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Were these Winter Olympics the best ever?

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James Pearce | 20:04 UK time, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Early in these Winter Olympics a furore was caused by a journalist asking if these Games were turning out to be the worst Winter Olympics ever.

Now I'm ready to pose another question, which will probably provoke just as much debate. Have these actually been the best Winter Olympics ever?

Let me clarify that question a little. In many ways there are always two parallel Olympics which take place - the one that viewers around the world watch on TV, and the one that spectators come to a city to enjoy in person.

For example, the Beijing Olympics were considered to be a great success by the international television audience, whereas many people who witnessed the Games at first hand complained about the lack of atmosphere in the Chinese capital.

I was in Beijing, and I can assure you that you simply cannot compare the spectator experience there with the one here in Vancouver. Vancouver wins hands down.

In Beijing there was little buzz around the city. Yes, they were a fantastic Games in terms of quality of venues and competition, but not in terms of the amount of fun that people were having. Here the street party began on the opening night and it shows no signs of coming to an end just yet.

One senior official from London 2012, who's been in Vancouver, told me that she's learned more from five days in Canada than she had from three weeks in China. That's because, in terms of spectator experience, London will be looking to follow the Vancouver model.

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I haven't seen much of the TV coverage, so it's hard for me to judge what your personal opinions of these Olympics will be, but I hope that many of you will write your views here.

In the meantime I'll focus on my experience of the Games, having now spent nearly three weeks in Vancouver and Whistler. So, I should probably refine my opening question just a little: Are these Winter Olympics, in terms of spectator experience, the best ever?

On Friday I was outside the Broadcast Centre grabbing some fresh air when I saw a large crowd heading down the street towards me. At the centre of the throng was a big Canadian flag being waved proudly in the air. As the people moved closer I could see that the man carrying that flag was Jon Montgomery, a Canadian gold medallist last weekend in the skeleton.

Around him, an impromptu procession had formed - a celebration of home-grown success. The further down the road that Montgomery went, the more people tagged on behind. If this had been a scene in some other countries maybe there would have been accusations of over-hyped nationalism, but this felt spontaneous, natural and very good natured.

I had witnessed just one of hundreds of events that have been taking place on the streets here every day, but for me it summed up one of the successes of these Games.

When I interviewed John Furlong, the chief executive of the Vancouver Olympics, last week, he said that he wanted the Games to help unite Canadians. Few would argue that hasn't happened over the past two weeks.

These have not, though, just been a Games for Canadians, they've been an all-embracing Games. The Canadian people could not have been more welcoming. All the athletes I've spoken to have said exactly the same.

Foreigners have been welcomed with open arms. It's almost impossible to travel on public transport here without a local coming over to speak to you (admittedly the BBC accreditation around my neck is a bit of a giveaway) and ask how you're enjoying the Olympics. There's a real pride here in Vancouver, as we saw from the strong response to the original articles which were so critical of the Games.

It's going to be interesting in London in 2012 to see if the British people get behind their Olympic team in quite the same way as the Canadians have here. Flags fly in every shop window, and are displayed on hundreds of thousands of shirts and jackets.

Canadian crowd celebrates women's ice hockey gold

My producer, Jon, noticed early in the Olympics that a number of people were wearing red Canadian mittens. He decided that he'd buy a pair to take home for his wife. Two weeks later he's still looking! Every shop has sold out. They've become the must-have fashion accessory of the Games - millions have been bought.

It's just another illustration of how Canadians have united behind their country's flag. Even Oprah Winfrey was excited to be able to give some away on her show the other day.

I can only write about my personal experience in Vancouver, and, as you can see, I have little but praise for the way that this city has handled the Olympics. These are only my second Winter Olympics, so I'm in no position to say that they're the best ever, but in terms of spectator experience they definitely compare favourably with Turin four years ago.

And how about this for a compliment from a man who really should know what he's talking about? The IOC president Jacques Rogge told me in an interview (which you can watch here) that the people of Vancouver had "embraced the Olympic Games like no other city in the world before".

Many other seasoned Winter Olympic observers are also putting Vancouver right at the top of their list. Are they at the top of yours?

