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Vancouver hits back

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James Pearce | 11:16 UK time, Thursday, 18 February 2010

When I arrived at the International Broadcasting Centre today, my pass was checked by the woman on security as usual. The difference on this occasion was that she told me that I couldn't come in.

I'm not going to deny that during my career I have, maybe once or twice, blagged my way into places where I probably shouldn't have been - a 2002 World Cup semi-final springs to mind - but I'm happy to say that in Vancouver I'm a fully accredited journalist.

The broadcasting centre is my base during the Games. So you can imagine my surprise when she stopped me in my tracks.

I looked at the lady and I could see that she was smiling. "You're British," she said. "You lot have all been rude about our Olympics, I'm not going to let you in." Luckily, I could see that she was joking, I gave her a slightly nervous chuckle, and then continued on my merry way. Behind her jovial comment, though, lay a serious point. Many Canadians have been really hurt by some of the criticisms in the British media.

flame595.jpgAccess to the Olympic flame has been difficult for many. Photo: AFP

For the past few days, I've been trying to persuade the Vancouver Organising Committee (Vanoc) to offer me a senior figure to interview. I wanted to give them the chance to stick up for themselves.

The list of complaints is quite a long one: The problems with the lighting of the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony, the criticism that members of the public were only able to see the cauldron through a fence, the weather, the cancellation of 28,000 tickets to events on Cypress Mountain, the breakdown of the ice-surfacing machine at the speed skating venue. The list goes on.

There is, of course, also the issue of the death of an athlete, which has cast a huge shadow over the Games, but it feels totally inappropriate for me to add that to a list of other criticisms, as it makes everything else seem insignificant.

For the past couple of days. it's seemed that the Vanoc was happy to let all the criticism go unchallenged. That all changed this morning. My producer received a phone call telling him that John Furlong, the man in charge, the CEO of the Games, would be happy to speak to us in half an hour.

I'd never met him before, but from seeing him on television I'd always thought of him as fairly relaxed. He wasn't when he arrived this morning. Here was a man who'd clearly decided that enough was enough. He'd come to the conclusion that it was time to defend his reputation, to defend his Olympics.

In his hand, he carried a piece of paper with a few notes. He knew what he wanted to say and made his point very eloquently. He described some people in the press as "caustic" and "angry". You can see the interview on this page and judge for yourself, but it was his passion which made the greatest impression on me.

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After the interview, once the camera was switched off, it was as though I was speaking to a completely different man to the one who'd arrived a little earlier. Furlong had got everything off his chest and he clearly felt a lot better for having done so.

I'll be interested to see your comments on the interview. It's hard not to feel some sympathy for him, in particular regarding the weather. It's hardly his fault that Vancouver is in the middle of its mildest winter for a century. But what about the other issues? Have the British press been too hard on Vanoc?

I think that it's only fair that I make one point in defence of these Games before I sign off. Furlong talks at length in the interview about the atmosphere in Vancouver. There's a lot of truth in the saying "seeing is believing". Anybody who's walked through the city centre during some of the events, or managed to get up to Whistler, couldn't fail to get caught up in the excitement of the Canadian people.

Some of those who've written articles criticising these Olympics have done so from thousands of miles away. If those same people had been on Cypress Mountain when Canada won their first ever gold medal on home soil, they might have written a rather different story.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:23pm on 18 Feb 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    The British media is notorious the world over.
    It used to be for unbiased, honest and fair reporting, when did its notoriety change to its xenophobia, bitterness and printing of outright lies?

    As I said here http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/rogermosey/2010/02/perceptions_of_the_vancouver_g.html#P92559113 , how do British journalists get away with some of their lies?

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  • 2. At 12:27pm on 18 Feb 2010, RuariJM wrote:

    Mr Furlong's defence is fair enough - the British press isn't always famed for its calm and analytical approach to anything Olympic - but there is one criticism that was holding water before the games and is, tragically, emphasised now. That's the lack of access for practice on the luge/skeleton/bobsleigh track to non-Canadian teams.

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  • 3. At 12:28pm on 18 Feb 2010, PulpGrape wrote:

    Oh dont worry, the summer games here in London will be even worse so Canada will have the last laugh. If anyone can badly organise anything its Britain.

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  • 4. At 12:34pm on 18 Feb 2010, carnegie_tino wrote:

    I definitely agree with your last point, James. However, the problem that I have with these games is that, rightly or wrongly, (and please anyone correct me on this, as I'm only an archair viewer) Vanoc has not been able to distance themselves from the Canadian Olympic Comittee's quest to "own the podium". A phrase so brash and against the spirit of the games, that it will rub people up the wrong way.
    An example in point is the lockdown of the sliding centre prior to the games. By only allowing Canadian athletes proper access to a track considered the most dangerous in the world, they've hardly helped themselves out.
    In all this, the most important opinion, I reckon, in how successful a games is, is that of the athletes as they get the best first hand experience of an event that most of them have been waiting their entire lives for. Now when you have the likes of Shelley Rudman and other athletes and teams complaining about the fairness of such a decision (access to practice on the track), then that should be slightly more damning than the opinion of the British media.

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  • 5. At 12:44pm on 18 Feb 2010, roversmatt86 wrote:

    I agree from what I have seen that alot of the criticisms aimed at the Olympic organisers has been unfair. I mean, if the weather makes a viewing area unsafe then they have no choice but to close it... end of story.

    The one thing I think is absolutely the fault of the Olympic organisers is this policy that, in order to 'own the podium' the Canadians have heavily restricted the access of overseas athletes to the race facilities. The first question this poses is in regard to the Olympic spirit. Sure, a home athlete will always have a natural advantage in that the crowd will be behind them and they may, naturally through their career, be more familiar with the courses than their counterparts. However, to artificially accentuate this advantage by restricting practice time seems pretty close to cheating to me.

    Secondly, and more importantly, it is downright dangerous. In the aftermath of the tragic incident in the luge it was stated it was the athletes 30th run with the implication that this is rather a lot... is it though? When you consider that in the months leading up to the games it is being reported the home athletes were allowed to do hundreds? The issue can also be seen in the bobsleigh where two crews have crashed overnight.

    The same issue has arrived on the ski slopes. In the build up to the women's downhill the BBC coverage had one athlete commenting that she had done around 30 runs on the course whereas the Canadians had done nearer 300. There were subsequently some pretty big crashes in the event including one massive one off the big jump towards the end of the course.

    This post can be accused of being negative if you like but it would appear that the Canadians have put the pursuit of medals above the safety of athletes in what are potentially dangerous sports... and that is absolutely not on.

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  • 6. At 12:45pm on 18 Feb 2010, lee fett wrote:

    I'm quite surprised at the level of criticism that seems to have been aimed at the Vancouver Organising Committee. From where I'm sat here in England they've been fantastic and all the people I've spoken to who've been watching have all said the same thing. I'm not surprised that John Furlong's decided enough is enough. The fact is the biggest problem has been the weather but how can you control that? All you can do is try and overcome the obstacle and I think they've done a good job doing that. As for the refunded tickets, again if the area was unsafe because of the weather what are they meant to do? Let people go anyway and get criticised because there are then accidents. It appears they can't win in some circles whatever they do. Criticised for what happened in the luge with people saying it was unsafe. Then criticised again for cancelling tickets when they were doing so because the area was unsafe, it's crazy. How can they be criticised for doing the right thing?

    Of course what happened with the luger will be discussed, as it should be. But I still don't agree that that was the organisers fault. So the Canadians had more preparation time on the track? From what I've heard that's exactly the same at every Olympics. It's not as if they stopped the guy from ever racing there, he had been down the track before. In hindsight maybe more protection could have been in place there but hindsight's a wonderful thing. The fact is if you're going to paricipate in a sport like that you're taking your life in your own hands and all that can be done now is to learn from what happened to improve safety in the future which they are doing.

    All I keep thinking now is that London 2012 is going to get slaughtered in the international press now because our press companies have been going after Vancouver. Do these people really think 2012 will run smoothly without a single hitch? No Games ever have before so I don't see why they think ours will be the first. All they're doing is giving people reason to criticise when it's our turn.

    Anyway personally I say keep up the great work Vancouver. Yes you've had some obstacles to overcome but from where I'm sat you're doing a great job overcoming them and you're putting on a terrific Games.

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  • 7. At 12:50pm on 18 Feb 2010, Prince of Wales wrote:

    The problem with Canadians is that they cannot take criticism. They are even blaming the poor luger for his own death.

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  • 8. At 12:51pm on 18 Feb 2010, Mikethebike wrote:

    PulpGrape- The Olympics in London will be fantastic. Not a shadow of a doubt. Let's just hope the weather holds.

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  • 9. At 12:53pm on 18 Feb 2010, Spoonmehead wrote:

    Don't worry Canada, you only have to wait two-and-a-half years until payback time. The British will no doubt make a right royal mess of the organisation of London 2012. Then the tables will be turned!

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  • 10. At 12:54pm on 18 Feb 2010, Glosballcarrier wrote:

    I'm sure there's a saying about glasshouses and stones... our press are total morons but ever so slightly less moronic than our own olympic committee... bring on our national disaster and we won't even be able to blame the weather.

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  • 11. At 1:09pm on 18 Feb 2010, DaveC wrote:

    #7 ... and sometimes people participating in dangerous sports make mistakes that cost them their lives, that is just a fact. If the reason for the crash was a mistake by the athlete so be it, there have been over 5,000 successful runs down this course prior to the start of these olympic games, some of them by this particular athlete himself.

    Whatever the reality of the criticisms by the British media as a whole, the truth is that anything written by journalists commenting from this country is not worth the effort of worrying about.

    This nation's temperate climate and lack of genuine mountains essentially means that we have little to no experience of the organising and holding of Winter sports, because we don't have the weather to do it. I imagine that the Canadians are more irked that the media in a nation like ours feels that it has the right to criticise the organisation of something it doesn't understand.

    As far as I can see some of the criticisms are valid, and have been acted on and rectified by VOCOG ... who can hardly be held responsible for the team managers comments about "owning the podium".

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  • 12. At 1:09pm on 18 Feb 2010, lee fett wrote:

    Well said Glosball, it seems the biggest criticisms being aimed at Vanoc are all to do with the weather which is out of their control. It's going to be interesting in 2012 when half their competitors won't actually be at their events because transport around London is so bad!

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  • 13. At 1:22pm on 18 Feb 2010, Nicholas Hadley wrote:

    Whilst it should come as no surprise to anyone one that british "media", and by that I generally mean the tabloid press, resort to sensationalistic headlines and less than truth based stories, there are some aspects that the organisers have to look at.

    First, the entire ethos of the creation of the Olympic games was a coming together of nations to celebrate unity. Some Canadian statements such as "Owning the Podium" and Dick Pound's statement that non-medal contenders are "tourists" are polar opposites of what the Olympics are about.

    Home field advantage from a crowd perspective is one thing, but restricting access to the facilities for non-Canadians is another matter entirely.

    In the sliding events it has come out that Canadian riders have had more than 10 times the number of practice runs in the Olympic facilities than any other participant. Whilst this can partly be explained by simple geography, as Vancouver or Canada based competitors simply have a shorter distance to go than others, many foreign observers including Steven Colbert from the Colbert Report has expressed more sinister reasons from the Vacon behind this vast difference.

    As we all know, the luge track simply went past what the racers and sport is capable of, as clearly acknowledged by the organisers when they shortened and amended the track, but other events have also had problems.

    Four of the first 21 racers in the ladies downhill all crashed in the same jump and many, many racers took such poor lines that it can only be described as a fundamental lack of knowledge of the course. That only one starter in the entire field had been able to complete a full practice run from start to finish is shocking - poor weather conditions or not. A race with speeds exceeding 65 mph should simply not be allowed to take place until the participants have been able to get ample practice time under their belts.

    Finally, the organisation around the cross-country and biathlon has been pretty horrific, with 3(!) missed starts in pursuit starts due to mistakes by officials and a very poorly designed sprint course.

    Overall, Vacon can obviously not do anything about the weather, but they need to take an honest look at themselves, both from an organising perspective and the polar opposite views between the founding fathers of the Olympic Games and the medal chasing view of the head of the Canadian OC.

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  • 14. At 1:28pm on 18 Feb 2010, Paul wrote:

    Honestly sometimes it's just embarrassing being associated with this country. Everytime I have read comments in the British media I feel like cringing - especially the Vancouver 0 London 1 headline in the Times. The press here in the UK is instinctively negative and cynical -the publishers of the printed press are probably rubbing their hands with glee at all the attention they've been getting. Believe me this is only a taster for them, they are probably straining at the leash to get their teeth into the London games.
    From a sporting point of view - which is what I thought the olympics were all about - the games have been a great success! The atmosphere has been wonderful and I've really enjoyed watching them. In fact I've prefered them to the military precision and rather souless games of Beijing.
    I know it's probably a bit naive to view the games as an idealistic utopia rather than the commercial juggernaut they've become but I can't help it, every couple of years I sit with my rose tinted spectacles in place and get as excited as I did when I was a kid.
    I think Canada's done a great job against mounting odds and should be congratulated. Don't worry not everybody in the UK is bitter and cynical.

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  • 15. At 1:35pm on 18 Feb 2010, phillip wrote:

    I did feel the womens downhill was tougher than the mens and the girls were very brave yesterday. Dont ge tme wrong,there should so some risk, and the junior start on the luge spolit that competition as the girls could have surfed thier luges down at those speeds. But the games are commercial now and spectators want drama to go with the branding to get the all-important young middle-class demographic to watch and so buy thier cool products...

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  • 16. At 1:37pm on 18 Feb 2010, Hyperstar wrote:

    I think the winter games should be on BBC One

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  • 17. At 1:39pm on 18 Feb 2010, biffagriffa wrote:

    I'm British and live overseas (thankfully). It has made me realise that the British media (amongst others) really do not know how to respect other peoples (whether country, race, creed or other circumstances) when compared to other international opinions. I am sure that my comments will probably incite responses of 'good riddance' or similar which will simply serve to confirm my point. Thankfully the majority of the rest of the world now see British opinion as an annoyance rather than a reference. Hopefully one day Britain might regain some dignity in its contribution to the international stage - but I won't be holding my breath and nor will the world.

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  • 18. At 1:41pm on 18 Feb 2010, highthief wrote:

    A couple of points:

    As a Canadian, I don't feel the least put out by the British media. We all know how the rags in the UK treat people and organizations within the UK and outside. They are, in general, on the same level as the National Enquirer and are considered irrelavent by the rest of the world.

    As to the luge runs. While I do think they could have done a better job with safety, restricting access to the runs isn't part of the problem. The Georgian had almost 30 practice runs on the hill. How many practice runs do you think you get at the average World Cup luge run? It's not far off from that number.

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  • 19. At 1:43pm on 18 Feb 2010, rjaggar wrote:

    There are those here who are blaming LOC for the 'women's downhill course being too dangerous'.

    Absolute nonsense. It was a tough, demanding course, which demands respect and judgement from competitors. That's what the Olympics is about: it's not a race for 9 year old kids, you know....and the dominant athlete of the season dominated in the race, which kind of says that the best rose to the top, doesn't it??

    If you look at the British competitor, Chemmy Alcott, she skied well but without taking huge, huge risks. She came 13th, some 2.5 seconds or so off the pace. She made her choices and came down safely. She didn't win a medal...

    Crashes, I'm afraid, happen in downhill races. Stick to slalom if you can't tolerate that. Where the crashes happened near the bottom, one clipped a gate trying to cut a corner (skier error), the other undercompensated at the jump going for the gold medal and lost it on landing. Going for it to win was a conscious decision of the racer, a highly experienced one. The jump wasn't a death trap. And she walked away from the crash.

    It simply isn't acceptable to take away the decision-making responsibility from athletes. I thought the ladies downhill track was a superb test and there was no indication that any particular point posed dangerous risks intrinsically. You think otherwise, you better tell Bernie Ecclestone to limit F1 races to 90mph. I'm sure the crowds will double as a result.......

    It was designed to mix technical skill, courage and clinical risk-taking judgements.

    What else is an Olympic Downhill supposed to be??

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  • 20. At 1:43pm on 18 Feb 2010, Jordan D wrote:

    Erm, why can I see the interview? Can you explain why a news interview (not sports coverage) has "Not available in your area" on it? I accept that despite being a licence fee payer, travelling on work abroad means I don't get to stream coverage, but this is an interview.

    Maybe Lewis Wiltshire or James himself could explain & sort it out?

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  • 21. At 1:53pm on 18 Feb 2010, Justathought wrote:

    What bugs me the most is i don't think any of you reporters realise how inherently negative you are. Even this article, which is written from a sympathetic point of view is negative. You repeated all of the problems, listed most of them again and perpetuated the 'story'.

    But what is the context? If any effort was made at all i bet you could probably find 2 positives for every negative, at least. Why when your talking about perception of the games don't you keep repeating all the positive things these games achieved to date: Carbon neutral,the love for the venues your own athletes have professed ('we have windows in our rooms in Vancouver these are the best i have had. In Turin we could not see daylight from our rooms.' a British Athlete on BBC report), venues finished years early, legacy of the new venues, reuse of existing venues to great success, not spending as ridiculous as other games, etc. Won't that context affect the readers perception and for that matter the international perception of you reporters! Furthermore how many similar 'negatives' have occurred at other games. Turin had loads of delays for events? Beijing spent how much?

    A 'reporter' might actually have to attend the event, investigate and actually do some work, more than simply repeating the same negativity to affect any change.

    Perception is about context and the British media have neither.

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  • 22. At 1:53pm on 18 Feb 2010, interstellaroverdrive wrote:

    Really, just ignore most of the press, especially the hateful garbage that spews forth from the Daily Mail.

    Since when has good reporting meant doing Google searches, and reading those ridiculous ‘tweets’?

    How about actually watching some of it yeah?

    I just stayed up till 4am to watch the halfpipe and the mcflurry triple spin thing! The whole event was pretty amazing.

    Along with some of the other events like the two downhills, no one could say these games weren’t exiting, captivating, well worth watching, and only some minor technical problems (and 1 unfortunate accident), generally caused by the weather.

    Why pick up on the small negative aspects, when overall it's been an impressive event?

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  • 23. At 1:54pm on 18 Feb 2010, mattsanger wrote:

    I feel we need to be a little considerate of the games in Vancouver with our comments as many people have rightly pointed out, we have not yet put on London, which could turn out to be a nightmare. Londoners tend to live in a bubble most of the time anyway and media comments from those based in London merely confirm that they view London as the only city in the world with most others irrelevant and incompetent.

    2012 could be great but London is a city that will present many challenges to visitors as well as athletes (absurdly expensive to be in, even more absurdly expensive to travel in, criminals no doubt hatching plans to take advantage of tourists, traffic, tickets being difficult to get hold of as they’ll go to corporates not fans, lukewarm atmosphere as a result of stadiums being filled with corporates not fans) so I think the criticism needs to ease up in a big way unless where it is entirely relevant and in need of change if this is the norm, which appears to be in access to athletes before the games.

    As for British media commenting on the weather, this is the most absurd. It could very well rain for the entire games in 2012!

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  • 24. At 2:00pm on 18 Feb 2010, pontoon_g117 wrote:

    For as long as I've been watching the Winter Olympics, weather has been a problem for every host. Nagano copped it particularly badly in 1998. That, to me, is not an issue. But athletes being killed because appropriate safety measures aren't in place? THAT is what we should all be talking about.

    I've just read Martin Samuel's piece from the Daily Mail. Yes it's hard-hitting. It doesn't pull any punches, but it is also absolutely spot on. However good these Games are, and they have been, they will be always be tainted because of that. Just as Munich is remembered for the Israeli athletes, Moscow and Los Angeles for the boycotts and Atlanta for the bombing, Vancouver will come to be remembered first and foremost for this.

    I presume that as well as having a pop at the British press, the Canadian officials will also be complaining about the Sports Illustrated column there is a link to on the screen with James' report headlined "Gaffes Galore at the Glitch Games" as well, will they?

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  • 25. At 2:00pm on 18 Feb 2010, Simon Evans wrote:

    I was born and raised in England and even after moving to Canada in 1987 I still had the mentality of England being the greatest nation on earth, my wife would say "if it's that great why don't you go back". She was joking of course. What I have come to see is alarming. Either England has become a narcissistic, judgmental, ignorant nation or I was just very naive. I read various UK media outlets everyday online and these ugly views of the world around them seems prevelant. The Vancouver 2010 Olympics, while not flawless, has been a spectacular event of beautiful landscape, great competitors, wonderful enthusiasm drenched in wonderful Canadian History, Canada was hoping to show the world its great beauty, history, passion and love for its land but that message seems to have missed or ignored by many, it's truly you who are missing out.

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  • 26. At 2:03pm on 18 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Keep plugging. You're doing a good job.

    The Vancouver games have had the look of a train wreck for a long time. The media have given the games, and the IOC, a free ride for far, far too long. Wrong organizing group. Wrong broadcaster. Wrong venue. Too much real estate speculation. I'm glad to see the BBC finally doing the right thing. I wish the CBC would do the same.

    However, the target here shouldn't be Vancouver, per se, but rather the entire marketing farce that is the Olympics, where the unpaid "talent", i.e., the athletes, are used as circus exhibits and human cannon fodder for the advertisers, a circus run by an unaccountable body.

    It is past time to put the IOC out of business. Replace it with a properly run, transparent, democratic and accountable sports governing body. Get rid of the history of fascism. Get rid of the various licensing deals and the ridiculous contractual terms attempting to limit free speech (they wanted poets, but only ones who would agree never to utter a word of criticism ...). Get rid of the croneism. Get rid of the torch "relay". Run the games by and for the athletes. Have it publicly funded by the participating nations, subject to direct government-to-government agreement. Get rid of the advertising monopolies. The coverage should be completely commercial free.

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  • 27. At 2:15pm on 18 Feb 2010, DH73 wrote:

    I lived in England for over ten years and it comes to no surprise how the British media report news. I cannot wait until they have the 2012 Summer Olympics. They are just preparing themselves for all the critisism they will be receiving. They should probably focus on winning medals. How many medals have they won?!?!?!?

