are coming here for a good time. It's like inviting someone into your house and having your little bratty bro throw water balloons - just immature.

That being said, I think those who want to be sure issues about homeless are heard do have a point. It's the job of protestors to exploit public venues to get their msg heard. I think Vanoc could have spent more money helping that situation and making the games actually green, rather than suing everyone in site for copyright infringement.

Jeremy Lim said...

Again, I think protesters have valid points. I think there's going to be a lot of fallout ( once this is all done (and some people are getting hit by it right now). No, it's not cool, but it's here and no matter how much people protest - THIS IS NOT GOING AWAY NO MATTER WHAT WE DO NOW.

On the selfish note, let's try this:

The Olympics are here. They're big, they're shiny. Vancouverites are going to pay for hosting it for years. That's reality. We all know it.

Now, knowing that we're sacrificing years of crap for two weeks of awesome. Who's selfish: the people enjoying that awesome, or the people denouncing it?

Erin said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. In all situations there are winners and losers. And while there will always be ramifications from holding events of this caliber, as Anya said, so many good things have some out of it too. The Canada Line, while a temporary pain in the ass during construction, has been extremely successful. It was a necessary addition for our city to continue its growth.

I understand that we have social issues, huge ones, and we need to bring people's awareness to them. That's different than being anti-Olympics. I'm talking about the people who are protesting the event itself, who are saying that it will have negative effects on us. We all know that, they knew that when they bid, the world knows that, it's not a secret. What I'm trying to get at is, if you're protesting the Olympics for no other reason than being anti-Olympics, then aren't your pleas and words falling on deaf ears? The locals have heard you (and pretend not to listen), and the tourists are here specifically FOR the Olympics. It is THESE people that I believe are being selfish.

At this point in time, their protests are useless, selfish. They need to let the world enjoy the Games, let the athlete's revel in the opportunity to wear their country's colours (It may be their only time), and let their hair down and feel the patriotism. This is a feeling that is once in a lifetime, to have everyone celebrating the same thing. We're not just representing our city, our province, we're representing our country. And while our athletes take pride in that, maybe Vancouverites should take pride in that also.

Anonymous said...

"if you're protesting the Olympics for no other reason than being anti-Olympics"

Of course you're right, but there's probably not a lot of those, at least in my experience :-)

People usually have lots of reasons to do stuff -good or bad, that's up for debate- and some are even willing to talk about them for the hundreth time with any stranger that asks politely. But it is true that with this protest, as with most of them, the majority of the public just gets the equivalent of a 15-second explanation, which often is really not enough. So, of course, if people were protesting for reasons that fit in 15 seconds, it would be wrong and infantile. I don't think that's what's happening. If you meet me in the street during a protest, ask me nicely and I'll be very happy to talk with you for a while about my reasons.

And again: the protests in Vancouver did help the protests in Chicago, and now they are helping the ongoing protests in London, and the nascent groups in Zaragoza and Barcelona. The world does not end in Vancouver 2010 :-D
The whole world is looking: neither the spectacle nor the protests are only for locals and tourists.

And about the "hugging an European" thing, count me in, I'm from Spain and I love hugs ;-)

Jeremy Lim said...

@Anonymous: No, that's very true. For example, with the homeless, they're still there, but what some people don't realize is that they were being pushed out of East Hastings - and that's not cool. Let's be honest, no city is perfect, and hiding people who aren't affluent is downright inhumane. That's like getting rid of a squirrel problem.

But what the world sees is a bunch of upset people, who in their mind are just cranky, but do have every right to be upset.

It's a hard balance between speaking up and throwing crap, but they're definitely not wrong.

As for where our protests lead, you're definitely right; I heard protesters from London are actually here in Vancouver. It's really good for awareness, but again, always a balance ... or not. Sometimes, it seems only the biggest splashes get noticed.

All that said, we've got to smile and enjoy it or the sacrifice is for waste, no?

European hugs, folks. Make sure to hug someone Spanish!

Livie said...

hey Erin kudos to you for speaking out on this subject. and obviously you've touched a nerve with the bevy of responses.

While I think we should be lauded that we cherish our freedom of speech and the right to protest, I agree that it is selfish for some protesters to do this just to garner attention for the sake of being Anti-Olympics. With the disruption, it is also taking away from valuable security resources that the general public needs to keep everyone safe.

My point of view is that since as a taxpayer i'm already paying for all this for years to come, i might as well put on a smile and enjoy the ride.

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