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:02pm on 28 Feb 2010, Christopher Wellborn wrote:

    From a television viewing standpoint (American Television) these have been the best I have scene. There has been more coverage of "non-glamour" events. NBC has really made a point of how nice the Canadians have been and what a beautiful country it is. From a selfish standpoint it is the first time I have ever scene (again on American television) Nordic skiing broadcast live. I have friends who have never been on heel free skis who are now hooked on it as a sport. Given the terrible weather from a snow sports standpoint this has been a wonderful Olympics. I think Vancouver has set the bar high for Sochi which I fear will lack the warmth and sense of sportsmanship that infused these Olympics.

    Kudos to Canada and Vancouver. If I were not American I would root for their hockey team. Heck, I might anyhow!!!!!

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  • 2. At 10:55pm on 28 Feb 2010, Jan LB wrote:

    All Canadians are thrilled the world has enjoyed the Vancouver Winter Olympics. As a Vancouverite who experienced the construction, frustration, and organization of these games unfold, we are so proud of the evolution of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. From the athletes and coaches, to the volunteers, all transit operators (exceptional bus drivers who guided visitors), locals and sponsors, this event has elevated our pride and unity like no other event.

    We are also proud of all athletes from all nations who participated. We are extremely fortunate to have watched these athletes push themselves to be their best.

    Thank you, James and all our visitors, for enjoying our Olympic Winter Games. We have loved hosting the world and we hope you join us again.


    And of course, GO CANADA GO!

    (Note to James Pearce and Jon: The "Zellers" in Lynn Valley in North Vancouver may have some of the mittens in stock. Of course, contact them first to confirm they are still available.)

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  • 3. At 11:44pm on 28 Feb 2010, Barry Pendergast wrote:

    Have to say as a Brit who came to Canada in 1972 I'm proud of my British heritage but never so proud as I was today with our Olympic record and especially as we won in hockey against the USA. We are from Calgary and loved being part of the host city for the 1988 Winter Olympics but have to say Vancouver has been even better. Glad the woes from the UK press at the beginning of the games has been pushed to one side. Hope those that have never been to Canada will include us in the future. Its an amazing country and equally amazing people! Best wishes for the London Olympics - know it will be tremendous success.

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  • 4. At 11:47pm on 28 Feb 2010, peamealbacon wrote:

    As a former Brit (still in my heart a Yorkie), now living in Canada, I have to say how proud I am to be Canadian. Mark on your calendars Feb. 28, 2010. This is the day that Canada finally emerged as a sporting nation in the eyes of the world. These are truly the best winter Olympics ever. Thank you to the athletes, organisers, volenteers, spectators, vistors. Please come back again sometime

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  • 5. At 00:03am on 01 Mar 2010, Paul wrote:

    Outstanding coverage by the BBC (we must have the best free sports coverage in the world - hope it always stays that way and doesnt go the way of the sky sports mob) - i've been watching olympics and big sports events since the late 70s and the bbc is top notch in this area.
    Undoubtedly the best winter olympic games as well. That looks like it was down mainly to the canadians tho, London will be a good games but i doubt if it will match the passion and patriotism of the Canadians. Britain is a different social make up and much more fragmented in many ways than Canada, be it socially, politically etc. Canadian success also helped that spirit obviously and in the summer games the only two countries with that capabilty in terms of medals are the usa and china.

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  • 6. At 00:10am on 01 Mar 2010, Bill wrote:

    As an American, I can say that these are definitely the best Winter Games I have ever seen. From the fabulous opening ceremonies to the highs and lows of several high profile athletes, this has been a thrilling experience. I congratulate our neighbors and best friends on the best Winter Olympics ever! Magnificent! I only wish I could say the same for NBC coverage.

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  • 7. At 00:12am on 01 Mar 2010, sarahl1510 wrote:

    I was fortunate to be living in Vancouver at the time they won the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics and can remember the atmosphere being fantastic even then. The whole city was behind it and there were flags on display everywhere and celebrations going on for days afterwards. Sadly I was unable to make it back for the actuall games however I can well believe that Vancouver would be an excellent and extremely welcoming host city. The Canadians are fiercely proud of their country and quite rightly so, I only hope the UK as a nation can be as proud and welcoming when the time comes for us to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. We would do well to learn from the success that Vancouver has displayed from both a television and spectator viewpoint.

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  • 8. At 01:03am on 01 Mar 2010, B Jones wrote:

    I was home in Vancouver for Christmas and all the stores were sold out of the mitts then! (Luckily my mum had bought me some already.) However, I noticed there were a lot available at the airport on my way out. Don't know if that's still the case, but might be worth checking?

    I want to add my kudos for the BBC coverage, it has been phenomenal.