    Living now in Vancouver and experiencing the 2010 Winter Olympics, I can truly say I am EXTREMELY PROUD TO BE CANADIAN.

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  • 28. At 2:25pm on 18 Feb 2010, macymru wrote:

    As someone who lived in Edmonton for the Commonwealth games in 1978, The Universiade in '84, lived in Calgary for the '88 winter games and attended the world track and field championships in Edmonton in 2001 (if memory serves me correctly), well, the usual carping on from the British media is to be expected. They should really consider themselves very fortunate to be in such a beautiful city as Vancouver and consider themselves lucky. But we all know (and I am British originally) that the UK media love to have a good go at something even when there is nothing to complain about. This was entirely predictable and unfortunately does nothing to bolster the outside world's view of the UK as a decent and welcoming place. When it's not raining, or the wrong type of snow falls or when there are leaves on the line, or engineering works, or road works during summer hols or.......

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  • 29. At 2:41pm on 18 Feb 2010, gocanada wrote:

    Everyone seems to be so caught up with the "own the podium" program. Has anyone taken the time to look it up and see what it actually is?
    Its a funding program for Canadian athletes, started as a reaction to the sadly lacking amount of financial support that has been provided in the past to Canadian athletes, and put in place in order to give their athletes the best possible chance for success in their home country. The lack of funding for Canadian athletes has been a huge issue in Canada for decades.
    This type of program is nothing new. No one seemed to have a problem with "Project 119" that was undertaken by the Chinese, in an attempt to capture as many gold medals as possible during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
    I guess they should have named it something more passive such as, "The maybe we can do better in the medal standings if we provide our athletes with a little support" program. It's just not as catchy.

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  • 30. At 2:50pm on 18 Feb 2010, Ken wrote:

    The organisation of the biathlon sprint start WAS a shambles, although to be honest I'm not sure that the starter can take all the blame for the Canadian competitor's early start. I watched it live and it looked to me that the Canadian decided he was going, although the speed with which the Canadian director cut away from the start as that was happening did get me prondering conspiracy theories and wondering whether this was another "Own the Podium" initiative that TV was trying to hide!

    On the death, accidents will happen in dangerous sports. But it's surely unacceptable that a rider making a mistake can be flung out of the track and hit a steel girder. If those boards had been there before the accident his chances of surviving must have been better. Mistakes can surely be simulated in 3D computerised modelling, and luge competitors have left the track previously, so it's surprising that the danger of steel girders in the vicinity of the track wasn't forseen.

    I think you can liken this incident to race courses - they got rid of the last concrete posts holding up the running rails years ago, and the running rails are plastic. Racing is still a sport with a level of danger, but the risk from outside factors in the surrounding environment has been managed downwards for the benefit of horses and jockeys. It has to be right right thing to do.

    I think the luge track designers and organisers do have a case to answer as to why this had not been considered, and why the dangers were ignored if in fact it was considered.

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  • 31. At 2:54pm on 18 Feb 2010, Stevat wrote:

    I have to agree with the majority of people posting on here. I have watched a number of events now, and find myself watching sports I wouldn't normally take in every single night. The coverage of the games is good, and to be honest the most upsetting aspect of the whole thing is that I am here and not there. What a beautiful country and city, have enjoyed the fantastic sweeping camera shots of glorious white and wooded valleys and the fantastic modern metropolis that is Vancouver itself.

    To randomly blame a series of unfortunate events (that have been handled with aplomb given the circumstances) says a lot more about our press than it does about VANOC. Here's hoping our press don't continue to sully the name of British people the world over, I'm hopeful that I can avoid association with the UK press, their behaviour has been shameful for years.

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  • 32. At 2:58pm on 18 Feb 2010, Sinaha wrote:

    Canadians cannot wait for Brit screw-ups during London Olympics.

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  • 33. At 3:00pm on 18 Feb 2010, jonathan wrote:

    REPORTING IN THE AFFIRMATIVE Please. British press have crossed the line and here's why. Canadians, and in particular Canadians in BRITISH Columbia in large numbers trace their roots to the U.K. They always saw Britain as an ally and friend if nor ruling power The negative BRITISH Olympic reporting has frankly astonished them and probably permanently damaged many peoples opinions of Britain. Most have never travelled outside North America. UK papers have also condemned the Olympics to page 9 of the sports newspaper behind tiddlywinks


    What I have seen is streets all day and night packed with literally hundreds of thousands of happy partying people. But people here appear to be always happy! Top restaurants are full and there are half empty car parks. The most visible vehicles, being around 5000 press and athlete chauffeur driven new white jeeps, and Olympic buses full of NON fee paying press and other freeloaders. THATS THE POINT. The locals see this free jamboree ,(( Largely ignoring the fact that these freeloaders stay in luxury hotels and apartments, and I mean real luxury residences)), whilst paying for this corporate party in their taxes, and then they are still getting criticised.
    Its a bit like being a happy tax paying Russian in Communist Russia, whilst being left to walk the streets in freezing snow whilst the Communist Party leaders drive past on they way to Party all the time criticising the the lazy Proletariat in the Party Papers with no way for the proletariat to comment.
    The truth in my opinion, is that as Vancouver regularly is voted the best place in the world to live, they are trying to break this Notion. The downtown streets are 6 very wide lane highways in a grid and there are endless underground car parks at 6 - 9 pounds a day . People are helpful, and 99% courteous . Shanri La , Fairmont, Hyatt, Upteen fancy Boutique Hotels. Sushi Bento boxes for around 7 pounds. You can literally play golf in the morning, ski at lunch and sail at night. Or even switch that order as some ski runs are floodlit. The views i have seen are to die for . Everywhere is just a few people in massive stores , or offices. Plus in mid february its 16 degrees today. Why not just enjoy it and praise the fact that some places are just that little bit extra special.Matthew Pinset video does sum it up in his blog. Other bloggers touched on a MASSIVE press area. Not a lot else to say other than Please get positive for true REPORTING IN THE AFFIRMATIVE

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  • 34. At 3:01pm on 18 Feb 2010, r2chyboy wrote:

    I thought it was more disgusting that the Olympic Boss and his legal team were quick to remove any blame from themselves and the track. Concerns were raised about the track months before the games started. The poor guy crashed into exposed metal poles at the start or a high speed corner. Who the hell decided it was a good Idea to leave exposed metal poles bordering the track. Easy for them to try deflecting the attention, they failed to ensure the saftey of this athlete. They then failed as human beings to accept any responsibility, shame on them.

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  • 35. At 3:06pm on 18 Feb 2010, G_K___ wrote:

    Re Dick Pound's description of non-podium athletes as "tourists" -

    Seldom have a man's first name and surname been so commendably apt.

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  • 36. At 3:23pm on 18 Feb 2010, aceblack1965 wrote:

    I'm a long-time Vancouverite. I do sympathize with the British media. It must be tough to find something good to say when the "Great" Britain team is recording 0 Gold, 0 Silver, and 0 Bronze, almost a week into the games. Meanwhile, all those colonies like the US and Canada are doing so well in the medal table! How embarassing!

    Yes, every large event is going to have problems. We can choose to focus on the few negative items, or we can focus on the huge positive vibe and the global celebration that is going on. We live with our choices.

    I've tried to capture the immense positive vibe in Vancouver in this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSNNrzdm7jQ

    I'm glad to say that the hundreds of thousands of people here for the games really do seem to be having a great time. The British press can choose to wallow in their misery -- the rest of us are just getting on with the celebration.

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  • 37. At 3:24pm on 18 Feb 2010, Groenhoven wrote:

    The criticism of the UK media maybe unjust, but the organisation of the games has been a mess so far. I have watched several events, all of which have been hampered by problems.

    I will highlight some problems with the speed skating, which has generally been a shambles:
    1) They got the composition of the ice wrong for the events; for the sprints the ice was too hard, for long distance to soft. They should have done it the other way round.
    2) They mop (prepare) the ice less than what would be expected under a normal competition. During the Ladies 500m they decided to change the times they would mop which gave certain skaters an unfair advantage/disadvantage.
    3) All the mops broke down (what a coincidence..) during the men’s 500M. This caused a long delay.

    When considering this you should realise that it’s the competitors that have been suffering. Competitors that have been preparing themselves for the tiniest details over the past 4 years for what should be the highlight of their careers. Shame the Canadian organisers didn’t do the same…

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  • 38. At 3:50pm on 18 Feb 2010, jonny99 wrote:

    is any one Actually watching the winter olympics? not ownly is it boring but it's on late there are only highlights to watch and Britain ain't going to win anything. MAYBE they should try to put in more money into winter sports so that Britain gets better and be more come Competitive at it.

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  • 39. At 3:58pm on 18 Feb 2010, fibar o barack wrote:

    I totally concur with the Canadian's view of our press.
    Today almost all press stories in the UK are negative. 20 years ago for example we had one positive story re our government to every 3 bad. Now we have one positive story to every 20 negative story.

    Thus we all think and believe our country is much worse than the one we actually know.

    It is true, last year and extensive survey found that most people's live were; good, safe and happy with little or no contact with crime or fear etc. And yet these same people believed that other people were having lives full of crime and misery even though these same people agreed that their lives were safe and happy etc.

    Thus our press is creating a miserable and fearful life, even though in real times we are; richer, safer and should be happier.

    It is no shock that this down turn in our press coincided with foreign ownership of our press. Large parts os it are owned by billionaire, Australian born American who have no interest in the welfare, mental or otherwise of the UK population. The British people are victims to the horrible, hatfield, ignorant press it now has. This horrible press is anti- European Union, Anti, health and safety, anti unions, anti minimum wage and ultimately anti English.

    To conclude, we must make amends to the Canadians but also explain that the press is not british and not in our control.


    P>S only one country in the history of athletics or world sports events has been awarded a competition and then had to 'de-fault' on the competition and hand back the award ? UK, awarded the 2005 world athletics games could not build a stadium or even roads leading to that stadium. This was the proud heritage of J Major's Conservative government.

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  • 40. At 4:10pm on 18 Feb 2010, dav4439 wrote:

    Whilst I agree that the Canadian attitude in the pursuit of medals is not in true keeping with the Olympic spirit, I would equally argue that the British media's attitude is also not very "Olympic".

    Lets see what happens at London 2012. If nothing else, I hope Britain has learned hard lessons from its legacy of staging second-rate sporting events with over-budget, behind schedule venues. How quickly the British media forget about these....

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  • 41. At 4:15pm on 18 Feb 2010, Nately wrote:

    The British press are always the first to criticise anything organised by a foreign country. They are so myopic, they can not see or accept that things are done differently in other countries. They were the same with the Olympics in Greece. Well, let's see what they will have to say in 2012!

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  • 42. At 4:22pm on 18 Feb 2010, Jonny MacD wrote:

    As an ex-Brit living in Canada it is slightly embarassing but not surprising that some sections of the media over there are having a go at Vancouver. Fortunately, and more impressively, for most Canadians this is water off a duck's back as the whole country is engrossed in this wonderous spectacle of sport. Everyone has bought into it. It's the subject of enthusiastic conversations at work, in the pubs and everywhere I go; and I live in the East coast, not the West.

    It's easy to take cheap shots from 3000 miles away, and even easier for a notoriously cynical press to find fault as opposed to praise. When I lived in the UK I used to deride the tabloid press as "written by scum, read by scum". Apparently now this applies to the so-called broadsheets also.

    Sad, pathetic, but unfortunately not atypical.

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  • 43. At 4:23pm on 18 Feb 2010, MarktheHorn wrote:

    British Media - Beign negative?

    Blimey its hardly a new thing!

    Truble is people over here always look at the negative side of things (there was some bad stuff going on) and are NEVER happy!



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  • 44. At 4:26pm on 18 Feb 2010, supersmude wrote:

    I can understand that the Canadians are upset by negative comments by the British press. I cannot believe however there has been no comment by any other country. Are we the only ones being singled out?

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  • 45. At 4:27pm on 18 Feb 2010, UKCanuck wrote:

    I’m really sick of the reporting from the BBC and Eurosport. (Eurosport were repeatedly announcing that Whistler is in the heart of the Rocky mountains... BUY A MAP! The Rockies are around 900km east!) It’s ruining the Games for me. I was glad, at first, to think that I wouldn’t be subjected to American coverage of the events because of its self centred approach. It seems that as they have no athletes to talk about most of the time the BBC feel the need to justify their existence and presence at the games by pointing the finger and digging for something to whinge about.

    As for complaining about the “Own the Podium” funding program, what’s wrong with a little pride? Is it because we’re finally saying out loud that we’re proud to be Canadian? Is it because Canada is winning medals and the UK can’t?

    Blaming a host country for practicing at the venue they built and allowing the opposition the prescribed access and no more is ridiculous. If you want to practice more, build your own venue... A venue which, by the way, had to pass inspections and scrutiny by several governing bodies including those for international Luge competition, the IOC and VANOC and nobody saw the potential hazard. Even after several international events and all the practices held there, nobody saw the hazard. It was a tragic accident. ACCIDENT! Steps were taken after the fact to change the course and some of the best in the world in the sport have now complained it’s too easy.

    Speaking of courses, yes, the women’s downhill is a long, steep, challenging course. What do you expect? Whistler is a long, steep, challenging mountain. I lived there for many years and I’ve skied that route often. It’s a real thigh burner. A true test of what your legs and lungs are made of. Dangerous? The whole sport’s dangerous. Not enough training? You can’t blame VANOC for the weather. Not everyone fell over on the way down. Most of the ones with the legs and the presence of mind to balance aggression with smooth skiing and a splash of caution made the finish line. That’s racing.

    I’m growing quite disillusioned with my adopted home here in the UK. From the smug, negative tone of the reporting to the fact that most of what you do hear is somewhere behind junior football results and which Premiership foootballist has slept with his manicurist this week the coverage is shameful. The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world right now. Report the accidents and foibles, yes, but try tempering that with something positive for a change.

    The BBC is Britain’s face and voice in much of the world and has a massive impact on how the people of this nation are perceived overseas. I’m annoyed that my license fee has gone on so many £600 plus ski jackets for the broadcasters and sincerely hope that the natives of this country are embarrassed by the way they are being represented in a country that has done nothing but welcome them.

    Good luck in 2012.

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  • 46. At 4:28pm on 18 Feb 2010, comiston wrote:

    It is so ironic that the british media are attacking the Winter Olympics when they are hardly even reporting on it. The coverage on BBC is laughable, inaccurate and low budget. The presenters are doing their best but the funding has clearly been slashed. How our we supposed to engage the population to take part in a variety of sports if our public service broadcaster doesn't even provide decent coverage of the Olympics.

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  • 47. At 4:31pm on 18 Feb 2010, Morpheus2112 wrote:

    Anyone who has listened to the professional athletes commentating for the bbc on the olympics will have heard several times that the training time given to non Canadian atheletes was in line with the minimum requirements from the IOC and that this approach was exactly the same as that adopted by the Italians in Turin and the Americans in Salt Lake and every nation that has hosted the olympics. It is nothing new but I think that because Canadians have a world wide reputation as polite and unassuming this has come to the forefront along with the own the podium campaign. Who can blame a country for wanting to do well at it's own olympics and good luck to them!!!!

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  • 48. At 4:31pm on 18 Feb 2010, shadsmum74 wrote:

    In reply to comment 5 ....

    "In the build up to the women's downhill the BBC coverage had one athlete commenting that she had done around 30 runs on the course whereas the Canadians had done nearer 300"

    This was a comment made by Sheley Rudman about the skeleton competition NOT the Women's Downhill". 300 practice runs on the downhill course would be likely to kill the competitors!!

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  • 49. At 4:32pm on 18 Feb 2010, Ryan86 wrote:

    After the crash last weekend, I happened across a video of a Ukranian woman having a crash similiar to that of the Georgian at Whistler in 2009. Not quite sure if it's the same track, but I guess the Olympic billboards and such have probably just spruced the place up.

    I don't particularly follow luge, but do follow another danger sport in motorsports. I know that occasionally things to do go horribly wrong, but all you can do is learn and not make the same mistake again. Sometimes it's really obvious that something was wrong, other times it's a freak and there's only so much you can do. It's cast a small shadow, and I admit to feeling a bit apprhensive at the start of the first men's run in the luge to what appeared to be forecast chaos. In the end it was actually pretty boring.

    That was the only major thing that's happened. I'm sure London 2012 the scoreboard will break down at the beach volleyball or the archery will be postponed due to 40mph winds. These things happen and all you can do is get on with it - though hopefully we don't send the triathletes down a dead end tunnel.

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  • 50. At 4:46pm on 18 Feb 2010, Bill wrote:

    The Associated Press here in the US is reporting that British athletes are angered that the UK press has been so negative and are going public about it. They quoted a British athlete as saying: "The British love to criticize you, it's the excitement of the press." and then basically going on to say that what some in the UK media are writing is just plain false.

    It makes you wonder why the British media's only motive is to make the Games look as bad as possible while at the same time ignoring and even angering their own athletes. What is up with the UK press?

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  • 51. At 4:52pm on 18 Feb 2010, JLDM wrote:

    I'm not surprised to see that 'our' press has created/jumped on this bandwagon so quickly. "If it's not negative, it's not worth writing" seems to be their motto. It's a sad indictment on the way our country has been heading.

    It's not just foreign events that get this treatment. London 2012 will get it just as bad, if not worse. They will have a field day destroying any good feeling that those games bring.

    I will say this however. I've noticed one or two posts in which all 60m of us Brits have been judged on the words of the press. That's as narrow minded and ignorant as those 'journalists' who wrote them. Rise above it.

    We'll welcome you with open arms in 2012. No amount of sniping from the gutter press will change that.





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  • 52. At 4:52pm on 18 Feb 2010, M'dus F'cus wrote:

    So......A guy dies, arguably due to lack of foresight and preparation on behalf of the Organisers ....but the UK Media is to blame for being too cycnical....

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  • 53. At 4:52pm on 18 Feb 2010, Canuck wrote:

    As a Canadian who has participated in, and attended four Olympic Games and numerous World Championships and World Cups I would like to make a few comments. Firstly to clear the air on the comment about the Canadians putting the responsibility on the luge driver for the accident, it was in fact the International Luge Federation that made this statement.
    As for the other points; I have seen many many delays due to weather and ice conditions and machinery malfunctions at every Games and Championships that I have attended. These are part of all sports and the athletes adapt or not depending on their experience. When people pay attention to these events only every four years it is difficult to really appreciate the real world of some of these activities.
    Finally as for the "Own the Podium". The Olympics and all sport requires major funding to achieve it's goals and the Olympics are no exception. The "Own the Podium" was, and is, a marketing slogan to give prominence to our athletes and bring on board various funding groups. We Canadians also cringe sometimes in this bold and brash statement which is in so many ways out of character and more like our southern neighbors. It was mainly a project to give the athletes an equal footing with the tradition winter sport powers in the area of athlete support, sport science, and living expense funding.
    Canadians are a proud nation and feel that the Winter Olympics are a venue where we can display some of our many talents. We are also a people who believe in the Olympic ideal as illustrated by hosting the 1976, 1988 and now the 2010 Games.

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  • 54. At 4:56pm on 18 Feb 2010, HenryV wrote:

    I agree with UKCanuck... The British media - however vilified and mis-trusted in their homeland.. are the face of the British people, I for one am embarrassed by their coverage.. However our media are fantastic at slagging everyone off - and some of the worst critism they save for the efforts of their own countrymen...
    Unfortunately for those people saying that come 2012 they will get their own back.. the very media whinging and moaning about a decent games held in another Commonwealth Country - and probably our closest friend geo-politically - and which we should be supporting - will also be the ones pouring scorn on our own efforts come the summer games..

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  • 55. At 4:57pm on 18 Feb 2010, Christopher Wellborn wrote:

    As an American who is an avid winter sports fan I truly believe the Canadians have done an excellent job given what they have to work with. Nobody could have predicted an El Nino weather pattern years in advance. There have been some technical glitches but this is true of all Olympics. The Canadians have been marvelous hosts and good sports. I watched the Women's Alpine last night and saw Lindsey Vonn win with a right leg that she did not engage at significant points during her run. Chemmy Alcott and Maria Reisch played it much more conservatively and finished accordingly. That is not Canada's fault. The courses are tough but these are elite athletes who are supposed to be familiar with their respective sports at this level and the courses on which they are run. It is fascinating to me that similar criticism against the Canadians has not been leveled by the Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Germans or other nations which have a greater understanding of what it takes to compete in winter sports. The British press used to be better and many of us hope that it will eventually harken back to the days when it was known the world over for sensible, accurate and unbiased reporting instead of xenophobic whinning (whinging). It is almost like the British press have been to the Arsene Wenger school of post loss excuses.

    Either way, as a Southern Neighbor, I am proud for Canada and the athletes who are going out and giving their best without complaining.

    Cheers and best of luck to Shelly Rudman, she deserves a gold.

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  • 56. At 4:58pm on 18 Feb 2010, wendy wrote:

    We are not "HURT". that would imply that we are weak. What we are is ANGRY at teh completely biased so-called journalism in Britain. If you want to read REAL journalism, go look at the New York Times' coverage.

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  • 57. At 4:58pm on 18 Feb 2010, BCEvilEye wrote:

    Well I live in Vancouver Eh! Vancouver is such a boring place that the Olympics are a two week party Eh! Who cares about the events, those are for rubes Eh!

    The only important game is the Mens Hockey final and Canada had better win Eh!

    Who cares if the BC government closed 176 schools in the province to pay for the Olympics.

    No tourists will notice that all surgeries at hospitals have been curtailed to save money for the games.

    Will anyone ask about our Premier, El Gordo, that all the well paid Olympic posts are held by personal friends?

    Will the BBC investigate that all funding for school sports have been canceled to pay for this political extravaganza!

    And no one cares that all BC Liberal party members got free tickets to events.

    So pass the BC Bud Eh and have another 'Canadian', because in March we will have one massive financial hangover that may bankrupt the province, like the Athens Summer games did to Greece. Have fun in London Eh!

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  • 58. At 5:10pm on 18 Feb 2010, JackTorrence wrote:

    I follow the British media even though I am not British and I fail to comprehend why the Canadians are hurt. Everybody (e.g. USA and the Netherlands) has been complaining about the lack of time provided for other nations and a person has died! So a little bit of criticism should be taken humbly.

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  • 59. At 5:22pm on 18 Feb 2010, HandOfSuarez wrote:

    The British press don't care about the success of 2012 either. If that doesn't go well then they will be able to slate that games as well. All they want are sensationalist headlines to sell papers. Little things like reporting the truth don't come into it

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  • 60. At 5:26pm on 18 Feb 2010, hectoring wrote:

    The complain about the weather is most unfair, coming from a nation that, for years, sat through countless hours of inane chatter on live TV on BBC1 while waiting for rain to stop at Wimbledon.

    Is it just me or complaining is the only national sport Britain would be sure to take home the gold medal each time?

    As for the Canadians, fair criticism to the organising committee is not in any way a personal attack at Canada, Canadians or the Canadian games. I am sure the atmosphere in Vancouver is unparalleled, yet this doesn't mean that there haven't been a few technical difficulties which could have been avoided.

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  • 61. At 5:27pm on 18 Feb 2010, LEG wrote:

    I live in downtown Vancouver and am a proud Canadian. I've been to a few events and have been watching the games in the evenings. I also work for one of the olympic sponsors. Until this article I hadn't even heard of this "own the podium" business, so it can't be pushed too hard by the Canadian media! And what's wrong with wanting to win medals? Isn't that what all athletes dream of? Isn't that why we have medal rankings on any site that mentions the olympics? Besides- we're only pushing to win medals because we are constantly being mocked for never winning any! I'm just glad I don't have to hear the lines "Canada's never won a gold on home soil" anymore! As for home athletes having better access to venue training than the international athletes- prior to the olympics there was anger on behalf of the Canadian athletes at the LACK of access to the venues for practice- it was prohibited as Canadians did not want to be seen as having a "home advantage". I haven't seen any proof that internationals have been denied training opportunities where Canadians were granted them. As for the flame being fenced off- who cares?! You can see it from about 5 blocks away, and it's swarmed by so many people you can't get close enough to see the fence anyways! Stonehenge is fenced off and it doesn't prevent people from enjoying it. Let's face it- the olympic flame is a target for vandalism. I'd rather see it protected during the olympics than vandalized.
    I think a lot of what's going on is being warped by the media with such dramatic reporting of people's "olympic dreams being stolen" because standing room tickets had to be cancelled... Well- I've been to 2 events now and there was still room for more people at them- there ARE guaranteed tickets out there still available- plus innumerable FREE events, concerts and pavillions all over the city. Trust me- you can still enjoy the olympics!
    I think people are forgetting what a huge undertaking hosting the entire world is- there are bound to be glitches and people will always be critical. You just need to improvise and move on! One thing is for certain though- the olympic spirit is alive and well over here and people are having a blast!

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  • 62. At 5:33pm on 18 Feb 2010, Andrew wrote:

    I agree that the true spirit of the Olympic Games is not being represented by the media, who seem to want to sensationalise. Rather than trying their best in conveying the human endeavour that brought our athletes to Vancouver and, indeed, Vancouver's wonderful job, the media seem largely intent on bringing us as much doom and gloom as possible.

    I do, however, believe that part of the problem is in sending mainstream journalists to cover sporting events, as opposed to sporting journalists and ex-athletes. The former is pre-programmed to find the disaster, whereas the latter know what it takes to arrange and compete in the Olympics.

    In defence of the BBC, I can say that they are not the only media entity to be reporting negatively. I currently live in the US, and the printed, blog and broadcast media have been eager to assassinate Canada, Vancouver, and any non-American athletes at every turn. NBC, who have the exclusive rights, have covered the games poorly, and have even flown well known mainstream news anchors in to commentate on any failures by Canada. This unscheduled "news" coverage was shown in place of scheduled games. Baffling.

    What a shame that such an opportunity for being united in championing the human spirit, has been sullied by the media.

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  • 63. At 5:37pm on 18 Feb 2010, John_S wrote:

    Why do the BBC show 'Live' on BBC2 but if you go to the 'red button' you can always see that it is not! It is a rip off. Too many hightlights on BBC2.

    ie Tues Figure Skating Live on Red Button 1/2 hr delay same programme on BBC2

    Curling same thing last night 1/2 hr delay on BBC2 but live on red button

    Come on BBC this was meant to be a practice for 2012. Failed badly no wonder nobody likes the media coverage if you can not get the programming right.

    So badly presented as well I do hope you are not paying the presenters too much money!

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  • 64. At 5:39pm on 18 Feb 2010, sftx16 wrote:

    I am a very proud Canadian who is so excited to see Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, hosting the winter Olympic Games. I am appalled and digusted by the negative comments by the international media-mostly the British media- in regards to the glitches that have occured throughout the games, especially those glitches which involve the weather. It seems ridiculous that someone could even try to point a finger at the organizing commitee for something that is obviously out of everyone's control.

    In regards to the mechanical glitch which occured during the lighting of the cauldren-yes that was unfortunate. It actually has happened at a number of the Olympic games in the past. This is not something new and frankly not even news worthy.

    The Olympic Committee has been under fire for their lack of access to the different areas for training purposes. As one person aptly commented, the althetes are getting training time, but as is custom at all of Olympics in the past, access to the facilities were restricted previously to allow Canadian athletes to train on them first and the most. It is part of the home field advantage that comes with hosting the Olympic games. I can't wait to see how generous and open the British Olympic Association will be when the games are hosted in London in 2012.

    I also cannot believe that they are calling the Canadian Olympic Commitee's quest for Olympic medals as a sentiment contrary to the games themselves. They are a competition, so of course the athletes want to win. I think the whole idea behind this push for the podium is not only to get the athletes fired up for the games, but to get the Canadian public involved as well. We have a reputation for being passive and polite. They want us to show our pride in our country in our athletes. I know I feel an immense pride when I see the althese representing our country and the fans supporting the athletes at these Olympic games.

    Finally, and not to be taken lightly, I am extremely offended by any implication that anyone involved in the organization of the Olympics was not devasted by the death of the young Georgian luge athlete. I saw a comment indicating that Canadians cannot taken critisism and just decided to blame the athelete for his death. The truth is that an invesigation was completed by a number of organizations, including the International Luge Federation, in which they found that the accident was unfortunately caused by human error. That being said, it does not take away the sadness that was felt by all Canadians and internationally for the death of this young man. It was a tragedy.

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  • 65. At 5:43pm on 18 Feb 2010, Tramp wrote:

    Hey cheer up Vancouver. Nobody cares about the British press anymore over here. The press is slowly dying and all those hacks who come up with uninformed garbage are going to be on the dole soon. The only people who pay any attention to the press are the broadcast journalists like the BBC who stupidly and slavishly follow the agenda set by the dead tree deadwood.

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  • 66. At 5:47pm on 18 Feb 2010, Robert Ess wrote:

    Please, Please, Please do NOT assume all Canadians feel proud about "our" behaviour or these games.I am Canadian living in the province of BC and I can assure you it is only some of the population of Vancouver who even support these games. It has been mired in controversy ever since its inception because of partisan politics. We currently have an extreme right wing government that garners its supported from the greater Vancouver area and despised by the rest of the Province. The only place that matters to them is Vancouver and so while Billions of dollars have been spent there, the rest of the province has been left to whither and die even though it is our collective tax dollars paying the bill. Our manufacturing industries have been badly hurt by the global recession but they are not in Vancouver so they are left to die. Recently the northern town of Kitimat has had their only major employer, a large pulp mill, permanently shut down and with that loss it is difficult to see how this town will even survive. Many other "small" towns in BC are in the same boat, but the BC government spends billions on Vancouvers games oblivious to the concerns and needs of the rest of the province.It has been said also that Vanoc has no control over the weather. True. But everyone who lives here, knows that the coastal mountains are notoriously fickle and if you want great conditions for skiing you go to the interior mountains......but then that's not Vancouver is it. Can't spend money outside Vancouver remember. So please don't go away thinking we are all shallow, win at all cost types. Most of us who live in this province are also disgusted.

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  • 67. At 5:52pm on 18 Feb 2010, Doodler57 wrote:

    As a born-and-bred Vancouverite who has lived both in Calgary and now in the UK for 11 years, I have perhaps a unique perspective on this whole business.
    I do believe, having had some experience with the English press, that they are far more interested in selling themselves & a story than actually burrowing out the 'truth'. The glitches in the Games are relatively minor compared to other Games (anyone remember Atlanta '96) or different (ie. no spectators in Beijing). Also, there is a lot that is to be admired about the spirit of the Games; having moved to Calgary right after the '88 Games, I know how it really does lift a community.

    However, even if you assume that the Brit press are a bunch of beer-swilling xenophobic layabouts with little knowledge or regard for journalism, VANOC is looking very very thin-skinned in all of this. We really do look like the 'younger brother' of the US, trying so hard to be better, including the famously fatuous 'Own the Podium' phrase (How depressingly American that is...next thing you know, we'll turn flag-waving into a national sport). There are problems, own up to them and move on - as it is, we look like a people that can dish it out but can't take it.

    The Games will speak for themselves as will the athletes - chill out and enjoy eh?

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  • 68. At 5:55pm on 18 Feb 2010, Nick B wrote:

    I am an English guy living in Vancouver and I can tell you the Olympic Games are anything but a disaster. There is an amazing carnival atmosphere in town and it reminds me of the time I went to the World Cup finals in France in 1998 with people from all over the world celebrating the sport they love. I'm actually embarrassed to be English right now because of the negative coverage the press the British papers are giving the event. I can understand a trashy pulp like the Daily Mail jumping on board something that's clearly not true but I'm surprised at the Guardian. London is due to host the summer games in 2012. Wouldn't it be ironic if it rains 24-7 and someone trips over a new state of the art hurdle and breaks their neck. and people Let's see One things for sure, the Canadians will certainly be watching with great interest.

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  • 69. At 6:03pm on 18 Feb 2010, owenvj wrote:

    To put some perspective on this accusation of xenophobia from the British Press, I would invite people to read some of the write ups that the Brtish Press give their own athletes and events

    There have been plenty of articles hammering British organised events over the years (including the planning of 2012), and plenty of articles hammering our athletes/teams

    for me the accusation that can be leveled at the british press is that they lurch from one sensationalist headline to another

    No doubt we will see that in this year's football world cup

    The team will go over there trumpetted as 'world beaters' and 'winners elect' and should they do anything but win, they will return labelled chokers, bottlers, overpaid, divers, whingers etc

    This isn't xenophobia, just overreaction in both directions to people of all creeds/colours/nations including their own

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  • 70. At 6:03pm on 18 Feb 2010, warwick260 wrote:

    Unfortunately a lot of people posting comments on here are lowering themselves to the level of the journalists - don't spend your time pointing fingers and arguing who's better than whom, that's all the journalists are doing. Sit back and enjoy the games whether they are in Vancouver, London or elsewhere. All this whinging over nothing - don't forget that there will be fat cat bureaucrats on commitees in Vancouver, London and everywhere else a games is ever held and a pack of journalists circling ready to pick up the pieces. Dignified Canadians and British should just ignore them and formulate their own opinions...being stoked up and excited by the press is as low as you can get.

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  • 71. At 6:05pm on 18 Feb 2010, Canadian Pride wrote:

    As a Canadian I must admit I am deeply disappointed by some of the comments posted here. I have always been interested in Britain and is a country I would love very much to visit, which is why I often read articles on BBC.
    Having never felt the need to post any comments before, I now feel the need to clarify a few items.
    There has been much to do about Canada's "Own the Podium" on this site, specifically how it violates the true spirit of the Olympics. I find it interesting that no one has talked about the Chinese undeniable thirst for Olympic Gold at not only the Summer Olympics, but now the Winter Olympics as well. Canada is a winter nation. We are known for our snow, I guess just not in Vancouver this year. :-)
    What I think the British people don't truly understand is the humiliation we have felt over the last 30 plus years for being the ONLY country to host the Olympics and to not have won an Olympic gold, TWICE. We hosted the Summer Olympics in Montreal in '76 and the Winter Olympics in Calgary in '88. In both Olympics, we did not win a single gold. Not normally a Canadian priority, except for the constant reminding from the international community, specifically the USA media, on this fact.
    How would Britain feel after hosting the Summer Olympics in 2012, that they now become the country that failed to win gold, taking Canada's place on Olympic trivia conversations?
    As for the comments on Canada's restrictions for the international participants access to the facilities in Vancouver, I can't comment. If it is true, than that is un-Canadian and reminds me of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, when the USA did exactly the same thing.
    The British media, I hope, do not reflect the mindset of the British people otherwise I feel sorry for you all. How ugly your media has been to Greece when they hosted, to the USA when they hosted, to Italy when they hosted and now Canada. What a sad way to live. To be so angry, petty and intolerant.
    I know when the Britain hosts the world in 2012, the Canadian media will regard your failures, with understanding and respect. It is unfortunately that we were not given the same consideration from a place that most Canadians consider to be our Mother Country.

    Good luck in 2012!!

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  • 72. At 6:15pm on 18 Feb 2010, king wrote:

    The British media are shooting themselves in the foot because in two years time this sorry excuse for a country are hosting the summer games and what a farce it will be. East London is such a quaint, crime free area.

    The mentality of the media, its World Cup year and the media are trying to dig dirt up on any of our World Cup squad, it your own country for godsake, go and menace one our rivals players and leave our players alone. You are all a bunch of miscreants.

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  • 73. At 6:15pm on 18 Feb 2010, Sport blog hosts - wrote:

    For all those asking about the video content and why they may not be able to see it:

    The video contains sporting action that the BBC only holds rights to show in the UK. If you are viewing from outside the UK then the video is not available.

    Worldwide internet rights to sporting events are almost never available. Sports rights are sold country-by-country, and if the BBC streamed live action globally then it would be a direct competitor for the company who'd bought the internet rights in other countries.

    Very occasionally - we are able to secure global rights; but that will be the exception rather than the rule.

    Hope that clarifies things.

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  • 74. At 6:22pm on 18 Feb 2010, RDC wrote:

    I cannot agree with anyone who says that VANOC could not do something about the weather.

    First, Vancouver residents know that the weather up in Cypress Bowl (there is no Cypress Mountain) is notoriously iffy. Second, this year was predictably likely to be that way because of El Ninho in the Pacific. Third, there were plenty of other places to hold the events. They were just too stubborn.

    Here is a quote from the Vancouver Sun paper on July 10 last year to illustrate the El Ninho problem which had been known for years: ‘Forecasters say El Nino is back and expected to stick around for Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics next February, bringing with it the potential of warmer weather, lower snowfall and problems for the Games.
    However, the Vancouver Organizing Committee and local ski-hill operators insist they aren't worried that the return of the climate phenomenon will affect snowpacks or have an adverse effect on the Games, which take place in February.’

    The ‘own the podium’ stuff rings of the provincial government that describes BC, in official material, as the ‘best place on earth’. They and the Olympic folks seem to fall over themselves to offend everybody with these slogans that appear to reflect an almost adolescent insecurity.

    Having said all that, I think visitors will have a great time, Vancouver in the sunshine is hard to beat.

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  • 75. At 6:35pm on 18 Feb 2010, Sebastian-Fettles-Teacher wrote:

    Most of the English printed media aren't fit to wipe your bottom with. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and its inhabitants are great host. Been there. I cannot see London (one of the ugliest places on earth) producing good games in 2012, they are sure to make a great mess of it. Ignore the English paper, everyone else in the world does.

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  • 76. At 6:36pm on 18 Feb 2010, TheTomTyke wrote:

    It really is cute to see how angry Canadians are about the British press. Whilst it is unfair for sections of the British media to criticise from thousands of miles away retorts such as "you haven't won a medal" don't really answer the critics, in fact they seem rather petty and childish. Perhaps if Canadians realised how little the Winter Olympics matter in Britain (the British Ski and Snowboard Federation went into administration two weeks ago and the Winter Olympics are no longer guaranteed terrestrial coverage after these games) they'd understand that these are the opinions of journalists who have to write stories and not the population as a whole, because the vast majority of people simply don't care.

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  • 77. At 6:39pm on 18 Feb 2010, Stavrosian wrote:

    I can't believe that the organisers in Canada would be so touchy as to bother addressing concerns about unfair reportage in the British press. You've messed a few things up, and somebody unfortunately lost their life in an incident which it's possibly to (very) tenuously link to your questionable actions in regards to practice time. Sensationalist reporters will, obviously, have a field day with it. It's what they do. Forget about them and remember that nobody in their right mind in this country actually cares what 90% of the media has to say about anything.

    If, on the other hand, you want them to right puff piece advertisements for your tourism board instead, that's a problem in itself.

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  • 78. At 6:41pm on 18 Feb 2010, stuart bartley wrote:

    Sour Grapes...

    The bad press is a result of the fact that Canada has 6 medals and the UK
    0. Hope you have better luck in 2012! You should probably try our Own the Podium program.

    Smiling is sunny Vancouver!

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  • 79. At 6:42pm on 18 Feb 2010, ABeck wrote:

    Dear Sir
    Here's hoping that every single thing during the 2012 London Olympics runs as smooth as silk, with no hitches whatsoever...to mar the reputations of London, England, the organising committee or to cause all those proud volunteers and the people of Britain to have cause to regret that so much has been sacrificed to make the 2012 London Olymics a reality. Thank you for conceding that the weather is beyond control, I'll bear that in mind during 2012.

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  • 80. At 6:45pm on 18 Feb 2010, dodiesmith wrote:

    I feel sad seeing some of the Brit articles...but take heart from my friend in London who sent me my first e-mail saying she thought the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics were fantastic. She is a grown up...knows there will always be glitches and political shouts about expenses but she wants to enjoy the event. I was born in England (Merseyside) and care deeply for both "my" countries - so know that the immense REAL sadness has been for the death of the young Georgian - it has coloured everything. However, for the sake of those young Olympians who have worked so hard to get here, we find ourselves rallying to support them - and to ensure their time here is memorable for joy also.
    A NY Times article today described Canadians as modest...wait until you see the Canadian men's hockey team beat the Russians and the US!
    Hope the press guys will sit back and enjoy the prowess and spectacular display of spirit - it may not be a perfect Olympics, but there definitely has been no malice aforethought, only hope.
    Finally, end the negativism about London's forthcoming Olympics...
    enough already.

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  • 81. At 6:46pm on 18 Feb 2010, WednesdayUSA wrote:

    Are we maybe being a little too critical of ourselves in all this?
    I am no great fan of our British press.
    But there have been some definite problems with the organisation of the games.
    Hopefully Britain will learn from those things in time for 2012...
    Plus, the British press is not the only one doing the criticising - check out this story on Sports Illustrate/CNN for an American perspective:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/olympics/2010/writers/alexander_wolff/02/17/glitch.games/index.html?eref=sihp

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  • 82. At 6:55pm on 18 Feb 2010, krissyabc wrote:

    I am a Canadian living in the UK and I have been enjoying watching Canada's success from my living room. While I am certain some of the 2010 Olympic problems could have been avoided others are just bad luck. I am sure 2012 in London won't be without it's share of troubles...

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  • 83. At 6:58pm on 18 Feb 2010, Coder_Guy wrote:

    With regard to the tragic death of the Georgian luger, I am somewhat confused by the accusations that the Canadians were restricting access to the luge track prior to the games. Yes, this is true, but this is the norm for the winter Olympics. The same was practiced by the Italians in Torino, the Japanese in Nagano, and so on. Athletes were allowed more access to the Canadian run than they were in Torino or Nagano - in fact, this particular luger declined the opportunity to train on the Vancouver track earlier in order to compete in an event somewhere else.

    My aim here is not to take away from the tragedy of his death, but to point out that some of the accusations and blame set against the Canadian organizers are somewhat ignorant to the facts surrounding the issue.

    Finally, as a Canadian I take offense to at least one British journalist who has labeled this the "worst Olympics ever". Despite some of the obvious problems in Vancouver, I believe Munich had much more serious issues.

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  • 84. At 7:01pm on 18 Feb 2010, Oldbiddy wrote:

    The British tabloids should always be taken with a cellar-full of salt.
    The most notorious is not even British owned

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  • 85. At 7:08pm on 18 Feb 2010, gdodds wrote:

    The British press critises everything. That's one of the reasons i now refuse to buy newspapers unless they shove on in my face. The critisms of the Vancouver games are very unjust, watching the competitions on TV i've seen fantastic competitons with enthusiastic crowds. The weather has delayed things, but the organisers have been fine and well organised.
    I'd like to say this to Mr. Furlong: The British press is not representative of the British population, most people i've talked to over the few days have been addicted to sports that usually would be hard to find on TV. The Olympics have once again captivated the British population.
    I'd love to see Rogge at the closing ceremony brand these winter games as the best ever, to silence the critics. (That won't happen, i remember a BBC interview in Beijing saying he never will, for any games)

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  • 86. At 7:10pm on 18 Feb 2010, Darren Stott wrote:

    As a Brit who has lived in Vancouver for nearly 7 years, it is clear to me what you have here is a clash of weaknesses between the 2 countries. Canada has a VERY weak media; very little investigative journalism, politicians hardly held accountable or scrutinised and little balance. On the other hand the British media has a very doom and gloom look on the world. Everytime I read the Daily Mail I want to slash my wrists.

    On saying that, I love living in Vancouver and the Olympics has been lots of fun so far. Just wished I could buy a decent daily newspaper, like the ones back home.

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  • 87. At 7:15pm on 18 Feb 2010, squirrel wrote:

    Do people not realize that international athletes have actually had MORE access to venues such as the sliding center than in any previous games? In Turin non-italian competitors were only given 26 runs, in Vancouver they could have up to 40. Certainly the Canadian team has home field advantage - are people here suggesting that won't be the case in London?

    It's the fact that people keep repeating falsehoods on top of criticisms that make me shake my head. Of course it makes it easier to spot the psuedo-journalists, which I'm surprised to see in this case includes the BBC.

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  • 88. At 7:18pm on 18 Feb 2010, Gordon wrote:

    James says, "However, the 21-year-old - along with every other non-Canadian athlete - was given limited access to the track considered to be the fastest and most dangerous in the world."