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  • 9. At 01:10am on 01 Mar 2010, Anon Y Mous wrote:

    As a student from a London university, visiting Vancouver at this time my budget has been somewhat stretched, and yet I'm not thinking 'god how much have i spent?' im looking back thinking 'hey i would of paid twice as much as i did to do this all over again,' as the atmosphere around downtown even when Canada aren't playing warrants the whole experiance.
    In fact as i write this i am currently sitting in the Vancouver International Airport awaiting my flight home to London, wishing i was back in down town Vancouver after having come straight from Live City (Vancouver) after watching the Mens Hockey final, totally hooked on ever shot and play. This is dispite having two weeks ago never having seen a hockey match, minus the highlights you might see on TV, and now here I am two weeks later, having payed a small fortune to see the Canada v. Norway Mens game (first game in the qualification round), and then following the Canadian team to their nail biting finish against the USA not two hours ago.
    I may be talking simply talked hockey up to this point, but all the other events that I've witnessed (mainly at live screening venues) have had amazing atmospheres, with the Canadians (who truly live up to their friendly reputation) being supportive of all competitors in these wondrous games with the key notable event being sat in a restaurant as Shaun White (Mens half pipe Gold) as he completed his final attempt, and everyone going, what can only be described as, completely insane, post landing the final trick, the rarely landed McTwist.
    Its not simply the more adventurous sports that the atmosphere has been over the top for either. Oh no! Every event is brought with as much excitement as the last, although home games do tend to provide just a little bit more. After all who would expect to see a Mexican wave at a curling match? However yet there I was, at the mens gold medal game, taking part in possibly the most surreal moment of my life so far.
    In fact its not just the sporting events that bring in an impressive atmosphere, even the the cultural Olympiad events (most of them free) have had an atmosphere to rival most of the sporting events. I think that this should be a key point for the London 2012 organisers to take note of when they go home as if people cant necessarily make it to the sporting events themselves this will still help them feel part of the festivities.

    The fact is, if London can pull half the atmosphere I have experienced here in my short time out in Vancouver, I personally feel that London and, generally more so, Great Britain will come out with a new lease of life, more unified and patriotic. Bring on 2012, i await it with open arms.

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  • 10. At 01:14am on 01 Mar 2010, Red Nosed Burglar wrote:

    As an English expat (Dover) living in Ontario, Canada I have to say I am so proud of Canada and our Canadian athletes. I shall be equally as proud when we hoist the World Cup in the summer....my English pride will show then as well.

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  • 11. At 01:20am on 01 Mar 2010, vampyricannie wrote:

    I ski where Alexandre Bilodeau trains. YEAAAHHH!

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  • 12. At 01:20am on 01 Mar 2010, scielle wrote:

    Vancouver did a beautiful job. It was a pleasure to see Canada come together in such a joyful celebration and embrace the Olympic spirit. I only wish there had been more coverage here in the UK. It all seemed relegated to the back pages.

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  • 13. At 01:21am on 01 Mar 2010, vancity wrote:

    As a Canadian living in the UK, I want to congratulate the BBC on the coverage of the games. I'll be honest, I was trying to find ways to watch the CTV/TSN/Sportsnet Canadian coverage, but the BBC has done a fabulous job with the online content and the red button, showcasing Vancouver even with the early problems during the games.

    Well done, and London 2012 will be just as great.

    By the way, that hockey game was simply insane, Crosby has cemented his legacy as one of the best with that overtime marker. USA should also be proud with that performance.

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  • 14. At 01:26am on 01 Mar 2010, paulvanp wrote:

    from our point of view, locals here in BC, the games have been a stunning success. Not just in Vancouver and Whistler itself but way outside the area, ironically much helped by the unseasonal spring weather. Literally thousands of us made the trip to Vancouver (a ferry ride of an hour or more for a good many of us) to lap up the atmosphere and without fail went back home wanting more... I cant say whether it was the best; havent been to any of the other winter games. But this was something I will remember the rest of my life. The atmosphere,the crowds, the good natured line-ups everywhere, and the many many people we met, will never meet again but chatted and shared with. Nothing will ever compare to this and it wasnt dependent on our medal haul (although of course that didnt do any harm). Well done VANOC, well done BC.

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  • 15. At 01:45am on 01 Mar 2010, neonlickspittle wrote:

    Why do journalist obsess over such meaningless titles as "the best ever"? There have been 21 Winter Olympics. How can you possibly compare one with another.