    This is a prime example why I, a life-long Vancouverite, and the rest of us here, are so upset with the British Media.

    James knows all foreign athletes were given access to all Venues in Vancouver to a level that exceeded IOC rules and regulations. Thats a solid fact! Will the UK do the same in 2012.

    So we have a program called "Own the Podium". All that program does is help support our athletes to a level equal to other nations such as the UK, US, Russian and China. Its a fact!

    The real problem for the British Press is they have nothing to report. No wins, no medals. They are depressed. So they take it out on Canada because, for once in history, we are actually doing something amazing in the Olympics.

    Jealousy really is unprofessional.

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  • 89. At 7:25pm on 18 Feb 2010, CanadianInParis wrote:

    Thank you for writing this. As a Canadian who lived in the UK for four years, I was really hurt by some of the articles in the British press, particularly the Guardian articles by Lawrence Donegan who said that these Games may be the worst ever. Trust me, we are ashamed of ourselves for the tragic death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, and there have been a number of logistical errors but most Canadians had absolutely nothing to do with the organization of the Games. Putting on an event of this size is never going to go off without a hitch. It would be a tragedy if the mistakes of Vanoc were to overshadow the athletes and the peaceful bringing together of nations from around the world that makes the Olympics so special.

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  • 90. At 7:25pm on 18 Feb 2010, peternh wrote:

    I'm a Vancouver resident who is very unhappy that the games are here at all, and I'm far from alone. The criticisms listed pale beside the vast moral bankruptcy of the whole Olympic enterprise, and the financial bankruptcy in prospect after the inevitable overspends on an already grotesquely bloated enterprise are revealed.

    The willingness of the Olympic organisation to cosy up to the most repulsive regimes and lend them some kind of mutant legitimacy, the stink of corruption which follows the Olympics wherever they go, the massive transfer of public money into private hands, and the prospect of seeing my tax money go to pay for this party for decades from now while staffing at my son's school is cut and its school meals programme disappears; these are the issues worth writing about in the British and other press, and the more Olympic officials made apoplectic the better. They deserve it. Their regular smug squandering of billions of dollars in an anti-environmental festival of nationalism gets more and more revolting each time it occurs.

    Meanwhile costs are up, forecasts for income and tourism benefits down, sales targets not achieved, and ridership projections for the vastly expensive new Skytrain line to the airport not even close to being met. As soon as the curtain comes down on the whole grubby affair the recriminations will begin. That will be in the Canadian press, of course. Will we then be calling them unfair, too?

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  • 91. At 7:30pm on 18 Feb 2010, glasgow_canuck wrote:

    As a Canadian living in the UK, I'm not surprised in the least about negative reports of the Vancouver Olympics by some of the British media. The British media is generally negative and quick to criticize. I would urge my compatriots to ignore it completely.
    Admittedly, there have been some problems and the death of the Georgian luger was absolutely tragic. But no event as large as the Olympic games could go perfectly; certainly none that I can remember has been without some issues.
    London will be hosting the games in 2012. I have been living in the UK 10 years and am witness to the fact that public transportation is a mess - trains are often dirty, late and crowded, not to mention expensive. Building projects here always seem to run incredibly late and over budget. I wonder what the British press will be writing about the London games....

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  • 92. At 7:30pm on 18 Feb 2010, James Pearce wrote:

    The full interview with John Furlong is now up on this page. Thanks for all your comments so far. There have been some very well-argued posts.

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  • 93. At 7:33pm on 18 Feb 2010, Jamie wrote:

    The british press are an absolute disgrace and embarassment to the British people nearly all of the time, the Canadians should just ignore anything they have to say as most people in this country do.
    The fact that the weather hasn't been as kind as it could have been is not the Canadians fault and the fact that the olympic movement seems to be more about corporate sponsors than the actual athletes is not the Canadians fault.
    The only accusation that can be rightly levelled at the Organisers is that the response to the young Georgian athletes death sounded like it came from a lawyer rather than a normal human being, but that's another topic.
    Having visited British Columbia a number of times I know what a beautiful place and what genuinely nice people Canada and the Canadians are and would like to apologise to them for the awful standard of journalism in this country.

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  • 94. At 7:36pm on 18 Feb 2010, Iain Langmaid wrote:

    Let me try and the set the record straight about the British media. First of all the criticisms that all the British media who have criticised the Olympics. The two papers that have done have been the Daily Mail and the Guardian both of which are utterly pathetic excuses for newspapers and are little better than the tabloids who just enjoy sensenationalism more then good journalism. I read the Telegraph and have watched the coverage on the BBC and I felt the coverage that has been done has been fairly and critcising where appropiate if they can back it up.

    And as for bigging up our athletes and criticising others. Come on, please everyone else is probably doing it as well, so why just go after us. I think Vancouver is doing a great job and keep it up. Do I think London is going to do well. I hope so...

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  • 95. At 7:40pm on 18 Feb 2010, Bakey wrote:

    First of all being British, once again I am disgusted by the way the British media have covered a news story. Unlike the majority of these reporters (who are writing complete rubbish) I am currently living in Whistler, in center of the Olympics. I have watched the athletes by the side of the downhill race tracks. I have even ridden down parts of them, so I have a much better prospective of the Olympics than any of the so called news reports (British press) who only see the events on TV from thousands of miles away.

    Canada if putting on a fantastic Olympics which I'm proud to be apart of. No I don't work for VANOC before anyone asks. I can not describe the enthusiasm and excitement on peoples faces. The way the British press has written about the Olympics is unacceptable. Yes there has been some events before and during these Olympics which have not gone to plan, but you are always going to get mishaps when organizing an event on this scale. VANOC have done an amazing job on Cypress mountain producing world class stages for the athletes to compete on during one of the warmest winters on record. They should be praised for this not criticized. When I watched the downhill races I couldn't believe the views we could get of the track, and it cost us nothing. I bet the media didn't say anything about that did they? The media has criticized the woman's downhill as being unsafe and to hard. Well the downhill has to be hard its the Olympics for crying out loud. And don't for get the winner Lindsey Vonn had a shin injury and still got down the course in the quickest time. Questions about the safety of the sliding center have been taken out of hand. This venue has had to pass many safety regulations. Hundreds of athletes have gone down safely. You have got to remember taking part in a sport as dangerous as luge that thinks can go wrong. People crash and get killed on sliding centers all over the world. My feeling go out to the family of the poor man who died but the report showed he entered the prevues corner way to late sending him to high in the corner making him crash. The media have said the Canadians were given more track time offering them an advantage. This hasn't made much difference if you take a look at the results.

    If you want a true prospective of what the 2010 winter Olympics are like, throw away your news paper and read what I have got to say. Free music concerts and medal presentations. Free track side viewing at downhill ski events. Parties and celebrations from every nations every day and night. People coming together to support there country men and women and giving them the most unbelievable support no matter where they come in the results. Canadians are proud to be hosting these Olympics. Myself and the millions of fans who are in Canada now are proud to be apart of these Olympics and it doesn't matter how much rubbish the British media can come up with they will not dampen this fantastic sporting event.

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  • 96. At 7:41pm on 18 Feb 2010, Politicalobservor wrote:

    Bo hoo hoo I'm a brit things did not go my way thats why I'm complaining.
    What a bunch of whinners, I think this was one of the best winter olympics so far! if the weather was mild was it our fault if the track was fast was that not supposed to be the way it is? if someone dies how is that the organizer's fault please explain to me in plain Queen's english? Wake up and smell the coffee mate!!! We Canadians simply abhor your mean spirited comments.

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  • 97. At 7:45pm on 18 Feb 2010, boysonbikes wrote:

    I agree the expression 'own the podium' is not very Canadian - it may have been better received were it used by certain other countries that shall remain nameless. The UK press and public should understand that Canadian athletes do not receive anywhere close to the level of government funding that many other nations receive and this is a way of promoting high performance sport in Canada and increasing private and corporate funding.
    Another thing that is not understood is that VANOC determined to finish building all athletic facilities one to two years in a advance of the games in order to facilitate the training of Canadian athletes - having built facilities on time why should they relinquish 'home field advantage' when other Olympic cities complete their facilities the day before or the day of the event resulting in similarly 'few' training runs for athletes!! Damned if you do damned if you don't.

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  • 98. At 7:48pm on 18 Feb 2010, John Sauve wrote:

    I'm Canadian, have lived in England since 1990...not all of you are so blind, but there are alot...the biggest thing, is you say Canada is to blame for this and for that, when really there is no blame...I mean the games in China, ceremony all fake, an American athelets father is killed, Salt Lake City gets the games from bribbing the judges; no games have been perfect... Now with the Luige track this has to be approved by the IOC to be used, and in fact it was and used at the World Championships means all was ok, the sport is far dangerious than any other and there has always been injuries....now like any sport they investigated and where able to look at the track and from the video they the IOC, the Luige federation and the vancouver officials where able to say he lost control and in the end was not the track at fault...but hey doesnt mean they should go on, they should reduce the chances of injuries and that is what they have done...no with regards to the Own the Podium, this was not Theme not just for the Canadian atheletes but all, but even so, whats wrong with this, the English IOC want the atheletes in 2012 to get as many as they can, so no difference so quit...now I really think the BBC and all who comment should really think twice, as your next and lets see how it works out in 2012 when it rains non-stop in England so give up stop...on another note, BBC should really take a look at these comments on here and remove quite alot as you will more or less get investigated by the IOC and could even get your selfs banned LOL

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  • 99. At 7:48pm on 18 Feb 2010, Padma wrote:

    The shadow side of the Olympics...

    The biggest criticism of this games is not in the way they're being run. I'm from England but I now live in Vancouver and have watched the very smooth management of a huge event. The city is totally transformed (and loads of fun!).

    But we should remember that while Vancouver chose to spend $7bn dollars on a sporting event, getting its residents into a debt that will take 50 years to pay off, it's Downtown Eastside is in a terrible state. I have lived around the world and have never experienced anything like it. The streets are filled with homeless, drug addicts and mentally ill people. Vulnerable people in need - and Vancouver has chosen not to deal with this.

    Also, arts funding in Vancouver has been cut by 98% to help pay for the Olympics. That's right - I said 98%! And yet, judging by the arts events that are currently being used to show off Vancouver for the Olympic visitors, the city of Vancouver obviously recognises their value.

    The world's media really should be shining the spotlight on these shameful truths, not banging on about the weather.

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  • 100. At 7:49pm on 18 Feb 2010, Lord Muskoka wrote:

    Brits, you know not of what you speak. All the facilities were approved by the individual federations as well as the IOC. The sliding track was designed by a German. Canada has allowed more luge training than for example we received in Turin in 2006. Non-Canadians were given double the number of practice runs required by the international luge federation. A special training week was scheduled for racers who were not ranked in the top tier, to help them prepare. Not a single racer showed up.It is very sad the young man lost his life but it appears to me if there was fault in this situation it was in allowing an individual who was in over his depth to compete in a very dangerous sport. He had 26 training runs on the track. He had crashed three times prior to the accident on the same corner; he also told his father that he was afraid of the track. Hours after the fatal crash, the track designer, a shocked Gurgel told the German press that Kumaritashvili must have sat up, upsetting the centrifugal forces that would have kept him safe. It's a position the International Luge Federation seemed to reiterate this week when a spokesman attributed the death to human error.

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  • 101. At 7:50pm on 18 Feb 2010, lacplesis37 wrote:

    RuariJM - I agree with the comment about the canadians hogging access to the facilities. It's totally against the spirit of the Olympics &, as anyone knows, for events like the luge, etc, you need to practice on the track that is going to be used. You can't just practice on your own (that's a totally specious argument UKCanuck)
    As for PulpGrape's comments on the 2012 London Olympics, you have the sort of attitude to your country & presumably life in general whose negativity drags you & everyone else down. Apart from that, judging from previous experience, your comment is inaccurate.
    I agree that the UK media are dreadful - biased, simplifying, exaggerating, misleading & often telling lies. But there's a simple answer - don't read rubbish like the "Daily Mail" and turn the sound off on your TV. they aren't going to change. Because they have no sense of honour, they believe that the way they operate is the only possible way.

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  • 102. At 7:54pm on 18 Feb 2010, MarktheHorn wrote:

    Lets not forget when the London 2012 are actually here the British press will be jumping up and down with "pride" at how our Olympics "heroes" are winning medals (hopefully)..

    The trouble is naturally because Labour as a government are so unpopular its very easy to use the cost to the taxpayer of the games to have a dig that them which might well be fair enough in the view of some.

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  • 103. At 8:05pm on 18 Feb 2010, nsd073 wrote:

    Yes; a handful of opinions in the Guardian and Daily Mail have been deliberately sensationalist and frankly stupid. However, if you're foolish enough to read the rubbish that fills British papers between the last story of the news section and the first of the sports section, then you deserve to be duped and/or get your indignant hackles up.

    A note of praise to the BBC though when compared with the Canadian equivalent, the CBC. The comments on this blog are rightfully reactively moderated - this is not so on the CBC website. Should you care to read through some of the comments posted below the CBC coverage of this story, you'll soon encounter a lot of pretty offensive Brit-bashing just a mouse-click away from the front page of Canada's national broadcaster... http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/02/15/host-canada-criticism.html

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  • 104. At 8:33pm on 18 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    As a proud British national who spent more than 20 happy years living in Canada, I am embarrassed & utterly appalled by the negative reports written in publications such as The Guardian & Daily Mail. Lawrence Donegan is an extremely good & knowledeable Golf writer. He should stick to his specalist subject, as he has shown himself and his newspaper up, by venturing into an area he clearly knows nothing about. He & certain other U.K. journos should be encouraged to open their eyes a bit more, be mindful that they are guests in another country, and focus less on creating sensational & factually incorrect news stories.

    Canadians are an extremely pleasant group of people. While being soft spoken and relatively more humble than their neigbours to the south, they are at the same time a proud nation. The fact they want to accumulate a healthy medal tally is commendable - they are after all the host nation. Let's hope we might to the same thing in 2012.

    I watched James Pearce's interview with Mr Furlong and am empathetic to his & Vanoc's feelings of hurt & frustration at the criticism that has unjustifiably come their way.

    Oh and one final point; - the reported Canadian decision to limit outsiders use of facilities for practice prior to the games began is a manoeuver that every host nation of an Olympic games also pulls.

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  • 105. At 8:37pm on 18 Feb 2010, liveinwhistler wrote:

    I was almost embarrased to be British with such negative comments portrayed by certain tabloids, however I've since learnt that most of these guys, have not left the media village.. so really John Furlong is pretty accurate when he says that these guys are reporting on a different Olympic Games - yes their virtual lala games! Living in Whistler for the past 4 years we've certianly seen an immense change to our village and while it hasn't all been plain sailing - us locals have to sacrfice certain things too.. some will ask was it worth it.. I say, hell yes, the village is packed on a daily basis, restaurants, shops and bars are buzzing with visitors and locals alike. Everyone is happy, smiling, language is not a barrier (as my colleague found, when he met some French guys who needed to get to the Biathlon - he became their tour guide..) so I say to the British media - you need to get out, get some great vitamin E and enjoy the energy that these games are creating both on and off the field... if you need a tour guide let me know.. eh!Enjoy my home and let's see how London compares in 2012....

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  • 106. At 8:42pm on 18 Feb 2010, HenryV wrote:

    Krautbeckerfan.. London, the ugliest place on earth... you really haven't travelled have you!! ha ha ha.. besides, if no-one cares what the British press says - why are you writing on this blog?... I do care about what they say - especially when it's garbage - if it had been a decent critique of how the games were financed, or the things locals will have to do without to ensure this Olympics went ahead, that would have been fine.. but they weren't, and they have been criticised by one and all.. please note everyone that the harshest crticism of the press are Brits themselves, and I reiterate my previous comment - those baying for the 2012 to be a failure as some sort of revenge, the very people who have offended you so extremely will be the ones slinging the mud again!!
    I am looking forward to the 2012 games - I didn't necessarily want the games to come here because of the cost, but we got them, so lets put on a good show.. and for those (from home and abroad) who keep saying they're going to be a disaster.. I would ask which international event held on these shores supports your opinion?..
    Good luck BC - love the games, even though the average Brit sports fan, like myself, doesn't understand some of the rules and regs to some of the sports - perhaps we could do with a few Canadian sports journo's to explain, rather than the usual BBC suspects who often don't know themselves!!!!..

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  • 107. At 8:44pm on 18 Feb 2010, BruceLD wrote:

    I live in North Vancouver. I feel fortunate to live in this region of the world with it's waters, beaches, mountains, world-famous parks and breathtaking skylines. I have to admit that everyday as I drive and I see the beauty of this city, I am still as blown away as I was when I first arrived here in 1991. I would not want to live in any other city.

    Firstly, I was stunned and saddened by the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili. I myself have lost family and friends to accidents, and this was an accident; plain and simple. His family and friends need to be respected and to be allowed to mourn free of indignity. His life should be remembered by his friends and family, but outsiders shouldn't use his death to tarnish the games that I'm sure he worked so hard to be part of.

    I am First Nation. My people were part of the groups of aboriginal dancers that were introduced in the beginning of the opening ceremonies. When I first heard about our inclusion in the ceremonies I thought that the display would be pathetic and demeaning to my people. Instead I was moved to tears. The dancers were beautiful and breathtaking and they made me proud to be First Nation. For the first time in my life on a world stage my people were presented in a wondrously beautiful, positive and prideful way. I want to thank VANOC for making that possible.

    After that, it was pretty much downhill (pardon the pun). I found it comical watching the bloopers. The panic caused by the late arrival of the First Nation Chiefs running on the proverbial Indian time (early First Nations had no need for clocks and tended to "arrive when they arrive"), the mis-cue of one of the caucasian singers making an "oops" face when he wasn't supposed to sing, Bryan Adams lipsync blunder and the mechanical failure of the four torches. I'm sure there were other blunders that I unfortunately didn't catch.

    I have to admit I was embarrassed and got in some good laughs, but hey these things happen. It would've been nice if it all went perfectly for the sake of our world-image, but if anything I guess this is Canada; we find humour in practically everything. We're not as stoically serious as some other anal-retentive countries.

    I haven't paid much attention to anything else in the Olympics (though I did just happen to tune in to Frédéric Bilodeau gold win) and I will watch the closing ceremonies. I could not possibly care any less if maintenance machinery fails or things such as weather are beyond any ones control. What does deeply embarrass and disgust me are the intentional actions, and not the accidents. The over-zealous actions of protestors, VANOC's oppression and destruction of local businesses, the concentration camp-like chain link fencing around the outdoor Olympic torch, the oppression of the poorest people that live just blocks away from the opening ceremonies, etc.

    What's done is done. We all have to learn from our and other peoples mistakes. Seriously in the grand scheme of life and the totality of the universe it doesn't really matter, so let's all just enjoy life and move on.

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  • 108. At 8:46pm on 18 Feb 2010, CanadianGirl wrote:

    I stumbled across this article while looking and reading the original negative comments that were published and the source of disappointment here in Canada.

    I have to say that for me at least, I take everything with a grain of salt. I have seen certain British media outlets criticize everything and everyone under the sun, so when it came to the Olympics I really wasn't surprised. I also don't think that all Canadians think that all British people hate them....that would make us pretty ignorant.

    I think Mr. Furlong did a fantastic job defending his position, and he has many peoples support. The Olympics are a mammoth undertaking and it it is not without its problems, but at the end of the day I think VANOC has done an amazing job. I just came back from Vancouver yesterday and the atmosphere there is incredible!! People are loving every minute of it, and if you speak with the athletes themselves they are having the time of their lives.

    There will always be neigh sayers, that should not overshadow the amazing athletic display that is currently taking place.

    Lastly, I for one am very excited for the London Olympics and my husband and I are in the process of making our plans to attend. I love London and think it will be an amazing event, well organized and fun. I hope the World media and Canada rise above vindictivness and broadcast analytical and smart publications.

    Cheers!

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  • 109. At 8:53pm on 18 Feb 2010, Willhelm wrote:

    I take issue with Carnegie_Tino's comments. Please explain to me how wanting to win is bad? Furthermore, are you not aware that every other nation on Earth has similar programs to ensure athletic success and winning? Are you also not aware that every other host nation on Earth restricts training at venues prior to the games, to give their home-grown athletes an edge? It's just beyond me that Canada is being criticized for things that EVERY other country does. Admittedly Canadians have been a quieter crowd than many, but that has changed over the years. It's time the world get used to a more bold and assertive nation - just think Afghanistan and now these Olympics. If you think about it, we as Canadians have so much to be proud of. I understand that cheering loudly for our country may insult some but if you're insulted by it, leave. Even the American press has admired Canada for wanting to win - Bob Costa, NBC.

    Maybe Britain should spend some time trying to control London's over budget games (1.8 billion so far) and do something to work on national pride in that country. I was there in November and while I like the British per say, I found their lack of visible patriotism astonishing. Even the "quiet Canucks" fly more flags and cheer louder than the Brits.

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  • 110. At 8:55pm on 18 Feb 2010, June-Louise Ickringill wrote:


    Re: the British press, two words:
    schadenfreude and karma.
    Cheers-JL Ickringill

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  • 111. At 9:05pm on 18 Feb 2010, Cyntax wrote:

    Good day from Montreal (where there is not one snowflake on the ground and it's February!!).

    Just to let you know that, earlier this week, the temperature in Sochi, Russia was +14 C. If this global warming continues, Winter Olympics will be a thing of the past...

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  • 112. At 9:06pm on 18 Feb 2010, Moutarde wrote:

    The games have been shambolic at best and those in charge should take their criticism on the chin and admit that they've made some huge errors. Their feelings don't matter - they're getting paid - only the athletes and the spectators matter.

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  • 113. At 9:13pm on 18 Feb 2010, Dave H wrote:

    If he thinks that's bad, just wait until 2012 and see what the British Press will do to the London Olympics. Then he'll see that Vancouver got off lightly.

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  • 114. At 9:35pm on 18 Feb 2010, Rootless wrote:

    In hindsight having a steel pole right next to a track is of course stupid. But lets not forget that safety rules are often the consequence of tragic accidents (e.g. Ayrton Senna at Imola). The track was constructed and approved by the best in the business and unfortunately it takes accidents sometimes to point out what seems obvious. I am sure his death will not be in vain.

    Also, I was in Vancouver last weekend and my suggestion is go to Granville street, soak up the atmosphere, all the fans, the good-natured banter and cheering and then you'll be convinced that the games are a success when rated by the only people who matter - the fans. British "journalists" who know little about the events and even less about their stated profession are about as welcome as the bad weather.

    And to the person who said Canadians can't take criticism. We'll see how the British react if (god forbid) some athlete is killed in 2012 and it is insinuated that they were to blame.

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  • 115. At 9:41pm on 18 Feb 2010, jtsholtod wrote:

    As a number of people have rightly mentioned, please do not comment on the appropriateness of "Own the Podium" until you have read what the program is really about:
    http://www.ownthepodium2010.com/
    For those not interested in learning, it's about trying to provide financing to our athletes so that they can compete on the international stage with the rest of the world. Our funding has been dismal for quite some time. Have you heard that before Vancouver, not a single gold medal had been won on home soil? I have...about a million times...per day. Canada was, and is, trying to remedy that situation. Sure, the "podium" is a strong goal, but it's not intended to degrade the rest of the world, or the Olympic spirit, but rather to provide a clear goal for our athletes to achieve. Yet, all Canadians are encouraged to cheer for the attempt, no matter the end result. Maybe Britain should be reminded of Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards.

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  • 116. At 9:47pm on 18 Feb 2010, AdamW wrote:

    There seem to be a lot of misinformed people about. Dozens of you have the odd idea that there's something unusual about the 'Own The Podium' program. It's simply a program of funding and training support for Canadian athletes. It's no different to the British track cycling program, or the more extensive funding that's been in place for British athletes building up to 2012 for years. There's simply no difference in the intent or organization of these programs.

    Complaining about the name is frankly bizarre. What were we supposed to call it, 'Maybe We'll Come In Fifth'? The intent is to try and win events. Last we heard, that was the point of the competition. That's why they give out the medals.

    Again, the training access to venues is not at all related to Own The Podium, and there is nothing unusual about the level of access granted at Vancouver. The level of training access granted is entirely in line with that granted at all previous Olympics, and with the requirements of the International Luge Federation. It's simply not the case that non-Canadian athletes were given far less access at Vancouver than at Torino or Salt Lake City, as some seem to be implying.

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  • 117. At 9:47pm on 18 Feb 2010, anntoro wrote:

    Apropos athletes not having access to Cypress and Whistler ski hills, it's important to set the record straight. American skiers, in particular, are used to both venues. So much so, they simply drop in when they feel like it. Also, as Whistler is such a worldwide destination for skiers, it's hard to believe Europeans don't know the slopes pretty well, too.

    Now to the luge: the IOC approved it and indeed approve everything that's happening. It's their show. It's sad that someone died on it but it's a dangerous sport. Lugers have been complaining that the shortened course has taken some of the thrill out of it.

    Vancouver isn't responsible for the warm weather. It's global warming you should be blaming. People in BC are ultra careful about the environment - hence their use of a "green" zamboni. It's unfortunate it didn't work too well for the speed skating but it was a good idea.

    It seems to me that the fencing off the flame was a safety issue. The city did not want some joker climbing on it and hurting himself. A Seattle-based demonstrator lobbed a few projectiles through store windows and apparently attacked people, so it seems to me, the city can't be too careful. They'll work it out.

    About the "Own the Podium" business, most Canadians take it with a pinch of salt. It was thought up to galvanize business into shelling out some cash and to energize Canadian athletes. There's nothing wrong with that.

    It seems to me there is a lot of sourness coming from the UK and this saddens me because I'm a Londoner living in Canada.

    What thrilled me was the participation of Canada's First Nations in the enterprise.

    Lighten up guys.

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  • 118. At 9:47pm on 18 Feb 2010, mary m wrote:

    as an ex-pat living in vancouver I am ashamed of the british press. not everyone in british columbia was all for the games, for financial reasons, but once they were here we had a choice. have a good time and welcome the world, or moan and whine about everything. thanks to the british press we are all united against moaners! take a walk around vancouver and see the smiling faces; listen to what the athletes are saying; there was a terrible tragedy and everyone was sickened; BUT the Games are going to be a success for all the right reasons. critisizing Vanoc because of the weather is just plain stupid and of course there are going to be mechanical glitches - get over your cynical selves. we are having a great party, too bad you can't be glad for us.

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  • 119. At 9:48pm on 18 Feb 2010, Jim Adams wrote:

    Well do not worry nice Canadians. Your revenge will come in 2-1/2 years when the "no marbles, no flame" campaign that is brewing as we speak amongst Greeks will become a reality and then the embarrassment of the English will be of "imperial" proportions... ;-)

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  • 120. At 9:53pm on 18 Feb 2010, AdamW wrote:

    Nicholas Hadley: "Four of the first 21 racers in the ladies downhill all crashed in the same jump and many, many racers took such poor lines that it can only be described as a fundamental lack of knowledge of the course."

    That would be the course that's...open for public skiing throughout the season and which has been in use for World Cup and other competitive skiing events for years?

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  • 121. At 9:56pm on 18 Feb 2010, redforever wrote:

    I am a Brit living in Canada, so I hope I can offer a different perspective than others have.
    Canadian excitement and enthusiasm for these games has of course been building since it was first announced, and now that it is here, the atmosphere amongst Canadians is very positive. Its a great time for a nation, as Britain will see in 2012.
    The "Own the Podium" campaign, came about as a reaction to a perception that Canadian athletes were under funded, and unable to achieve their potential. As a small country dominated by the US to its south, its no surprise to me that a small chip has developed on the shoulders of Canadians, who want to see the Canadian Flag raised a little more often.
    The phrase "Own the Podium" may sound brash, but in reality it is just effort and funding provided to allow more athletes to compete.
    The lack of access to other athletes to some venues, has come under a bit of fire, here to, and it has been pointed out that Vancouver is certainly not the first Olympic venue to restrict access prior to the games, and won't be the last.
    Obviously the death of the Georgian Luger was a great shock to the games, and the handling afterward seemed to veer from sensitive, to ugly. It was in point of fact the Luge Association who first mentioned that the athlete was "to blame", but VANOC ought to have distanced themselves from that claim, and didn't.
    On that matter, I will mention that when Formula 1 racers hurtle around tracks at 300km/h, they are in much greater danger than a Luger. Even with this unfortunate death, the sport has a better record than F1.
    It was an accident, and an inquiry will undoubtedly point to factors that lead to it, but nobody can surely be blamed for the death?
    The weather....come on. When it rains everyday in July 2012, will Britain be at fault?
    The broken down Ice Maker? IOC wants more and more effort made to have a GREEN Olympics. The ice maker used is a new model all electric, and guess what it broke down!! They got a good old fashioned gas powered Zamboni, brought in from Calgary and its all good now.

    Finally, the Olympic flame. Sadly its 2010, and all kinds of nutters are looking for their moment of fame. Sabotaging the flame, has been a constant challenge, and allowing some crazy ant-globalist group to put out the flame, would have been a PR disaster.

    Lets see how Britain does with the Olympics, before casting stones. I recall the Millenium Dome was a fiasco, and that was just one event!!

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  • 122. At 10:02pm on 18 Feb 2010, Bob Sherunkle wrote:

    The death of Kumaritashvili is indeed a tragic event but I think that you should do your own research before deciding where to lay blame. Any other approach just highlights your ignorance.

    Kumaritashvili was ranked 44th in the world, he'd been down the track 26 times, and turned down a chance to compete in January, choosing instead to participate in a World Cup event in Europe.

    Every nation that hosts a games wants to use home field advantage it is a normal thing, not a specific Canadian issue, every host does the same. More training was offered to the international luge community than any Olympics before now. Have a look at stats for Turin before you blindly follow the information provided by the British media and complain.


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  • 123. At 10:04pm on 18 Feb 2010, Jason wrote:

    I don't quite know what it's going to take to convince the Canadians that these opinions of their Games are the solely the options of the British gutter press and not of the British public at large.

    As has been mentioned, the credence given to the Daily Mail and the particular Guardian reporter are very low and aside from a few fringe members of the public I have not seen anyone on any internet forums blaming the organisers for the problems of their Games which have been mainly down to bad luck.

    If you Canadians can't be bothered to dig a little deeper and are just going to use this to generate an anti-UK flame war, then you deserve to get offended, frankly.

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  • 124. At 10:12pm on 18 Feb 2010, cliveeta wrote:

    The death of the Georgian luger and the lack of snow on the mountains have nothing whatsoever to do with the organisational abilities of the Olympic Committee.

    The technical failure at the opening ceremony was a mild disappointment - lets get this in perspective.

    However putting the Olympic flame in its own barbaric confinement is utterly stupid.

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  • 125. At 10:20pm on 18 Feb 2010, Tom wrote:

    Watching the games makes me want to go to Canada, not just to experience what seems to be a beautiful and welcoming country but also to get away from the constant negative polemic of our press.

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  • 126. At 10:21pm on 18 Feb 2010, cliveeta wrote:

    Couldn't you write something else about how these games, where peak physical fitness is a must, are sponsored by MacDonalds and Coca-Cola, the worlds biggest purveyors of trans fat, hormones and corn syrup?

    Worrying about the weather is so boringly.... British.

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  • 127. At 10:27pm on 18 Feb 2010, Stavrosian wrote:

    What's with all the Canadians in here launching sweeping attacks on Britain? Have you not noticed that we're all here slating our press too?

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  • 128. At 10:28pm on 18 Feb 2010, Over_40_Crowd wrote:

    News from the Times today...

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article7031487.ece

    The Times has renamed The Olympics to "The Calamity Games" in case anyone is interested. Should be a good marketing grab in there somewhere.

    Who would have thought The Times, of all newspapers, would be so childish.

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  • 129. At 10:31pm on 18 Feb 2010, pablo wrote:

    I'm sure the rest of the world's media will get ample opportunity to take a swipe at Britain in 2012 if our media are giving us a bad reputation world-wide as bitter, cynical and overly critical. We could have 2 weeks of cloud and rain for example. And then there's whatever Mayor Boris might get up to!!

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  • 130. At 10:35pm on 18 Feb 2010, AdamW wrote:

    126: "Couldn't you write something else about how these games, where peak physical fitness is a must, are sponsored by MacDonalds and Coca-Cola, the worlds biggest purveyors of trans fat, hormones and corn syrup?"

    'These' games? McD and Coke are ongoing Olympic sponsors, they've sponsored every Olympics I can remember. Admittedly that's absurd and the IOC should never allow it, but it's hardly a knock against Vancouver.

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  • 131. At 10:38pm on 18 Feb 2010, phoenix wrote:

    No its normal. Its just a milder form of xenophobia or the 'less trash johnny foreigner' and 'its never going to work unless the brits (white officers?) arent in charge'. For a better appraisal of this phenomenon see British Euroscepticism in action on the euroblog where this cultural manifestation reaches both its most pathetic and sublime nadir

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  • 132. At 10:39pm on 18 Feb 2010, xenosys2005 wrote:

    You'd expect the decent people of Canada to turn a blind eye to the opinions of a few journalists operating in the British Press. The moment people start getting overly defensive and then attacking back, it inevitably descends into juvenile playground insults between people from both the UK and Canada, and comparisons between Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 shouldn't be relevant. You'll get your fair share of idiots wherever you might go in the world. If it's bad news, it's good news to the press here and if it's good news, it isn't worth reporting on.

    Every major event will have it's fair share of minor & major problems to contend with. Nothing will ever go 100% according to plan.

    This certainly isn't the general consensus of a whole nation and most I speak to are commending the Canadians for putting on a spectacular show. That's a testament to the people and the organisational committee for creating a unique and entertaining games thus far.





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  • 133. At 10:49pm on 18 Feb 2010, John Sauve wrote:

    So James and the BBC and all other negative press are you going to make a live conference and televise it all on BBC, ITV, Sky News Sky Sports and say "Un-like our American friends we will apologise deeply for all our negative comments regarding the Vancouver Games, and that we hope all Canadians will accept this deep apology and forgive us, we are a way out of line” If not I don’t think you will have many viewers come 2012...also may you should state that maybe the USA should also do the same, then again who cares for the USA, there are few Yanks who are OK though so dont take it wrong

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  • 134. At 10:52pm on 18 Feb 2010, GoldenHind wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 135. At 11:04pm on 18 Feb 2010, squirrel wrote:

    Inaccuracies and poor reporting aside, it's not surprising that some British publications are latching on to whatever negative aspects they can to file a story. There's certainly not much else of interest happening at these Olympics for Brits. I mean look at the current medal standings:

    USA 15
    Germany 11
    Canada 7
    France 7
    Norway 6

    Britain 0

    Even Australia has a Silver and they're hardly a winter sport nation.

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  • 136. At 11:11pm on 18 Feb 2010, newbie101 wrote:

    First off, I want to express my appreciation for the majority of British people who have defended Canada and Vancouver during the onslaught of irresponsible British press. I have read many articles online over the last four days, and almost every posted comment from British readers has been one in support of the games, Vancouver and the Canadians who live here; and condemning the seemly blind British press. So, as a Canadian who once called the UK home for over a year, let me say thank you. I just hope my fellow Canadians realize that there is a big difference between the British press and the British people (of who many I call friends).

    Secondly, I wonder exactly how many British reporters are actually here in Vancouver. While the weather is certainly warmer than normal, Whistler is still experiencing a fantastic skiing season. In fact, I was at the first event on Cypress, and while lines were long and there were some glitches, the event was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. To be honest, I am loving the weather we have had over the last four days. A sunny 16 degrees centigrade today and glorious sunshine forecast for the rest of the week… this weather makes for nothing short of a winter paradise. For those of you who have never been to Vancouver... on a sunny day, it is a sight to behold. Even if the games turn out to be a complete bust (though they are a complete success in my opinion), the very fact that the world spotlight is on one of the most beautiful cities in the world when the weather is this fantastic is enough to make me smile from ear to ear.

    And one final note for those of you in the British press who have been so negative... I was in the UK (London actually) during the summer of 2005. There were only two weeks of sun from the middle of June until the end of September... it rained the rest of the time. You think it is hard skiing in the warm sunshine?... try Track and Field in the poring rain. Karma baby... turn about is fair play.

    Cheers!

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  • 137. At 11:29pm on 18 Feb 2010, Littlest Hobo wrote:

    So, carnegie_tino, the British are the ones to trust for organizing things badly?

    Let's see: Montreal took 30 years to pay off their Olympic deficit, the luge course at Whistler was boasted about as the 'fastest and most dangerous in the world'...then somebody tragically passed away and the VANOC officials had the chutzpah to suggest it was the fault of the athlete; Security concerns at BC Place; fencing off the Olympic flames; cancelling 20,000+ tickets at Cypress; malfunctioning problems at the opening ceremony; in-house complaints from the Canadian government about the lack of French content...shall or must I go on?

    Britain is not only the country which has held more world class events than Vancouver or Canada ever will. London itself holds events week in week out, year in year out that could never be staged here. As someone who is British but has lived in Vancouver for 7 years, I have experience both. Vancouver is beautiful, naturally stunning and a laid back place that is not half bad. London is historic, cosmopolitan and a true centre of European and world culture. Both have their advantages, but let us not pretend that Brits do everything badly or that these Olympics have been an unchallenged success.

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  • 138. At 11:36pm on 18 Feb 2010, gfilmdog wrote:

    Hey GB papers, you can't complain until your team has won a metal here. Stop whining and start winning so that you guys can have your own story to run:) Peace!

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  • 139. At 11:44pm on 18 Feb 2010, tomingo wrote:

    Canadians, I beg of you, please ignore all the negativity and bitterness you read from British tabloid journalists - and blogs like this which just feed off the bile at a safe distance. They are an embarrassing joke.

    Please don't react to it, most of us are as frustrated by this as you are - and we have to live with it every day.

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  • 140. At 11:44pm on 18 Feb 2010, HenryV wrote:

    The point of a blog is for those thinking of contributing to read other peoples comments and discuss...
    Perhaps some contributors that are hell bent on having a go at anything and everyone British based on the in(s)ane ramblings of a couple of individuals, rather than contributing to the debate on this page, should realise they too are spinning the same standard of utter tosh as the original journo's!!

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  • 141. At 11:50pm on 18 Feb 2010, gordon wrote:

    london press are just doing what they are told to do. the goverment just wants to take the heat of of them for the huge cost overruns of their olympics.

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  • 142. At 11:51pm on 18 Feb 2010, Bluesteel14 wrote:

    I just wanted to echo the sentiments of many on here with regards to the media. The British newspaper press in particular are an embarrassment. I do expect better from the BBC however. I believe they have been overly negative in their reporting. As many on this forum have already stated, I fear much of the negativity stems from the simple fact that Britain has very few medal prospects and therefore the media feels it has to focus on something.

    I have just returned to the UK from spending a year in Vancouver. I grew to love the city and the country and developed a great affinity for the Canadian people. I have spoken to many friends (both British and Canadian) in the city since the games have begun and they say the atmosphere and overall 'olympic experience' has been excellent. I have heard very little reported here of all the free music and cultural events currently happening in the city that are associated with the games, or the international markets and tents dotted about around the city.

    VANOC and Canadians in general can be assured that the press here in the UK will be as equally unforgiving if the slightest thing goes wrong at the London games in 2012, be it to do with the weather, transport links etc etc. And heaven forbid what the media reaction will be if England do not win the football world cup in South Africa this summer!

    Organising and running an olympic games is a massive operation and should not be underestimated. I for one think Vancouver have done an excellent job. If people thought that it would all happen without a glitch then they were being extremely naive.

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  • 143. At 11:57pm on 18 Feb 2010, thefrogstar wrote:

    Because I'm a bit of a contrarian, I'll do what few others will, and say a few words in defence of the British press:
    They can be quite even-handed in their malicious cruelty.

    Come the summer Olympics in England (or is it London?), there will be no lack of things to complain about.

    And rest assured, Canadians, there WILL be people crucified by the British media (or is it London-media?).

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  • 144. At 11:59pm on 18 Feb 2010, derek wrote:

    Congratulations on this piece. The ability to watch the extended interview and gain a fresh perspective is a perfect example of the power of the web in disseminating information. For my money, it is not hard to see how the BBC's web presence will continue to an influential one.
    Derek

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  • 145. At 00:02am on 19 Feb 2010, Bob Sherunkle wrote:

    About the flame/fence debate.

    Every other Olympic flame has been inaccessible by the public as it is located high up in a stadium. The Vancouver flame is located outside as the stadium is covered and is the most accessible in the games history. Think about it... If the fence wasn't there it would be probably be targeted by protesters, etc. As it is the fence is there and the public complain, the organisers are in a no win situation.

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  • 146. At 00:02am on 19 Feb 2010, pcmacdonald wrote:

    Let's not go overboard, people. Sure there have been problems with the 2010 Olympics. Name one Olympic Games that has not had problems or controversy. The point is, there are hundreds of journalists who are covering these games, and they have to write something. Otherwise, they aren't journalists, are they? They either write, or they join the unemployment line. So, you are going to have a few who decide to be critical. So what? For a few days they are in the spotlight, which is probably why they wrote the articles in the first place.

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  • 147. At 00:06am on 19 Feb 2010, Glen wrote:

    Ahh, where to start? First of all I haven't watched a single event as I don't own a TV and don't want to waste upload credit on my private tracker for Olympics recordings (you may or may not know what I mean ;-). l live within spitting distance of downtown Vancouver and really couldn't be bothered to witness the security and military occupation in action. There are half a dozen helicopters flying circuits around my neighbourhood all night and police randomly stopping people in the streets to see their "papers". The night before the opening ceremonies no less than 3 cop cars, a paddy wagon, and a 911 supervisor showed up at my apartment to apprehend a distraught woman that I could have taken down with one hand tied behind my back.

    Gotta spend that $1 billion somehow...

    VANOC deserves no slack. There's no transparency as far as spending goes and they have consistently acted in a dictatorial manner as far as enforcement of IOC dictats goes. While they are scooping up big salaries and bonuses, they are paying $10 an hour to event staff for back breaking labour. A friend of mine works at Cypress shoveling snow for that much and he had to provide all of his work gear, including snow boots.

    The initial budget was laughable. While the rest of the world gets to party here for 3 weeks, we will be paying it off for a generation. Please leave a tip on the way out. We sure could use it.

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  • 148. At 00:06am on 19 Feb 2010, ccanada wrote:

    Well, if they didn't keep making stupid decisions the media wouldn't have the ammunition.
    The story that has just been broken on CBC television, Canada's national broadcaster (complete with video) is the one about the Zamboni, where they have not only insisted on having the Zamboni name whited out on the machine, but when the ice needs treating, the broken Olympia machine goes around the ice first, doing. of course nothing, followed by the Zamboni, which does the work.
    How childish is that, when everyone knows the story.
    They also are the ones that chose to ignore the Zamboni company (who have provided reliable ice machines for years, and go with an unknown.
    It's a bit much, complaining about the British media, when the same stories are all over their own.

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  • 149. At 00:12am on 19 Feb 2010, vangeoff wrote:

    I live in downtown Vancouver and, frankly, I don't recognize the games that the British press are reporting on. The reports bear no relation to what I am experiencing.

    On the subject of the Georgian luger's death, everyone here is deeply saddened by it but to suggest that it was because of a lack of access to practice runs makes no sense. HE WAS ON A PRACTICE RUN WHEN HE DIED. I don't know how many additional runs he would have had before the actual competition but the fact is that it was during one such run that the accident occurred. It could just have likely occurred on his first run or his three hundedth.

    By the way, to my many family and friends in Britain, I know the press does not represent you all.

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  • 150. At 00:48am on 19 Feb 2010, Tommy_Nuck wrote:

    As a very proud English born and raised - now living in Canada I am ashamed. The British media are out of touch, and seem to grind away at their own pet peeves with no shame at their unbias.

    Canadians are surprised that the Brits are turning on them. They expect to be ignored by the Americans, sneered at by continental Europeans, but they expected support from Britain, not derision. What has Canada ever done to Britain to deserve this apart from unfailing support.