    For those who attended and those who watched around the world, they can judge whether it was successful as was the case for any of the previous games.

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  • 16. At 01:47am on 01 Mar 2010, Brolfe1507 wrote:

    Firstly BBC have done a wonderful job of covering these games. Ok mainly mainstream or british contested events covered on TV but on this website superb so thank you.

    I'm only 18 so maybe this is the first winter olympics iv really watched but it has had me staying up until 3 in the morning many night and at times iv been amazed by Canada patriotism. The almost random outbursts of the national anthem during curling matches is an amazing thing to witness even on TV. The Hockey tonight just underlined the fact of how much Canada cares about this and with all the absolutly rubbish thats been thrown at them with the weather and small engineering mistakes they have held there heads up high and been able to joke about it.

    Well Done Canada

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  • 17. At 01:55am on 01 Mar 2010, jonathan wrote:

    CTV the olympic television channel was fantastic. Non political, totally inclusive, out on the streets, in the events. They hyped it then hyped it again to a level of total hysteria. There song I believe, played again and again, and we believed. The athletes were not over hyped on TV or the press, they just ended up performing, the first gold seemed forever coming, and then pop, like a bottle of champagne we were off. Notice how Canada's medals increased in pace, that helped too.Not to much emphasis on the old generation or has been stars, more on the young and their future. Look carefully at that. Again it worked. The olympics is about the future whilst remembering the past get that balance right. Even the adverts were much better than normal . Plus we actually watched the adverts as they were about the olympics and the company brand. Lots of little things went wrong. But hey who cares. Cups always half full in Vancouver. Learn from it.
    Everyone wants a volunteers jacket. Did the producer get one of those? What more can i say

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  • 18. At 02:42am on 01 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Games were good, but so were the Norwegian games in Lillehammer. Tough call.
    __________

    "17. At 01:55am on 01 Mar 2010, realpersonuk wrote:
    CTV the olympic television channel was fantastic."

    Uh, no, not so much.

    Obviously you weren't watching the hockey. It was grossly inferior to the regular Saturday night HNIC work.

    (Camera work was uniformly bad; camera selection and switching were particularly bad; significant portions of the play were off-screen, with cameras frozen in the other direction; inadequate number of camera positions; inadequate technical ability in reviewing critical plays from other perspectives or in slow motion - the still photos on the BBC of Sid's O/T goal were better than anything shown on CTV; intermission panels were excruciating; boneheaded broadcaster was talking while the medals were being handed out so you couldn't hear the player's names being announced; completely inappropriate cut to show a politician during the women's medal ceremony soiled an otherwise very special moment.

    The word "amateurish" is far too gentle. The kind of work you might expect from people who couldn't get jobs with CBC Sports, perhaps?)


    Or the curling.
    (Vic Reuter was good; selection and timing of commercials was terrible, significant portions of the games were missed during commercials; several times seemed incapable of keeping all of the stones in play in view at one time. How difficult is it to show stationary curling rocks?).

    But hockey and curling aren't sports watched by very many Canadians, so you probably missed them.

    Or maybe you've never seen the work done by CBC Sports, in particular HNIC, so you don't know what competently produced sports programming looks like? But even NBC did a better job.

    Whatever, CTV should never ever again be allowed to have broadcast rights for any sports broadcast involving Canadian teams. It was pathetically bad.
    __________



    Wonder if all that joy-in-the-streets described by James has anything to do with BC's biggest agricultural export?

    __________

    It is going to be a great party. Enjoy it.

    Tomorrow the hangover is going to be bad.
    Especially the financial hangover.

    __________

    And, to our BBC friends, have a safe trip home. Hope you enjoyed yourselves. Come back and visit anytime.

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  • 19. At 03:47am on 01 Mar 2010, marko65 wrote:

    I can't speak about other Olympic Games since this is the first one that I've actually been to but this has been spectacular. If every Olympics are like this, good for them. Spontaneous song and cheer, smiling faces long into the night. I think the writer from The Times, that said these were the worst Olympics ever, was looking for an angle but he missed the mark completely. I hope he's learned to be more patient. As for future Olympics, I wish Sochi all the best and I'm sure they'll do great, but I've heard the Russian National anthem and I'm pretty sure it isn't going to break out on buses, bars and line ups for takeout sushi.