    Britain you worry me, you have become what we used to hate in other nations.

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  • 151. At 00:49am on 19 Feb 2010, missphill wrote:

    I feel sure the London games will be riddled with hiccups and problems. Just look at the millenium celebrations !! So the rest of the world will be laughing at us in 2 years time.

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  • 152. At 00:53am on 19 Feb 2010, Have_a_Nice_Day wrote:

    These negative views on Vancouver by the British Media doesn't surprise me as I have been to England and quite frankly it is on of the most unfriendly places we have visited. Furthermore I don't really understand why the 2012 Olympics are there - can you imagine being there and asking for directions only to be snuffed or told, "ask someone else". Lastly I am currently in Vancouver attending Olympic events and have enjoyed it immensely - people are soo friendly, contrary to what these British morons are portraying.

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  • 153. At 01:03am on 19 Feb 2010, USGIRLinCanterbury wrote:

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  • 154. At 01:08am on 19 Feb 2010, USGIRLinCanterbury wrote:

    I'm a US citizen, did my uni in Canada, and now live in the UK. I love all three countries--that of my birth, that of my coming-of-age, and this one where I am doing well personally and professionally.

    I watched the Beijing games on the BBC two years ago, and was impressed by the coverage. Truthfully, the BBC coverage of the Vancouver games is disappointing, and who wants to watch awful coverage on line or on IPlayer?

    I've been thinking about why this is. Mr Furlong's comments about the negativity of the BBC coverage are true, but I think something else lies beneath the surface. The summer games are better covered because Great Britain is simply better at summer sport than at the winter games. So there's an undertone of bitterness behind everything, especially about the Canadian athletes. Sure, they have access to more practice runs. Part of that is they LIVE there.

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  • 155. At 01:48am on 19 Feb 2010, brad wrote:

    Here I am A little tiny Canadian living here in your great country. I have been reading and watching and hearing your comments on Canada's winter olympics. I know from living here that Canada will just have to watch London in 2012 to see how it is done. Because I am sure it will be perfect with no complaints whatsoever. I know for a fact that just because they are held in your country none of your athletes will have any extra time or practice for any event. To sum up I realise that as Canadians we have lots to learn on holding big events, I hope that we will be able to learn from the UK in 2012.

    P.S. You know 99% of the time I love living here in the UK (I have a dual citizanship a British wife and have been here 15 years). Like I said 99% of the time I love it here and then there is now!

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  • 156. At 01:53am on 19 Feb 2010, paulvanp wrote:

    actually wouldn't one of the reasons why Canadians had so much more opportunities for training in or on the competition venues be that they were ready and complete (except Cypress of course) way ahead of time, as much as over a year even? And that is something no other olympics venue, winter or summer, has ever achieved before.... will London?

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  • 157. At 02:25am on 19 Feb 2010, 51mon wrote:

    I never knew Canadians were so sensitive - I am from Australia and we are now hearing the health and safety is very poor there but what winds up most is the fact the Canadians are taking no responsibility and passing the buck, put your hands up and admit you have made mistakes - England will also make mistakes but I doubt they will blame death and serious injuries on the people themselves

    according to them an aussie girl with broken bones is at fault as they pushed on a safety barrier - I always thought they were there for that reason?

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  • 158. At 02:58am on 19 Feb 2010, scoolerman wrote:

    As a former Vancouverite and have been living in Calgary since 1979 I have experienced 2 Canadian Olympics. The Olympics in Calgary were without flaws. We had a balloon shaped like the Rockies destroyed by a Chinook wind during the opening ceremonies. It was the warmest February we had in 50 years. Snowmaking was being done during the night and many events were postponed due to the wind. However, working in a popular bar and meeting a lot of the athletes, they all said it was the best place that they had ever competed. Juan Samaranch at the closing ceremonies said it was the best Olympics he had experienced.

    This morning on our Olympic network CTV they interviewed Sebastion Coe who is on the London Organizing Committee and was asked about all the negative press from the British Media. He said he has been too busy to read much of the press but had nothing but praise for the venues, the athletes village etc. and he wants to bring this information back to London.

    As for the Georgian athlete that died. We all send our hearts out to his family. No-one wanted this to happen. But to start laying blame...c'mon people.

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  • 159. At 03:06am on 19 Feb 2010, Anthony Dunn wrote:

    3. At 12:28pm on 18 Feb 2010, PulpGrape wrote:

    Oh dont worry, the summer games here in London will be even worse so Canada will have the last laugh. If anyone can badly organise anything its Britain.

    "SourGrape" more like it!

    It can always be relied upon for someone with an outsize shoulder chip to do their best to put the boot in on the London Games well before they have even taken place. One of the besetting vices of this country is how it tolerates the caustic negativity of chippies like this contributor. If it really is that painful living in Britain, kindly park yourself somewhere more agreeable, the rest of us can live without you.

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  • 160. At 03:08am on 19 Feb 2010, Sarah wrote:

    I am a Brit in Whistler and can honestly say it is embarrassing to hear what the British press have been writing. It gives us Brits a bad name and I just hope Canadians realise that the views of the British press do not represent the majority of the British public.

    The Games have been brilliant. The atmosphere here is so special right now and the courses, facilities, entertainment and everything else has been great.

    Yes, everyone will talk about the luge accident but remember there have been world cup events on the track with no serious incidents and it was simply a freak and tragic accident.

    The other big talking point has been the weather but how is that anyone's fault? And there has also been a lot of wrong information regarding weather. Whistler has had one of the best winters ever with a snowbase of over 300cm. The forecast is for 6 days of sunshine and it is beautiful here.

    I am so lucky to be here for 2010 and will be back in England for 2012 so will have the benefit of experiencing both first hand. It will be interesting to see if the British press will be regretting their outspoken and frankly incorrent comments on what has so far been a brilliant Olympics.

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  • 161. At 03:13am on 19 Feb 2010, sam2i2am wrote:

    This interview was fair in presenting both sides of this story.

    International press has been particularly critical of the 'Own the Podium' slogan adopted by Canadian athletes without understanding its context. The slogan attempts to correct decades of chronic under-performance by Canada's athletes on the world stage. Our last home Olympics in 1988 saw us win a total of 0 gold 2 silver and 3 bronze medals. Our medal count has always been low, but we were a small country after all. The Sydney games in 2000 were a wake-up call to Canada's athletic program as we watched Australia, with two thirds of our population, win 58 medals to our 14. No longer could we use our small population as an excuse for poor performances.

    Under performance even plagued our strongest sport, Ice Hockey, which went through a fifty year gold medal drought from 1952-2002. When our athletes were favoured to win, they often made serious mental errors. The 2004 women's hurdles saw Perdita Felicien taken out by the first hurdle in the final leaving face first on the track and devastated. Were we mentally tough enough to compete at the highest level?

    Our athletic programs, grassroots sporting organizations and coaching came under scrutiny. Lack of competition and underfunding at the grassroots level were often sited as reasons for top athletes under performing. Our lone bright star, 100m gold medalist Donovan Bailey, had been born and raised in Jamaica.

    When the Winter Games were awarded to Vancouver, we did not want to feel embarrassed. Our athletes were finally given sufficient funding and world class training facilities. There are no longer excuses for Canadian athletes not to perform at a world class level. We (the Canadian taxpayers) have done everything to give the athletes a chance to win a medal. Few outsiders can understand our long history of athletic inferiority, but to Canadians who have followed sport, 'Own the Podium' is refreshing in its bluntness to our athletes.

    (Whether good sportsmanship has been carried out regarding training times is another matter, but this is to put the 'Own the Podium' slogan into context.)

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  • 162. At 03:31am on 19 Feb 2010, Philip Evans wrote:

    Its made interesting reading, not really sure what their point is, could it be that the Brits, just making up the numbers a the winter games feel a little resentful? Or coming from their damp little Island whose best days are long past (if they ever really existed) feel (justifiably) envious of our vast wonderfully blessed, fabulous, prosperous sucessful country, to whom, according to Forbes magazine, the 21st century will belong. Who knows, what can I say, tak a chill pill guys get down to BC Place, watch a Canadian gold medal award and do what Canadians do best, kick back and have fun. You never know, you may enjoy it!

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  • 163. At 03:50am on 19 Feb 2010, Down to earth Swede wrote:

    As a Swede i have to make a comment about this.
    We are absolutely FURIOUS as a nation how badly the games are handled in every way.
    It's up to a point where we just shake our heads in disbelief and make jokes about it.
    Canada as a whole (not only Vancouver unfortunately) is very badly associated with this debacle.
    It isn't just two English newspapers as Mr Furlong made it to be.
    Not a minor thing

    I won't go into the three things in the video (luge, olympic fire, Bob training).

    They are just the tip of the iceberg.

    A large number of examples of extremely unprofessionally handled things:

    1. The Petra Majdic accident in the Sprint. Why on earth were there no safety nets at that point in the course? It would never have happended in Europe. Safety is not taken seriously enough. All experts and athletes were outraged!

    2. The faulty computer graphics and time system.They show the wrong times often in the cross country skiing and biathlon. It is very, very messy both for us tv-viewers and the commentators. And it doesn't seem to work when they are switching angles.
    The time goes away for awhile before it comes back. It often happens during the final sprint in a race, for a possible medalist, where you can't see his/her time until it is to late.

    3. The tv-production as a whole is a spectacular fiasco! The wrong times is one thing, but focusing on the wrong athletes, being late to most things, timing everything wrong. You could use it as training material of how not to make a bad production, I guess.
    We are a bit spoiled with good organisation and tv-productions for winter sports in Europe, I guess.
    But the thing they output is to the point of being hilariously bad, if it wasn't so important for the athletes (and countries).
    The point is that we miss so much from what would have made an exciting competition because the production team doesn't have a clue about what is important, most of the time. Or they try to do too much at the same time (at times) and nothing gets done the right way.

    4.In the pursuit events in the biathlon some competitors couldn't start when they wanted to and others were let away too early. It has never happened to the magnitude it has in Vancouver. Both for the men and the women. They try to adjust times into the races, but of course the computer graphics can't handle that correctly (or something else is wrong).
    Again, these things should NEVER happen, especially not during an olympic game.
    And absolutely not repeatedly!

    5. They changed the track for the cross country skiing 10 km Women and 15 km Men without noticing the countries until a few days before the competition. Some countries were specially prepared for the type of course that was initially planned.
    Although this could be seen as a consequence of the bad weather conditions it was badly handled.

    6. How the womens downhill was handled could have resulted in a death crash. They NEVER should have allowed to start the race without at least a training session That has never happened before.
    That combined with a really dangerous jump at the end where, for example, Anja Paerson crashed out badly during a 60 meter jump, could have resulted in a repeat of the luge accidents outcome.
    They shortened the jump considerably to the combined the day after, but that just shows how they reason about safety. Nothing they can do about it, they said about the luge accident. Does anybody else agree about that, besides them?

    7. During most accidents the rescue teams seems to be very late. During the Majdic accident she had to get up very badly hurt without assistance.
    When some skiier lies on the snow after finishing being beyond totally exhausted (at a dangerous level), in Europe you can immediately see some people (meds?) being there helping the athletes, checking that they are okay and so on. People have actually died from extreme exhaustion in these conditions, especially in cold weather/snow.

    I could go on and on and on, but you get the drift.
    Everybody, and I really mean EVERYBODY in the news, on the street, in the extremely well attended Facebook and twitter site for SVT(Swedish Television), other social medias, newspapers, say that it is shockingly bad over here.

    Is this really what the head honcho, Jon Furlong, wants?

    Some spectacularly bad PR for Vancouver and for Canada as a whole?

    It is too late to fix that now for him, but he could at least have shown some self reflection on how they really have handled the games, and not make it into a political farce telling us how great Vancouver and the Canadian people are.

    How "euphoric" they are and that we should be that too.
    Could there be a greater contrast in how we see things?


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  • 164. At 04:05am on 19 Feb 2010, John in Calgary wrote:

    As a Canadian of British birth and frequent visitor to Britain, I can tell you that Canadians are rapidly tiring of the British ... or perhaps more specifically the English. Particularly offensive is the holier than thou attitude that feels free to lecture us colonials on everything from the environment, the seal hunt, and now the Winter Olympics. The Brits might keep in mind a number of things about their Canadian friends including our unfailing courtesy and quiet competence, and might remember the welcome that Eddie the Eagle was given at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics in ... but alas we are now rewarded with their yob culture journalists in Vancouver. Our Australian friends very early on developed a lexicon of less-than-flattering adjectives to describe the British, yet that fertile opportunity still lies before us here in Canada.

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  • 165. At 04:20am on 19 Feb 2010, Dr W wrote:

    This is part of the reasons we left England 14years ago! I am proud to say I am 100% Canadian!

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  • 166. At 05:26am on 19 Feb 2010, Chris wrote:

    The problem in N.America is that you have to be positive even when things are going wrong. This is the opposite approach to the UK where people are negative even when things are going well.

    For example, where i live in the US a journalist wrote truthfully that it had been a dry start to the winter season. The company that operates the ski-lifts in the area withdrew it's advertising from the paper that the journo worked for. The paper was left with no choice but to fire the journo, even though he been telling the truth!! (in the land of free speech).

    If more Canadians could speak other languages, they would also see that the Austrians, Swiss & many more other Euro countries with a good knowledge of winter sports are also being very critical of how these games are being run.

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  • 167. At 05:31am on 19 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    Passionate debate this isn't it!! At 3.50 AM, SVEN FROM SVERIGE (under the user name of 'DOWN TO EARTH SWEDE') wrote us all, as well as the Canadian nation, an essay. With the very greatest of respect to you Sven, I have great difficulty in fathoming out your argument. Perhaps you simply just returned home after an all night bender at Cafe Opera in Stockholm? However I can't work out which chip is bigger;- the one on your left shoulder, or the one on the right?

    I don't know how much time you have spent in Canada, but I lived there for more than 20 years. I have also spent alot of time in Sweden, a country I have great affection for, as well as for it's people. I will be gunning for Canada to take the Gold medal in the Hockey, and if Canada can't do it, I hope that it will be Sweden that takes the top prize.

    It's unfortunate that you have found the experience of the 2010 Winter Games so appallingly bad, and I can only appologise for this. No doubt when Sweden next hosts an Olympic Games, you will know precisely how to manage & showcase the event in exemplary fashion, and devoid of any criticism. In the interim, as the Vancouver experience is so blatantly awful for you, may I politely and respectfuly suggest that you simply tune out. I know only too well the vast number of TV channels in Sweden that you have available to you at your disposal, and the wealth of alternative entertainment offered on such channels.

    Good luck to you mate and god bless.

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  • 168. At 06:16am on 19 Feb 2010, Down to earth Swede wrote:

    @Stuart.

    It isn't aimed at Canadians, it is aimed at how bad the games are perceived over here.
    As I say it will probably reflect badly on Canada in many countries in Europe. You know Germany and Italy have.

    I have no chip on my shoulder.

    We have a great number of channels to choose from when watching the olympics, total coverage of everything except for some curling matches.
    Plus the live streams (8 of 'em webstreams) and a bunch of other channels, so that isn't the problem.
    It's probably a great difference from when you were here.

    Sweden won't host any upcoming olympic games but Lillehammer hosted a perfect 1994 winter olympics, and that was a little village in Norway.

    So there's no excuse for messing it up when it comes to things I listed in my previous post!

    But why don't you ask some of your swedish friends about how they perceive how the olympics are handled. They will probably be very polite and not tell you what they really want to say (as Swedes do often), since it is a very touchy subject when you are the hosts.


    As a sidenote:

    Well, a swede is a kind of turnip in Britain hence the "down to earth" (and I'm that too).

    That was a really bad pun, eh?.

    But I have no problem with Sven.

    And, no, I wasn't back from a night out at Cafe opera.
    It's the olympics you know and they continue into the late nights/early mornings here and being the sports superfan I am I'm watching as much as I can of everything.

    Good luck to you too, lets hope for a Canada-Sweden hockey final.
    Bet Canada will win it all probably against Russia in a final, but you never know.

    We have The Sedin twins, Lidström, Alfredson and many more.
    And of course the old Peter "Foppa" Forsberg that just keeps bouncing back into the team!
    Could be a surprise!

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  • 169. At 06:35am on 19 Feb 2010, Jenn wrote:

    It's disappointing to say the least to hear such ignorant comments and criticisms coming from a mostly absent audience.
    I am in Vancouver. I am experiencing the Olympics first hand. It's amazing here, friendly, sunny and warm (yes warm).
    Whistler, where the majority of ski events take place, has a ton of snow. Cypress has enough snow, no matter where it came from!
    The weather is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but Vancouver has dealt with it very well and the show has gone on!
    As far as the Luge, yes it was tragic. I was left feeling...how amazing are these athletes that are so brave and driven and proud, that they partake in these extremely dangerous sports. One minute they're speeding towards victories, pushing the boundaries and taking incredible risks, the next, tragedy.
    This is the nature of the beast. The Luge in Vancouver did push the limits, which happens eventually as athletes get bolder and more competitive.
    Overall, it has been amazing here and I am so proud of this city. I actually feel bad for the British media for having to focus so hard on every small negative detail, instead of looking at all the great things that are happening every minute!
    GO CANADA!!!

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  • 170. At 07:11am on 19 Feb 2010, Kevin Keelan wrote:

    The British Media take facts and turn them into their own grizzly, grey, depressing expression of the way they wish to depict reality. It says so much about Britain as a society (it's they who buy the trash) and so much about Vancouver when they have such an eloquent, positive and passionate (Irish-sounding) spokesman. Yes, there have been mistakes, what Olympics hasn't had them, but for goodness sake have some perspective. And by the way, I'm, British and embarrassed

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  • 171. At 07:24am on 19 Feb 2010, Jeric wrote:

    To Down to earth Swede:

    1: The luge track was designed and approved by the International Luge Federation. The very same people who design an approve tracks in Europe. It was a freak accident that no one saw coming. Blaming Canada just shows your ignorance.

    2-3: Sorry but your coverage is only as good as your local networks. I've watched nearly every event on our local networks and haven't noticed any of the glitches you're talking about. This has nothing to do with the organizers.

    4: Actually events are delayed all the time, particularly for events of this magnitude. There are many factors that can affect this type of thing and ultimately its the same people who officiate every other major competition who are officiating this at the top level. The organizers are just there to help out when called on. Again, your coverage is only as good as your network.

    5: Without being specific, you can't control the weather, this could happen anywhere. Elite athletes should be able to adjust to a change if they've qualified for the Olympics particularly in a sport as straight forward as x-country skiing.

    6: I'm not sure if you're really from Sweden or just another member of the local "Olympic Resistance Network" but this is the Olympics, the course is supposed to be challenging. You can't throw these athletes onto a bunnyhill. There are plent of runs out there that are far more dangerous. You don't seem to have any appreciation for the risks involved in winter sports.

    7: Again little appreciation for the danger involved in winter sports. There were volunteers (I assume with medical experience) along the course and helicopters flying over in the case of serious injuries. I don't see how the airlift could have been much faster than it was. We have real mountains here not the bunny hills you see in Sweden.

    There's obviously something else to your negativity towards Vancouver and Canada. Seriously, look at the last 4 Olympics for comparison.

    Beijing - pollution, extreme media restrictions, millions kicked out of the city, spectators being paid to warm seats because of poor attendance, hostile visa regulations to potential visitors...
    Turino - Terrible media coverage/ratings, venue transportation problems, weather cancellations, doping...
    Athens - Unfinished venues, massive financial problems, insane security, hot dusty weather, transportation issues...
    Salt Lake City - Corruption from the start of the bid, issues with judge bribary, 9-11 level security, arrogance and over-the-top patriotism.. 9-11 9-11 9-11

    Where have your ridiculous Olympic standards come from? Certainly not from any of the games I've witnessed.


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  • 172. At 07:36am on 19 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    Attention: Down To Earth Swede (Sven from Sverige)

    Perhaps it's a differnt TV feed you are receiving in Sweden. In the UK (where I now live) we have the BBC & British Eurosport. I've mainly been viewing the BBC coverage, and must I say it's all been well presented. I can only suggest the fragmented & disjointed TV coverage you have been receiving is down to weather related interuptions, but otherwise I don't know.

    In Canada we had one badly managed games - the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. I lived in Montreal at the time, and remember only too well how embarassing it was. However Calgary in 1988 was huge succeess, and I really don't see the Vancouver games as being anything but a success, especially bearing in mind the adverse & unfortunate circumstances outside it's control, as well as the terribly sad & tragic death of the poor Georgian 21 year old.

    On your side a great effort by Anja Paerson to come back after that nasty accident in the Downhill - well done to her. I think your Men's Curling team look very strong, and I hope your Mens Hockey team do well also. I agree with you about the Russians though - they do look strong. We shall see.

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  • 173. At 07:43am on 19 Feb 2010, VancouverCanuck wrote:

    Bring it on British Media. We can take it. The criticism is legitimate, although the actual situations may not be as dire as portrayed.

    VanOc really did prepare and you have to admit there are some real weirdo things happening. Not one but two ice machines malfunctioning at the Oval - machines that have been used without incident at the Oval for the past 2 years. The time clock at the Oval malfunctioning - when have you ever heard of that? The Cauldron malfunctioning? According to Gretzky they practiced 4 times without incident - so of course it had to malfunction during the opening ceremonies.

    What's the remedy? Fix it and move on. We are truly having a fantastic time here in Vancouver. It so much fun to be here and to be a Canadian at this moment. We are meeting people from all over the world and seeing fantastic sports (we LOVE curling!). The weather right now is awesome!

    So take your best shot, you can't rain on our parade - the local weather already took care of that.

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  • 174. At 08:01am on 19 Feb 2010, Luyolo2010 wrote:

    Thank goodness the British media have found another target to shoot at for the time being, in South Africa we have accepted that the British press have nothing positive to say about us hosting the football world cup. However, they do not seem to have a problem when we host their cricket and rugby national teams, case of sour grapes? You be the judge.

    It seems as if the British press has conveniently forgotten that London will play host to the next summer Olympics. We are going to disappoint you by supporting you, instead of dishing out unfair criticism. Good luck in advance!

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  • 175. At 08:58am on 19 Feb 2010, matmix wrote:

    relax everybody.. if you know anything about the British press you will know that they reserve their most vitriolic, scathing, personal and hurtful criticism for their own.. Despatches from Vancouver and South Africa are a warm up, a mere walk though a sun dappled field of daisies compared to the carnage they will inflict on their own doorstep in London 2012... Didn't you know that the last BOC committee meeting ended up in a mass orgy involving 25 call girls, 3 cabinet members and a pantomime donkey... honest it's true! ;-)

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  • 176. At 09:16am on 19 Feb 2010, Ozman wrote:

    Haha, very witty matmix.

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  • 177. At 10:04am on 19 Feb 2010, viking spirit wrote:

    I'm glad I'm not a British journalist. What a depressing job to spend one's entire day looking for what is (may be) wrong and focusing on negatives. Whatever happened to the media reporting actual facts - good or bad? Believe me, we can do the sensationalizing on our own. Perhaps surprsing to the media, but most folks can also make their own opinions when given the facts.
    Some of you have complained about the term "owning the podium" and called Canadians "medal chasers". I'm confused, isn't this event about competitions and winning medals? Strange, I thought athletes from Britain also wanted to win medals? Does this mean the GB skater who received Gold today (Feb 18) wasn't working towards and dreaming of winning? Did he perform without believing there was a chance?
    I'm fortunate to be in Vancouver during these events. To be amongst the crowds of locals and visitors celebrating on the streets is an uplifting experience, and brief escape from the real doom and gloom of the world. Yes, unfortunately, there is the odd hooligan amongst the crowd, which is why the caldron is behind a metal fence. Otherwise some bonehead would climb it to light a cigarette, only to light himself on fire instead.
    London, when it's your turn in 2012, I truly hope you can show the rest of the world that it is possible to pull off a perfect Olympic games (it hasn't happened yet), even if posed with challenges such as weather. If not, I also hope the medias of the world are able to provide more balanced reporting and give you credit when credit is due.
    The death of the Georgian luger is devestating. Some of these sports are forever becoming increasingly dangerous. Every competition - Regionals, Worlds, Olympics - it's about making more challenging race courses and breaking speed records. But at what cost?

    A proud Canadian whose pride in her British heritage is sadly dwindling.

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  • 178. At 10:15am on 19 Feb 2010, Ill Phil wrote:

    The British press and the British people are separate entities. Calm down, Canada. We still love you.
    If you think the press are being harsh with Canada then watch them pour scorn on our own Olympics in a couple of years. If you can't wait that long then witness the inevitable torture of our football team in the run-up to the South Africa World Cup.

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  • 179. At 10:38am on 19 Feb 2010, Anne wrote:

    I'm a Canadian who attended the luge final for women and I've noticed a lot of complaints about training time on the track. I am not sure if many of you heard about this, but the starting position was changed for both luge competitions.

    Since Canadian athletes had been training on the run at the original start for quite a while, it was incredibly difficult for them to adjust. Hence, what could have once been considered an advantage has quickly turned into a disadvantage. This is a good lesson for future host countries (like the UK) to not rely on such strategies.

    The only major issue still existing is the standing tickets for Cypress events, which relates to the warm weather the entire province has been hit by.

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  • 180. At 11:11am on 19 Feb 2010, AussieInDubs wrote:

    It's the British press, what is to be expected from the people that super-impose Kaiser helmets on German footballers?

    Here's another headline for The Times: "Auustralia 1, "Team GB" 0" - Go Torah The Soarer!!

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  • 181. At 12:40pm on 19 Feb 2010, chrissy2819 wrote:

    The argument about the Canadians getting more time on the luge track is really confusing. If they don't train in Vancouver, where should they train? Should they apologize for happening to live where the olympics are taking place? Honestly, like its been said that is how it goes at every olympics. It is unbeliveably unfortunate that a death occured but I have no idea how that could have been forseen.
    As a Canadian living in the UK at the moment I am quite suprised and a bit disappointed at how the British media has responded. Since London 2012 hasn't happened yet how can they judge and compare to Vancouver? I think that should be reserved until after the UK hosts the olympics. I am really proud of how Canadians have responded and to see the excitement and genuine happiness of the crowds makes me extremely grateful to be Canadian. Yes, its a competition and based on sport but its wonderful how its managed to unite the whole country. I'm just happy that they aren't allowing all the bad press spoil the amazing party- just wish I was there to take part! I wish London good luck in 2012 and I hope that the media is kinder to them and any mistakes that might occur since nothing is perfect!
    GO CANADA!

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  • 182. At 1:04pm on 19 Feb 2010, Tree wrote:

    Is it just me, or is a lot of this all just being blown way out of proportion?

    Firstly, we all know that the British press have a habit of sticking their nose in where it's not always welcome, and it's actually changed a lot of people's views, and has even led to some momentous changes in sport (the sackings of high-profile football managers such as Sven-Goran Eriksson, for example, were completely media driven), so I kind of expected this to happen.

    I think the whole reasoning behind this is simply because everybody's already written off London's Olympiad in two years time, saying that it's going to be absolutely terrible (a view which I almost wholly agree with), and therefore the press are just trying to poke holes in other country's games in order to try and make ourselves feel better. That way, we make the comparison of "Oh well, at least it wasn't as bad as this one/that one.", which, I personally believe, shouldn't, and probably won't, happen, unless there is some kind of absolute miracle. I've always thought the IOC should have given the 2012 games to Paris, because it's much better equipped, and I still stand by that, even though I'm British.

    Anyhow, these games have actually been really good - yes, of course, there are problems, but who hasn't had some sort of issue at an Olympic Games? Even Beijing got some stick because they superimposed fireworks into the TV programming during the Opening Ceremony, and that's one of the best Olympics I've seen during my 20-year lifespan! Let's just look at the problems logically though:

    People can only see the flame through a fence - well, think about it, it's three ornately designed towers holding a huge cauldron up, with fire coming out of all four structures. If there's an accident with that, then surely that would be worse than not being able to see it very well?

    Public safety was surely also the reason why Cypress Mountain's viewing areas got closed down as well: who would want that sort of accident on their hands?

    The weather's something you definitely can't control, and it's just a case of unfortunate timing.

    As for machinery, sometimes it's just faulty. Cars break down, mp3 players break, an ice-surfacer doesn't work right - what's the difference?

    And, finally, the death of the Georgian luger (RIP). Of course, it really is a tragedy that he died, but sometimes these things just happen in sport. A few very good football players have died in recent years (Marc-Vivien Foé being one of them), Ayrton Senna died as a result of his sport and so have others doing their respective sports. Of course, you can put as many safety precautions in place as possible, but sometimes it just doesn't work out, and there are going to be tragedies in these types of events. That said, my thoughts are with the families of all of those athletes - it was surely too soon for that to happen.

    Aside from that logic, another thing that isn't helping is that people are of the belief that the National Press of a country is the genuine opinion of the people, which it actually isn't. Just because it's a select number of British journalists that have written these articles, it doesn't mean that this reflects the true opinion of the British population in total. My personal opinion is that the Vancouver games have been a great spectacle so far, and I'm looking forward to the next bits with interest (come on GB!).

    Well done Canada - keep up the good work :D.

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  • 183. At 1:09pm on 19 Feb 2010, chrissy2819 wrote:

    Also just wanted to say thanks to the BBC for the wonderful coverage! I'm so happy I'm able to see hockey :) Only thing I'd like is to see some Canadian curling but its understandable how its been done of course... The twitter updates on the side are fun too and its nice to see some British media that have a positive view of the olympics!

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  • 184. At 1:09pm on 19 Feb 2010, One4yacht wrote:

    As a brit living here we hear endless bilge about "own the podium" restrictions - its normal in any sport to keep the best facilities for the host nation - is anyone going to whine that British Sailors have had the advantage of sailing at Weymouth for 2012? No, so quit the whinging pom-ness about that.

    Secondly it is comical listening to what is ostensibly some stereotypical British whining about the weather, watch out 2012.

    The general consensus we sense is that the UK gets 50% excellent journalism and 50%, er, the rest. Sadly the rest sell alot of paper with stuff printed on it. Furlong is not a hero, he is however real and responsive to the gutter press and so he should. My suggestion of lining them up at the biathlon range is gaining support daily.

    So before you judge him and his cohorts, put your money where your mouth is and come to the games, come and see for yourself to see just how to create a superb atmosphere a city and nation - I hope Seb Coe can achieve the same in 2012.

    ps I heard we're all supposed to donate any spare change to UK winter sport, is that right?

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  • 185. At 1:15pm on 19 Feb 2010, Ake wrote:

    Oh dear, if you think the British press is xenophobic and biased, try living in Australia !

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  • 186. At 2:20pm on 19 Feb 2010, Gill wrote:

    The British spend a lot of time complaining about their own weather so it's no surprise that they are complaining in Vancouver as well.

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  • 187. At 2:30pm on 19 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Keep going BBC.

    To my fellow Canadians, look , we aren't slagging Vancouver, and we aren't slagging our athletes (or anybody else's). That's not the point.
    It's the whole rotten edifice that is the IOC.

    Underneath this veneer of sports they conceal (not very well) a seamy, putrescent, gangrenous reality.

    Largely speaking, the athletes are being exploited as unpaid cannon fodder for private profit by an unaccountable organization whose legitimacy seems to have no real basis, whose only genuine interest seems to be in the rapacious enforcement of trade mark rights (and on what basis does it hold those rights in the first place?), that smacks of fascism, that has no hesitation in attempting to suppress freedom of speech (harasses art galleries in Vancouver, tries to prevent protesters from crossing the border; demands that poets not criticize the games, and on and on).

    At the organizing level, there's VANOC, but there is, mainly, the IOC.
    Just who is the IOC?
    Who collects all these licensing fees?
    Where does that money go?

    The other day I wrote a lengthy piece on Ollie Williams' blog about the corresponding international sporting farce that is the IIHF. Rarely does confirmation in the press come so quickly:

    Write a long post on the inanity of international hockey one day, and the following day there is a big article on the Globe & Mail "NHL's Bettman feeling body checked by IOC" that provides yet another glowing example of exactly what I was talking about.

    The NHL provides players whose current year contracts run to $ 2B, and the IOC expects everyone will dance to the IOC/IIHF tune. Ridiculous.

    The hockey tournament provides a $ 10M bump in revenues for the IOC when the NHL players are included. But the IOC expects to call the tune. Ridiculous.

    Who in blazes is Rene Fasel?
    Which NHL team did he ever play for?
    Where, exactly, is his name inscribed on Stanley?
    Which AHL, IHL, WHL, QMJA, or OHA team did he ever play for, coach, manage or own?
    What has he ever achieved in hockey that has any credibility with anyone?

    What authority does he have to speak for anyone in hockey?

    Nobody who has any credibility in the sport ever refers to it as "ice hockey".

    Who owns the IIHL?
    Who owns the IOC?
    Where do all these licensing fees go?

    The IOC should have been put out of business long, long ago. Ditto for the IIHF. Different names, same male bovine excrement.

    Keep going BBC.

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  • 188. At 2:34pm on 19 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    168. At 06:16am on 19 Feb 2010, Down to earth Swede wrote:

    "Sweden won't host any upcoming olympic games but Lillehammer hosted a perfect 1994 winter olympics, and that was a little village in Norway."

    __________

    Lillehammer probably was the best Winter games ever.

    And the IOC hated it.
    The Norwegians wouldn't pamper the IOC brass.

    So it'll be a long time before Norway ever gets to host the games again.

    Long past time to get rid of the IOC. The major sporting countries could do it easily by mutual agreement.

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  • 189. At 3:04pm on 19 Feb 2010, gfilmdog wrote:

    Stop your belly aching about Canada and win a metal. From where I sit, I see that Canada, US, Germany, Russia, even countries like Kazakhstan and Estonia are on the metals map. Where is GB? What you guys need is the clicking of metal to start writing about things that you can be proud of instead of whining like sore losers.
    Get on the metals map GB and get your pride back. This whining is very unbecoming of a great nation.

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  • 190. At 3:12pm on 19 Feb 2010, pcmacdonald wrote:

    At 03:50am on 19 Feb 2010, Down to earth Swede wrote:
    As a Swede i have to make a comment about this.
    We are absolutely FURIOUS as a nation how badly the games are handled in every way.
    It's up to a point where we just shake our heads in disbelief and make jokes about it.

    My comments?

    First, I always remain sceptical when someone professes to be the spokesperson for a whole nation. I seriously doubt that the majority of Swedes would be comfortable having you claim to be their voice to the world.

    Second, don't engage in such a lengthy diatribe. Please make your points succinctly. After all, you aren't writing an essay for your ESL class.

    Third, I thought this forum was to discuss the British press, and their articles about the winter games. Most of your rant is off topic.

    Fourth, I can't believe that Swedes make jokes about the 2010 Olympics. I thought that humour and happiness had been stamped out completely in your ultimate Orwellian state!

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  • 191. At 3:25pm on 19 Feb 2010, toopyandbenoo wrote:

    I would like to put my two cents in as I am in Canada for the games and i can confirm that all the complaints are so minor in such a massive set up that no one except media looking in the haystack for something to complain about think these games are a massive success.
    I have seen some comments that no access to the sliding track was granted to athletes by Vanoc, this is untrue as all athletes have been given limited access at least 25 times, i say limited due to the quantity of athletes needing to use it and you obviously can not accomodate all of them whenever they need it and it was closed many times as it was being modified and tweeked at the request of the Federation, not vanoc so i hope that enlightens a few people. what are the other complaints? camera vantage points for the couldron, please that is just silly i got great pictures before they changed the fence by the way they changed the entire fence in 8 hours which is amazing. weather! really is this a problem, i dont think so, cancelling tickets at the snow boarding well that was done due to flooding that deteriorated the standing area the night before with a rain storm of some proportions i can tell you. what else is there, the ice machine breakdown, this is a good one, in Canada they use machines called Zambonis to clean and resurface the ice but the federation not vanoc insist on the use of an American machine that is contracted to the federation, so blame the yanks and the federation.
    There was also a comment about Vanoc blaming the luger that died, this to is incorrect, that was the luge federation again.

    Get more informed and by visiting the place and you'll quickly see these games are brilliant, athletes are walking the streets freely chatting to people and everyone is very happy.

    The slogan own the podium is a team slogan that is meant to inspire the country to seek a gold medal on home soil nothing more, they have done that.

    I can only wish london could get the games to be a good as these ones.

    This place is pure magic

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  • 192. At 4:04pm on 19 Feb 2010, MapleLeafLondoner wrote:

    I have read every comment on this blog – incredibly interesting.

    I’m a born and bred Vancouverite, but have lived overseas for 20 years, the past 11 in London, a city I adore.

    A lot of British have been posting, “don’t worry Vancouver - no one believes the press”. Yet, the past week at work, I have had countless number of colleagues asking me why the Vancouver Olympics is such a disaster. So, someone believes it. My London friends perception of the Winter Olympics is one of negativity. And unfortunately this is due largely to the British media.

    Over the past week, I have become unusually patriotic, jumping to defend my native country. Yes, Canadians are ‘over-sensitive’ and ‘do not like criticism’. But better that than complete indifference to other’s views.

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  • 193. At 5:14pm on 19 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    91. At 3:25pm on 19 Feb 2010, toopyandbenoo wrote:

    "... these games are brilliant, athletes are walking the streets freely chatting to people and everyone is very happy.

    ...

    "I can only wish london could get the games to be a good as these ones."

    "This place is pure magic"

    __________

    All of these things may be true (and I hope they are for the sake of our visitors), but that's not the point.

    Look, you often feel pretty good when the wine is flowwing, but the next morning may be a different matter.

    Lots of people had a good time in Montreal, too, as I remember. But we all also remember the financial disaster that turned out to be, too.

    The taxpayers of Vancouver, municipally, and BC provincially, have already been left holding the bag for these games financially. You don't have to scratch very deep to cut through the feel-good veneer and find that the stuff underneath is slimy. Financially and organizationally these games were a train wreck before the first athlete arrived on site. And it goes right back to the legitimacy of the IOC to organize and grant rights to hold the games in the first place.

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  • 194. At 5:16pm on 19 Feb 2010, MarkB wrote:

    I am a Brit living in Canada for the last 17 yrs, i am proud of my roots and would love to see some medals for GB, im am also rooting for Canada. The spirit of the games is truly here, its too bad that the British Press has to spin a negative on the games, but i dont read to much into it, many friends that i have here have seen and read what the british press have said and laugh about it.
    Yes there have been a few hiccups and a tragic death of an athlete, it does happen im sorry to say.
    But the games are fantastic and its great that they are here, so Go Canada and Cmon GB lets get a couple of medals and show em thats were not just about the Summer Olympics.

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  • 195. At 5:38pm on 19 Feb 2010, Thor wrote:

    I am a Vancouverite and the games are fantastic. The positive aspects of the games such as the engagement of and ownership by First Nations have been incredible and far more genuine than the facade of Aboriginalness used in Sydney. Vancouver has come alive with locals and visitors mingling safely in the streets.

    A fence, a leaky ice machine and a long wait for buses are not worth wasting column-inches on. The minority of British journalists that are attacking the games simply look bitter. As many of the other commenters have mentioned, the London games will surely include some equipment failures and dodgy weather too.

    The only legitimate negative news is the luge fatality. Any fatality at a major sporting event requires that the governing sports federation conduct a calm, professional investigation to determine the cause of the fatality and to recommend changes that improve safety for all athletes at all venues, while retaining the competitiveness of the sport. For instance, here are some photos of metal pillars at the finish lines of luge tracks at:

    - Torino: http://jasondeem.com/popular/2/95743972_uLP92/Large
    - Salt Lake: http://www.rvretired.com/images/UTAH/parkcity/luge_finish.jpg

    Let's stop blaming Nodar Kumaritashvili for his level of experience and lets stop blaming the Whistler track designers. Neither of them wanted this to happen.

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  • 196. At 6:02pm on 19 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    195. At 5:38pm on 19 Feb 2010, Thor wrote:

    "Let's stop blaming Nodar Kumaritashvili for his level of experience and lets stop blaming the Whistler track designers. Neither of them wanted this to happen."

    __________

    Missing the point here?

    The issue is not whether anyone wanted the accident to happen. The issue is whether a reasonable man would have taken steps to prevent a reasonably foreseeable injury from happening.

    In what might be billed as the latest, spiffiest, most up to date, state of the art run in the world, you'd have to be kidding yourself if you don't think the duty of care is going to be found to have been pretty high.

    The thing speaks for itself: A momentary error in judgment or execution by an relatively inexperienced user of the track should not have cost the young man his life.

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  • 197. At 6:21pm on 19 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    To Interested Foreigner (Comment No 196 @6.02 PM)

    I'm not sure I take your point. Notwithstanding the tragic & untimely end to this young man's life, this is an event that entailss humans thundering down the track at speeds of greater than 80 MPH, and with little protection;- that is the nature of the sport. There are risks involved in such events. Very sadly accidents do happen in sport (some fatal.) But are you implying VANOC/ IOC/ the course designer were negligent in their duty of care to some respect?

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  • 198. At 7:03pm on 19 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    197. At 6:21pm on 19 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    "But are you implying VANOC/ IOC/ the course designer were negligent in their duty of care to some respect?"

    __________

    Clearly that is neither for me nor you nor the BBC to decide, but, ultimately, for a court of competent jurisdiction in the Province in which the accident occurred, should a plaintiff make a claim and pursue it to trial.

    It would not be surprising if Mr. Kumaritashvili's parents and perhaps others, VANOC, the IOC, the international luge federation, the track builders, the track designers, the track certifiers, and the insurers, all seek, or have sought, appropriate independent legal advice.

    A young man died on what amounts to a showplace sledding facility, an event captured on film and broadcast into the living rooms of the planet.

    What do you expect is going to happen?

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  • 199. At 7:40pm on 19 Feb 2010, chrisbastille wrote:

    Don't worry Canada. This is just (certain sections) of our British press being their usual venomous and ignorant selves. They probably still think all Canadians are lumberjacks.
    Unfortunately their next target will probably be the 2012 games in London, especially if Labour win the upcoming British general election in which case the Olympics can be portrayed as a "new Labour folly".
    They will rip the games to pieces before they even start - just like they did with the Millenium Dome in 2000 (speaking as one of the few people who visited it despite the negative press - and was pleasantly surprised)

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  • 200. At 7:42pm on 19 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    To Comment No 198 - Interested Foreigner:

    The short answer to your last question is that I wouldn't know. We here in the UK thankfully don't live in a litigation led society.

    If this young man had been foreced to participate in this event against his will, that's one thing. However I suspect he partook willingly. As stated earlier, the event in question is a high speed event that carries risks. The fact this young man's life came to a sudden & premature end is terribly sad & tragic. The entire Georgian & Canadian nations mourned his loss. If as you have suggested a Provincial Court in British Columbia might find one of the aforementioned bodies guilty of negligence, and subsequently hold them to ransom, then in my mind that is extremely unfortuate & saddens me. I wasn't previously aware such a litigation led society existed in Canada.

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  • 201. At 9:48pm on 19 Feb 2010, Gordon wrote:

    First, thank you James for fixing it so we can see the video in Canada. After watching it, I want to start a movement to have John Furlong run as Premier. He handled your one tracked questions very well.

    Second. Would all you none Canadians stop saying "'Own the podium' is not very Canadian". That's for US Canadians to decided and WE decided to create the program - deal with it. Own the Podium, combined with our strong dollar, healthy banking system and strong economy is about Canada coming out. Get used to it, Canada has awoken!

    Third. "You're sophisticated, you live well. No need for an apology."
    Just a few lines from a recent article in the New York Times. The writer goes on to praise British Columbia for our pan-Asian cuisine and characterizes Vancouver as the "Manhattan with mountains," and as a "liquid city; a tomorrow city."

    I really enjoy reading the comments from Brits explaining how the British Media works - WOW! I thought Fox News was bad! Maybe we can send CBC to Britain so you guys can find out what really is happening in the world.