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  • 20. At 03:57am on 01 Mar 2010, keira wrote:

    watching the games and reading your blogs/tweets and comments have made the games for me! the last 17 days of coverage have been spectacular and i have enjoyed every moment.

    your expertise, perspective, wit and comments were superb.

    now the games have come to an end - i feel like i am losing a group of friends!

    i look forward to the coverage of the London 2010 games.

    have a safe flight home and come back again soon.

    love from toronto x

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  • 21. At 04:00am on 01 Mar 2010, DCHeretic wrote:

    I'm an American viewer and I was quite impressed with the Vancouver Games. The Canadians were superb hosts and their hospitality will be hard to top. We Americans are very fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors. Congratulations Canada on a wonderful Olympics Games!

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  • 22. At 04:12am on 01 Mar 2010, takeapause wrote:

    I am from Ontario and the Games has electrified everyone I know is following every moment! And Loving It!!!!!!!!! The support for the games is amazing! Everyone at school has been wearing red and white since day one. We have been following the ups and down wishing our athletes the best and supporting them fully. I can say with great pride it was amazing to hold the Winter Olympics in Canada. It has been a great adventure.
    Good luck London in 2012

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  • 23. At 04:16am on 01 Mar 2010, Jennifer Sully wrote:

    I have greatly enjoyed watching these games. As a Canadian (from Toronto) these games have truly united the country. Today was an electrifying day as it felt like the entire nation was watching the hockey game. While it is true that there has been a heightened sense of patriotism during these games, this is an unusual phenomenon for Canadians. Regionalism is a huge issue in Canada, and this has been the first time in my life that I've really felt patriotism surge across Canada. All of this to say that I am sure a similar sense of patriotism will emerge during the London 2012 games for the Brits. Go Canada Go!!

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  • 24. At 04:50am on 01 Mar 2010, ttd wrote:

    As another Brit living in Canada, these games from a TV perspective (CTV) have been very, very good. The fact that the events were on several channels felt that you were not missing anything, and you always had a choice of concurrent sports to watch. Without doubt this has been the most followed winter games for me. My two small children have also been captivated - whether watching the moguls and the first gold medal on home soil, ski / snowboard cross, short track, curling ....and of course today's epic final game.
    InterestedForeigner - while I agree that the hockey coverage is better on CBC, would say that has been the only minor blemish on the tv front.
    Also - great coverage on this site from the BBC, how Team GB are doing, funding discussions, experiences of those visiting. Shame though that most of the video clips are only available from the UK.
    I have read a few other articles on the BBC site about what the London organizers can learn from these games, and all the best to London for 2012 and that everyone there gets into it as much as Canadians have for Vancouver 2010. Truly has been wonderful.
    Watching the closing ceremony tonight, wondering what will fill the void now it is all over...

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  • 25. At 04:58am on 01 Mar 2010, Chris Voss wrote:

    I havde come over from the UK to volunteer at Whistler on the Ladies Alpine events. I think that James Pearce has captured much of the key points of the games. I would like to add a couple mnore things. First, one of the key things highlighted by most commentators is the role that volunteers have played in making these games so successful. It is not just the friendly and positive interaction with visitors, but it is what they have done behind the scenes. At Whistler, the volunteer course crew (I was not one of them) have worked on many days from 3:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. to get the courses in shape for racing.

    Most reporters and bloggers have stayed in Vancouver, the atmosphere and enthusiasm at Whistler is just as great!

    London 2012 has a lot tolearn and a lot to live up to. First,getting the wholeof the counry behind the games, second, creating the party atmosphere, third building a committed volunteer base. Finally, I hope that the Candians will forgive our press, who have published negative stories which had little justification.

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  • 26. At 05:01am on 01 Mar 2010, Haennes wrote:

    The best thing about CTV’s hockey coverage was the absence of CBC’s Don Cherry!

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  • 27. At 05:08am on 01 Mar 2010, ThomasS2 wrote:

    Thank you to all the kind words about the Vancouver Olympics, especially from our American friends, who are being doubly gracious today since we took the Gold medal in hockey in a nail-biter of a game.

    The Olympics have received a lot of criticism from Vancouverites before they started, and so it has been interesting to see how the city, nay the country, has rallied behind them so intensely once they started. Of course it hasn't hurt that our athletes have performed so amazingly well.

    The country has been on a natural 'high' since the amazing Opening Ceremonies. We can look at each other in the face with pride and genuine enthusiasm for our home and native land.

    Vive le Canada.