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  • 202. At 10:16pm on 19 Feb 2010, mindmenot wrote:

    It's good to see Mr. Furlong standing up for his team and the Olympics in Vancouver. Even as a resident of Vancouver, I haven't seen/heard him so passionate about something ever since he got his job as the CEO. However, I don't see why we should fault a foreign media for expressing their thoughts or evaluating how VANOC has done so far with the games. I know we are the host city, but we are bound to make mistakes and run into difficulties, as this is an enormous event where lots of things can go wrong and things happen; others will pick up on the unfortunate incidents, comment on them and hopefully make things better next time when they get to host the Olympics.
    Among all things said by the foreign media, I am personally grateful that they have not forgotten about the luger and are reminding us what happened in the midst of all the glory and festivities here. It is something this Olympics will be coined with, whether Canadians like it or not. I just hope that the media will follow through with the investigation after the games and give us the unbiased truth to the incident.

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  • 203. At 10:35pm on 19 Feb 2010, Ri wrote:

    Two points come to mind:-
    1. When I go to a major event like an Olympics it is to see the events and not the flame!
    2. London is holding the next Olympiad so if the British press are ranting lets hope London gets it right!

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  • 204. At 11:22pm on 19 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    200. At 7:42pm on 19 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    "To Comment No 198 - Interested Foreigner:

    The short answer to your last question is that I wouldn't know. We here in the UK thankfully don't live in a litigation led society.

    If this young man had been foreced to participate in this event against his will, that's one thing. However I suspect he partook willingly. As stated earlier, the event in question is a high speed event that carries risks. The fact this young man's life came to a sudden & premature end is terribly sad & tragic. The entire Georgian & Canadian nations mourned his loss. If as you have suggested a Provincial Court in British Columbia might find one of the aforementioned bodies guilty of negligence, and subsequently hold them to ransom, then in my mind that is extremely unfortuate & saddens me. I wasn't previously aware such a litigation led society existed in Canada."

    __________

    No, we don't live in a "litigation led society".

    BC is a common law province and to a very great extent it has the same common law legal tradition, history, and current legal standards as England. Certainly it has the same basis Tort law.

    There is nothing wrong with people who have been injured seeking redress for their injuries. The whole of the law of Torts exists for that purpose. I would not be very keen on living in a society in which this was not done. We do not generally wish to encourage people to disregard their reasonable duties of care to avoid injury to others.

    The argument you make used to be associated with the phrase "volenti non fit injuria", meaning that is you voluntarily take on a risk, you can't complain of your injury later. We don't tend to have much patience with that argument nowadays. If you get a bruise in a boxing match, maybe. But where someone is permanently injured or killed, this argument just doesn't wash.

    The law is very reluctant to hold that any person can ever voluntarily agree to accept the risk of being killed. In a leisure or sporting activity it would not make sense.

    Each competitor will almost certainly have had to sign various releases and waivers to compete. Again, no matter what they have signed, the law is very reluctant to uphold those releases, waivers, or other contractual agreements unless there is a reasonably fair allocation of risk, and the parties accepting the risks had a reasonable opportunity to insure against loss.

    Where there has been a conscious allocation of risk among parties of roughly equal bargaining power, and it was the contemplation of the parties that one or other of them would be responsible for obtaining insurance, and the risk was readily insurable, then there is some argument that the prior allocation of risk ought to be upheld. Where it is merely one party imposing the strength of its bargaining power on another to force unequal terms, very different considerations apply, to the point where issues of unconscionability may arise.

    Our courts do not hold people "to ransom", and the maximum recovery for pure pain and suffering (as opposed to directly compensable loss under specific quantifiable heads of damages) was set by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1978 at a relatively modest amount.

    A young man, a boy, was killed in a sledding accident. The corollary to the position expressed in your posting is that you regard it as acceptable that the penalty for a momentary error in judgment or physical action should be death, without regard to whether reasonable precautions were taken to avoid reasonably foreseeable injuries or not.

    My guess would be that proposition has been untenable at law throughout the common law world for at least a century, probably somewhat longer.

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  • 205. At 00:08am on 20 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    At 9.48 PM Gordon wrote some very intersting comments.

    Once one understands what "OWN THE PODIUM" is all about, and the programme behind it, it's perfectly understandable. The term on it's own unfortunately doesn't explain anything, and without an appreciation of it's raison d'etre, in fact sounds a little presumptious, possiby even a touch arrogant.

    Australia pushed forward with a similar programme;- didn't brand it with any fancy names, merely called it The Australian Institute of Sport. A public / private funded body where promising potential elite athletes would be invited to get involved with, in order to benefit from receiving high level specialist coaching in their respective field - whatever that sport may have been been. It really took off after their dismal showing at the 76 Montreal Olympics, when they managed a mere 3 or 4 medals. The Prime Minister & Head of their Olympic movement said at the time this would never, ever, happen again, and nor has it. Australia is a nation that knows a thing or two about winning, and I hope the Canadian programme might produce the same effect for your fine nation.

    For your good guide, we already get CBC & CTV News here. It's streamed via the internet, and both productions (under anchors Peter Mansbridge / LLoyd Robertson) are excellent. But just so as you know a bit more about the BBC, their product is almost identical to the Canadian brand;- i.e a vast array of foreign content and news stories in each news programme- a far cry from what ABC / CBS/ NBC put out in the country to the south of you. And I can assure you that the vast majority of British nationals have a very good knowledge about what happens outside our borders, and throughout the world. Why else would so many have come out in Canada's defence in this forum, expressing deep embarrassment about the writings of a small nunber of our journalists.

    Matey believe me....the world over, people love Canadians, and have a natural affection towards you. PLEASE don't change. The characteristics you have painted of this new Canada which is in the process of 'coming out', as you put it, sounds very American, and sadly does not bear the attractive attributes of the Canada much of the world knows and loves.

    Unfortunately the criticism of the games has been fairly widespread, and not confined simply to UK journos. Similar sentiments have emanated from the US, and several European countries. Having watched and enjoyed alot of the Vancouver events, I don't agree with what has been reported. Unfortunately it seems it's not just the British media who are struggling to find accurate news stories to come up with.

    Long may harmonius & affectionate UK - Canada relations continue!!!!!

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  • 206. At 01:42am on 20 Feb 2010, Stuart wrote:

    INTERESTED FORIEIGNER - Yes I'm well aware that you have Common Law in all provinces of Canada, except Quebcec where they exercise the Napoleonic code (Civil Law).

    You clearly have a good understanding of Latin, and an even deeper understanding of the law;- perhaps you are a qualified Lawyer, in which case well done to you.

    I think we are being somewhat over analytical here. A sad, tragic, and fatal acident occurred. A young man's life was brought to a premature end. I simply do not accept that it stands to reason that some or all operating authorities responsible for the installation, and operation of the course were responsible for the accident. We are talking about The 21st Olympic Games. Hosted in a city several times voted by the W.H.O. as being the world's most liveable city in terms of quality of life, and in a country that is a major G20 nation with a thriving economy. The course was the same for all competitors. Sadly a fatal accident occured that appears to have been down to human error. We continue to mourn the loss of a young man's life. Let's also try and enjoy the rest of the games.

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  • 207. At 03:05am on 20 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    206. At 01:42am on 20 Feb 2010, Stuart:

    It's sad, alright, and tragic, and everything else. If you have a child of your own, it's an awful thing to contemplate. You know how heartbroken his parents must be, and your heart goes out to them. This is a terrible thing.

    All the same, it is also the stuff of which lawsuits are made.

    One of the points I forgot to mention was that duties of care tend to fall more heavily on those who can prevent injury at the lowest cost, or who have the best knowledge of the risks, and the most opportunity to do something about those risks. This is a facility that cost C$ 100 m. (Approx GB L 65m?), remember.

    All of these factors point away from a young boy with big dreams.

    Pretty sure that everybody involved, including the multitude of prospective defendants, expects a statement of claim to be filed, probably sometime after the games are over and everybody has gone home.

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  • 208. At 07:21am on 20 Feb 2010, OrcaSurfer wrote:

    Interestedforeigner:: Blah Blah Blah Nobody wants a lawyer at a good party. Get your mind out of your wallet. There is a long line of lawyers passing out cards and jumping on the band wagon to drive our cost for the Olympics up! The events are designed by the same people that use them. Do your homework, since 1988 they have worked hard to make everything "Eddy the Eagle" and "Jamaican Bobsleigh" safe. You earn your right to be there and they all know the risks.

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  • 209. At 07:29am on 20 Feb 2010, OrcaSurfer wrote:

    Stuart: Lawyers please stop! WE are hung over from Party'n'. Blah Blah Blah Just sit down and enjoy the show!

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  • 210. At 07:44am on 20 Feb 2010, OrcaSurfer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 211. At 12:28pm on 20 Feb 2010, Tommy wrote:

    PulpGrape, Spoonmehead & Glosballcarrier. Excellent to hear the usual positive comments coming out about our own games in 2012. For all those 'glasses half empty' miserable attitudes out there show some pride & get behind it for crying out loud! It WILL come together. London, like many before will be great and I for one cannot wait...

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  • 212. At 2:47pm on 20 Feb 2010, Nostromo wrote:

    As a Brit, I too am sick of our press. What annoys me as much as anything is - quite apart from the bad, lazy journalism where the writers never let the truth get in the way of a good story - the fact that the British people are judged on our media. It's embarrassing and makes me cringe.

    However, will people PLEASE stop being so negative about the forthcoming London games? I am fed up with people saying that our 'sorry excuse for a country' is going to make a right hash of it. You never know, it could be a fantastically successful games and let's hope it is. Or do you want us to fail (an attitude I can never understand)? Just knock off the sniping and negativity!

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  • 213. At 3:48pm on 20 Feb 2010, Paul wrote:

    The negative comments here and by the blogger are embarrassing. He talks about Canada not getting into the spirit of the games - one only has to walk the streets of Vancouver to feel the true spirit of the games - while he harps at anything and everything Canadian. Hypocrisy for sure.

    The blogger starts with the same complaints from the beginning and then says the list could go on and on. Actually it doesn't. Those were the key complaints. Hey, he's complaining that the lighting of the flame had a problem. Complaining! Why, did he have a bet that the flame would light without a problem. I just don't get why he should be complaining about that.

    And that is the whole issue. The British media, because we have the games in 2 years, have set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner on anything Canadian.

    To put some things in perspective. While Canadians had more runs than the other competitors, it turns out that everyone had more practice runs than in Turin. Because the Canadians had the facilities ready well before the games, they got in more runs. Will we have our facilities ready well before the 2012 games? Doubt it.

    Someone complained that the ice wasn't perfect at the Richmond Oval and that they should have run a major event here beforehand. Hello! If the world championship isn't a major event (outside of the Olympics) what is?

    Point is, a lot of mud is being thoughtlessly flung at the Canadians. I sure hope all the same media take an equally vindictive view of the London games. Oh, what am I talking about. This is the British Media, world renowned for being the most biased and acting like morons.

    As soon as the Olympics are over the British Media can get back to what they do best - assassinate England's World Cup chances with a sting or two.

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  • 214. At 3:59pm on 20 Feb 2010, jonathan wrote:

    Olympic Mistakes are relative just like any mistakes ? Ever run a company Mr Warner? We all make mistakes. Sorry Gotta run now its 7AM. Off to play golf in a sunny 55 degrees at a challenging beautifully manicured Northlands course for 40 dollars . Hope my eledset daughter enjoys the downhill events today in Whistler an hours drive away. I wish my middle daughter hadn't been so noisy when she came home last night from the Robson Square street Party so full of her funtime, oh nevermind .Still cannot decide which party should i go to later today. Oh its so tough here.
    Everyone looks so miserable! You have to feel sorry for them.

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  • 215. At 5:07pm on 20 Feb 2010, J P Tics wrote:

    It's not just the British media who have been (rightly) critical of the organisers. The three Swedish dailies I read on a regular basis have been equally concerned about weather, cancellations, and the scandalous scenes where biathletes were released too late.

    The IOC has criticised the organisers too, who have been unwilling to accept any negative comments about the games. That in itself is a legitimate cause for criticism to be voiced.

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  • 216. At 5:47pm on 20 Feb 2010, L A Odicean wrote:

    Why do medal winners these days scream and shout and punch the air in a most aggressive and intimidating way? I believe they have too much tostesterone, or whatever, running through their veins. It wasn't ike that in the old days. Gordon Pirie, Billy Wright and Emile Zatopek would never scream and punch the air. It's a disgrace.

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  • 217. At 8:03pm on 20 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    208. At 07:21am on 20 Feb 2010, OrcaSurfer wrote:

    "Get your mind out of your wallet. There is a long line of lawyers passing out cards and jumping on the band wagon to drive our cost for the Olympics up!"

    "The events are designed by the same people that use them. Do your homework, since 1988 they have worked hard to make everything "Eddy the Eagle" and "Jamaican Bobsleigh" safe. You earn your right to be there and they all know the risks."
    __________

    I certainly have have no conceivable financial interest in this, so your "wallet" comment is singularly inapt. I am, though, concerned that people be held responsible for a terrible accident. This should not be swept under the carpet.

    I'm also a little concerned that there are posters here who seem to have little if any understanding of the concept of civil liability. This is really basic stuff in a democracy. Do you not get the difference between right and wrong? Do you not understand that the imposition of negative externalities on others is morally indefensible?

    And no, these games were wildly over budget and financially out of control long, long before the first athlete arrived on sight. The root cause of that problem is different. Where you and I desire a celebration of amateur sport, other people may see a chance to make a publicly subsidized windfall on real estate speculation and development where they had 100% of the upside benefit, but effectively a capped downside risk, with an implicit public guarantee; and still other people see the opportunity to make a windfall extracting sponsorship licensing royalties on the backs of unpaid athletes.

    The part I really love is when organizations like VANOC are excused from public scrutiny because they are, nominally, private bodies rather than public ones, but we all know that once the games have been awarded no public authority is going to say "well, this private body just went bankrupt; not our problem; cancel the games." And just who is paying for the enormous military and police presence?

    Some of us think that the whole thing is inequitable, and that rather more investigative vigour would have been entirely appropriate. The IOC has been getting a free ride in the press for a long time. Let's take a good long look into these deals. Let's see where the money goes, and let's take a good long look at the basis of entitlement of those extracting the various fees.

    The point you make about a heightened awareness of the need to make tracks safe may not cut in the direction you think it does. It might merely make failure to make a track safe all the more glaring an oversight. Yes, well, now that you put it that way ... er, ... um.

    And as for the rather callous suggestion that athletes know the risks, and therefore we can collectively shrug our shoulders at the death of a young man with a whole bright life ahead of him ... Well, he knew the risks, so it's ok, not our problem.

    Perhaps you'd like to explain that in person to his parents?

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  • 218. At 2:25pm on 21 Feb 2010, John Sauve wrote:

    When any one posts anything of these games, should actually research and write the truths as I have not read, seen or heard anything form the IOC regards any concerns for these games, and all videos I have watched on line and from the events have all been of praise....the only few are those who want to moan like sad people...your the people who the majority do not want to hear from or see at the games...you the media also are of a pathetic nature complain about all the bad things, to sell a story, anything great is in the background....you should all make a televise statement of appology to the games organiser...as if they have a crystal ball to stop bad things happening...

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  • 219. At 2:56pm on 21 Feb 2010, steve_41 wrote:

    As a brit over here to watch the games I feel that first I must say something "Thanks Canada I am really enjoying the games". Unfortunately the UK media is once again doing it's best to put a negative spin on things.
    The transport to the events has been excellent (something London will defiantly find quite challenging). The event locations have been great. The organisers have arranged activities in Vancouver and the city is alive.
    Lets not forget the Olympic spirit the Canadian hosts have cheered every single competitor regardless of nationality, this would most certainty never happen between opposing UK football teams.
    The army of volunteers have been helpful and have made the whole thing possible.
    As for the weather the UK should know more then most that this is uncontrollable, to blame the organisers for the weather is outrageous.
    As for the comment about access to venues it's called home advantage some thing that I expect we will use in 2012. But to my knowledge competors have been given all access that was required.
    I only hope that when we welcome visitors to the UK in 2012 that they will not blame us because it rained and the sun did not shine.
    So Canada if my country men cannot bring them selves to say it I will.
    "Thanks Canada I have really enjoyed your games" I will be in the pub downtown to watch the hockey tonight against the USA "GO Canada GO"

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  • 220. At 4:50pm on 21 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    219. At 2:56pm on 21 Feb 2010, steve_41 wrote:

    "The transport to the events has been excellent (something London will defiantly find quite challenging)."
    ---------
    [Don't really think of London Transport as "defiant". Truculent sometimes, yes, but defiant?]
    ---------

    "Lets not forget the Olympic spirit the Canadian hosts have cheered every single competitor regardless of nationality, this would most certainty never happen between opposing UK football teams."
    ---------
    We're like that. We want everybody to feel welcome, and to do well.
    ---------

    "As for the weather the UK should know more then most that this is uncontrollable, to blame the organisers for the weather is outrageous."
    ---------

    Well, yes, sort of.

    True, they couldn't have predicted that this would be the warmest Winter in 114 years.

    But most of the record high temperature years have occurred since 1990. And it's not much of a secret that Vancouver gets a lot of rain.

    VANOC weren't aware of that? Not aware of global warming? On Canada's loony left coast? Or maybe VANOC were in global warming denial?

    [That's an opening onto Canadian politics: nobody beats the CPC at global warming denial. How cosy are VANOC and the Conservatives? The Conservative party logo is basically the Games logo in italics. Confusingly similar? You bet.

    What other country padlocked Parliament from December to the end of the games, in part to avoid a scandal over the torture of Afghan prisoners? Politics and the Olympics together again, a true Olympic Games tradition.]

    You're right that the games organisers don't control the weather, but they did have control over which mountain they picked.

    There are plenty of big, snow-covered mountains in BC and Alberta.
    Why did they pick Cypress Mountain?

    Do you think it was because that's where they thought there would be the best conditions for high level athletic competition?

    Or do you think that maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with the Vancouver real estate market?

    They picked a marginal site, with a significant probability of poor weather conditions. And climatically speaking, those chickens have come home to roost. It isn't that much of a surprise. They have no one to blame for that choice but themselves.

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  • 221. At 5:14pm on 21 Feb 2010, noops01 wrote:

    Some of the taunting has just been funny, like quotes about the number of medals we have won. I don't think anyone over here has ever claimed that the Winter Olympics is our arena, the fact that Amy Williams is our first individual gold medallist in 20 odd years should say loud and clear what priority this competition is to the UK. There are any number of sports/events that we have a great tradition in compared to Canada but I wouldn't sit here making stupid comments because I understand they are things that you guys have no interest in.

    The BBC website should not be lumped in with newspaper coverage or even UK TV news, it's coverage is fair and impartial in most cases. It seems to me that all this website did was record what the IOC said about the Vancouver games compared to our preparations for 2012. It is a fact that our build up is going better than any in recent history, that was stated implicitly by the people that know. Too often we are negative about ourselves and many still think that it will be a failure, but, just as most Olympics are acclaimed the 'best ever' so will London 2012. Last time I checked the location of an Olympics was not picked on how good the weather is, London being in the South East is likely to have the best conditions of anywhere in the country and so therefore is the perfect place to have it in this country. It is far too long since we had an Olympics and it was our turn, so the fact that it may rain does not come into it. We are not a big country, generally if one part of the country has a poor summer then the whole country will but to say that should be some bar to us hosting this great event, that is just a dumb comment. By reading previous messages there were better places in Vancouver to hold events and if that is a fact then criticism is justified. Also no one should be dying in Olympic competition, if it's that dangerous then the designers failed the city of Vancouver. To say that these events are dangerous and that this happens, is again amazing to me, if that is the case then the sport is too much of a liability.

    Make no mistake our newspaper and TV news media push things far too far sometimes (John Terry springs to mind), but they also report stuff that people need to read that doesn't come out in other countries.

    Personally my interest in the Winter Olympics is very small, aside from the sliding events which I have avoided a little bit after the Georgian died. In fact a lot of the money spent on our competitors would probably have been better spent preparing our youngsters for 2012. In Beijing our summer athletes showed a great return on investment and in these times of recession this money should only be spent when we are likely to come away with a fistful of gold, rather than the one gold we will finish with in Vancouver.

    All in all the Winter Olympics is a great event if you like it, with the Six Nations going on, the Premier League being easily the best in the world and a cricket season starting in a couple of months there is far more interesting stuff around. Sorry but that's just the truth and as valid as anyone who is watching every event in Canada.

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  • 222. At 9:22pm on 21 Feb 2010, mishules wrote:

    There have been hints from athletes that some of the events have given preference to the Canadian Athletes.
    There seemed to be some bad sportsmanship when they complained again about Amy Williams' helmet after her win. This does not endear them.
    I don't think anyone can or seriously blames them for the weather but the changes to the Luge starts after the death of an athlete should also have been accompanied with a delay (even of a day) of the start of this to allow the athletes to have some practice on the changed track.
    There was no one more pleased that they got their first gold medal early, but some of their comments "we are owning the podium" does annoy people and seems to be away from the spirit of the Olympic Games.

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  • 223. At 05:37am on 26 Feb 2010, bradyboy wrote:

    I'm a Canadian ex-pat from Vancouver who lives in Manchester. I am visiting Vancouver for the olympics. Before I left for my visit, I had been embarrassed for my hometown - but now I'm just angry. Everything that's going on in Vancouver is just spectacular. It's an amazing moment for sport, culture, and humanity. The majority of the miniscule issues reported in the UK have been really dug up or embellished. Even the refund of seats was because the unseasonable weather created a mud-pit out of one of the standing areas so they cancelled it to prevent people from slipping. How is that a disaster? There were still hundreds of spectators at the event. In the UK, everyday is an adventure of swearing, shoving, bumping, scowling, complaining, yelling, and vomiting in the streets. Everything I do is hampered by bureaucratic screw-ups and nonsense. I can't get service of any kind, or even a smile out of people I encounter in my daily errands. I can't imagine what will befall London, where main venues are already over budget, but I know that when it does I'll be reading about the beauty of the sporting events in my daily Canadian newspaper.

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