    Oh, and I saw lots of red mittens just a couple of weeks ago at the Hudson's Bay store at Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island...if you had a couple of days you could sail over to the Island on a ferry (it's like a mini cruise) and check it out. We got ours from friends on the evening of the opening ceremony, and I wore mine proudly this afternoon around the neighbourhood after the hockey victory.

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  • 28. At 05:42am on 01 Mar 2010, Indy wrote:

    I live in Vancouver and have been downtown almost every day to enjoy the atmosphere this city has provided. These last 2 weeks have been the best I've ever enjoyed in this city and I hope the many people who came to Vancouver had a great time. To all the Americans who've had such great things to say about these Games I'd like to say thank you and congratulate you all on your winning medal count and for providing one of the best hockey games I've ever seen.

    Whether these are the best Games ever I don't think I can really comment, as this is the only one I've really followed, but I don't think anyone that was actually here can doubt how amazing the atmosphere was.

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  • 29. At 05:49am on 01 Mar 2010, sean moran wrote:

    I live in Oregon USA just 5 hours south of Vancouver BC. Being on the same time zone you would think we get to see things live but no. Most everything is taped for the East coast. I do however think that this Winter Olyimpics has been the best for USA viewers due to similar time zones.

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  • 30. At 06:07am on 01 Mar 2010, Suki wrote:

    As an ex-pat and a Vancouverite I have witnessed everything from the construction of the RAV line that took ages (tying up traffic - ugh) to the complaints of the Vancouverites who didn't want the Olympics knowing full well they were going to pay for this for decades afterwards (in property taxes, etc). I have also watched Winter Olympics in the past before and watched the few events I used to enjoy (skating - biased judges, etc) and got bored of.
    To witness the Olympics arriving into town via the Olympic Torch Relay (and to hold it and take pictures with it) and to see it ignite a passion and patriotism that Canada has suppressed for so long was electrifying. This is the first time in my years in Canada I have seen a country come together as one. We have our differences (as every nation) but we are a proud nation. Wish I could see it every day and maybe this is the start of a new era for Canada. The usually reserved gentle giant (land mass wise not population) has woken.
    Oh we had our glitches and tragedies (which will always be remembered). But our Torch glitch got fixed in Canadian style in the closing ceremonies (with a laugh).
    Can London learn from Vancouver, sure...but to bring the whole country together? That may be a feat in itself. London will have to bring all its cultures and differences together. And yes, London will have to ignite the passion of every Brit otherwise what’s the point it’ll just be another hum drum Olympics. Don’t be such prudes; lighten up, loosen up and just have fun. Definitely have the free events and definitely have something like our red mittens...of course it’ll be summer so skip the mitts which you can still purchase just not in the downtown vicinity. Oakridge and Metrotown had loads just last week.

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  • 31. At 06:08am on 01 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    24. At 04:50am on 01 Mar 2010, ttd wrote:

    As another Brit living in Canada, these games from a TV perspective (CTV) have been very, very good.

    InterestedForeigner - while I agree that the hockey coverage is better on CBC, would say that has been the only minor blemish on the tv front.

    Also - great coverage on this site from the BBC, how Team GB are doing, funding discussions, experiences of those visiting. Shame though that most of the video clips are only available from the UK.
    __________

    Yes, the BBC does a good job. It is a serious broadcaster that takes its public duties and responsibilities to heart. Consequently it is arguably the best news service on earth. (Hats off to Justin Webb, by the way.)

    ----------

    There is a difference between having a reporter and a camera at an event and actually covering an event competently. CTV cannot be counted upon reliably to understand this difference.

    If you think CTV did an adequate job, go back and look at the CBC coverage of previous games, of exactly the same sports. Huge difference, right?

    CTV cuts corners everywhere, and tries to jam in every last possible commercial, even if that means running the commercial while the sporting event is going on. It means cutting corners on the number of cameras used to cover hockey. It means, more or less, only covering events involving Canadians. More precisely, my actual impression is that it means only covering events featuring English-speaking Canadians, and then, if there aren't any English speakers (or hardly any), maybe we'll cover French speakers. You might not think it's true, but just watch their coverage. See how often it happens, and how much air-time is devoted to the various sports.

    Consider the determination to run an interview with the women curlers when they had just been crushingly disappointed - instead of showing the men (french speakers) from the short track skating who had just won two gold medals. They couldn't have waited until the next day to interview the curlers to permit them to regain a bit more composure? Let them get a good night's sleep, maybe? Was it necessary, in effect, to torture them on national TV? What was the point of that? It seemed like a kind of mean spirited voyeurism. No class.

    This evening, they were so determined to squeeze in yet another commercial that they missed the start of the entry of the Canadian team into the ceremony. It's so bad it's laughable.

    The corner cutting shows up all over the place in their production values. Their programming has a cheap, tinny look and feel, Brian Williams notwithstanding. There's nothing they can do about it because it reflects the corporate culture and mindset of the broadcaster. It has been this way for over thirty years.

    CBC Sports is actually more profitable (or, it has been historically). The CBC puts real effort into doing a good job because it carries the duty of being the national broadcaster. The leadership of the CBC take the national mandate of the CBC very seriously. It is embedded in their beliefs, and in their corporate culture. This goes right back to the days of Matthew Halton reporting from Ortona at Christmas 1943. If that is your corporate heritage, you're darn right you're going to take the national mandate seriously.

    So the look and feel of CBC programming is completely different. They don't cut corners. They do the job properly. They put a level of care and attention into their work, so it has a polish and a feel of quality that is absent from CTV. And they have a level of creativity that is truly admirable. HNIC is a leader and an innovator in sports programming.

    By contrast, CTV has the artistic creativity of a stack of paper towels. Utterly pedestrian. The programming is a bare-bones utilitarian peg-board for commercials, nothing more. Let's see: how little programming we can sandwich between another two dozen commercials?

    When CBC carries hockey, they don't think constantly of milking it for every last possible advertising dollar, while cutting costs to the bone. No, they think about the importance of the game in our culture and therefore the importance of doing a good job that speaks to what Canadians care about. And because they produce a good product, they also get much better advertising.

    In microcosym, think about Ron McLean and the HNIC crew. Now think about the CTV crew for the Hockey today. There's no comparison, is there? No, not even close.

    That difference runs through the two organizations from top to bottom, and it has done for as long as I can remember.

    ... Which is why when Canada's national teams compete, it is important to put the broadcast in the hands of an organization that understands the national mandate. You are not merely selling cars, beer, soft drinks, hamburgers and banking services. You are showing Canada's athletes representing their country. These athletes are our Chariots of Fire. It is transcendent. Do it with respect. Put your duty to your country ahead of yourself and your narrow commercial interests.

    CTV just does not get this. At all.

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  • 32. At 06:27am on 01 Mar 2010, EggGirl8 wrote:

    As a television viewer, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver was the best ever! I've never seen another Olympic Game as good as this one. It was the people in Vancouver and Whistler that made the difference. Vancouver has united the whole Canada in this Games. It was amazing to see the patriotism of Canadians. The Vancouver Games was very inspirational. Good job and Well Done Vancouver.... and Canada! Canada is a great country! It was a good choice to have Vancouver host the 2010 Winter Olympics! Bravo!

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  • 33. At 07:23am on 01 Mar 2010, Wayne C from Canada wrote:

    I'm a Canadian in Ontario and I thought the Games were great... and being Canadian, one of the best things about the Games is that so many foreign visitors really enjoyed themselves :-)

    as for the CTV debate, I'm on the side that it was not good... the CBC's coverage was usually at the very least very good... some of the CTV work was down right embarrassing, e.g. Jamie Campbell should be working at a college TV station, not awkwardly using lingo he apparently picked up off the internet or cheerleading for Canadian athletes on a national network... I thought Vic Rauter, Ray Turnbull and Linda Moore were great on curling -- whenever I've seen them covering other competitions I've always liked their work, fair, unbiased and willing to criticize the home rink if they think an error was made... HNiC used to be excellent but the quality has definitely dropped in recent years, and as bad as Chris Cuthbert was, Bob Cole would have been worse, much worse... too bad Jim Hughson couldn't have been loaned to CTV for the Games... Bob McKenzie on the panel was very good, though, Nick Kypreos not so much...

    whether it's because the CBC is far more experienced covering a major event like the Olympics and it's CTV's first attempt, or the CBC is more 'establishment' while CTV and its cable partners skew to a younger, X-Games type audience, or CTV didn't have the financial resources to do a better job, the end result was disappointing...

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  • 34. At 07:40am on 01 Mar 2010, JollyCanuck wrote:

    I have watched more sports in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 10 years. If the quality was lacking, I didn't notice. When people do the best they can - win or lose - they pull you in.

    And they pulled me in.

    I am looking forward to watching London 2012 and seeing London Pride kick in. The beer or the song.

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  • 35. At 07:43am on 01 Mar 2010, CMJohnson wrote:

    As an English ex pat who has been living in Vancouver since before we won the bid to host the games. I must say that i am very proud of Vancouver and of Canada after this wonderful winter olympics.

    I have been checking in with this BBC website every now and then to see how the Brits are doing and to gauge reaction to the event itself. I guess this article explains that for me.

    I'm not a huge sports fan, and i was on the fence regarding whether hosting these games was a good idea. But i still found myself rooting for the home team.

    What would make me even more proud would be to know that all the visitors to Vancouver would leave thinking that the City (and Canada)and the people who populate it are just fantastic and leave a long lasting sense of warmth and good spirits in everyone. I wouldn't be suprised if that was achieved.

    Damn i've become far to west coast for my own good.

    My advice to London is to keep the cynical, tabloid journalism on a short leash. Man that s*&t did England's reputation no good and was frankly embarrassing. As a nation you guys NEED to loosen up. The national pastime for turning everything into a media backlash frenzy before it actual happens while acting unaffected will not help your cause one iota. And don`t try and tell me i`m wrong the Brits will win gold in pi**taking, but that ain't the best way to bring a nation together. And that's the element of the Vancouver games that you wont the most.

    London, Good luck i`ll be thinking of you, you smelly old girl.

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  • 36. At 07:44am on 01 Mar 2010, John of Burgundy wrote:

    Sorry but I have to take issue with those people who said that the BBC's coverage was great. Living in France I was able to watch the first few and last few days coverage on French terrestrial TV. A minimum of 8 hours live coverage per day plus two one hour "magazine" programmes. All sports covered (even, surprisingly, those in which France had no competitors) and generally with knowledgable commentators. The middle few days I was forced to search for fragmented coverage of approximately 4-5 hours per day total, mainly BBC2 between 2300 - 0300. The production and commentary/comments were uniformly excellent (something French TV could benefit from, commentary doesn't exist here, just talking and occasionally referring to the match) but whilst the quality was first rate, the quantity was poor. Disappointing

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  • 37. At 07:49am on 01 Mar 2010, StylinRed wrote:

    Im from and in Vancouver, I just have to thank all the visitors.. we really enjoyed your company and hoped we made your stay a welcome one. It's sad to see the Olympics end so soon but hopefully you'll have enjoyed your stay enough to visit us again.

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  • 38. At 08:00am on 01 Mar 2010, transatlantic wrote:

    Wonderful, generally thoughtful coverage from the BBC. As a Canadian living in the UK I enjoyed the way the commentators seemed to give extra attention to Canadian athletes when Brits weren't in the running.

    I agree that the CTV camera work seemed a bit wonky during hockey.

    Vancouver looked very good, notwithstanding the fog and rain.

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  • 39. At 08:01am on 01 Mar 2010, mikewarsaw wrote:

    The best Olympic Winter Games I have ever experienced/watched were those at Lillehammer in Norway. The atmosphere was everything it should be, in a winter sports resort with all the necessary infrastructure facilities. Vancouver, probably for political reasons, was a poor choice of venue. Like Turin. If all the events had taken place at Whistler, then it would have been a different matter.

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  • 40. At 08:08am on 01 Mar 2010, Brian J wrote:

    Great summary, James.

    Living here, I'll remember the Games for being an incredible spectator experience. You won't find any article that sums up how much fun the crowds have made EVERY event. And I mean from the time you step out of your front door, to the raucous bus/train ride downtown, (cue spontaneous singing of "Oh Canada"), the event itself and the packed bar for celebratory drinks. On the way home, (if you can make it through the crowds in the streets) the Smurfs, as the Olympic volunteers have been nicknamed and the police would invariably say "hello, have a safe ride home" or similar. Unbelievable.

    There were mistakes and a terrible tragedy. The weather wasn't exactly perfect. But the collective mass of ordinary people from all over the World (not just Canadians) turned things around. THEY showed what the Olympics can and should be: the athletes can only have been inspired by their support.

    If London can make the 2012 Games half as fun as these, what a party that will be.



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  • 41. At 08:12am on 01 Mar 2010, Helge Norway wrote:

    Hi. Having read that the author claims the Vancouver Games the" best ever" there is eveidence in abundance to the contrary: When Norway hosted the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994 the (then( IOC-president Juan A. Samaranch stated:" This has been the best Winter Games ever!"
    Athletes all mover the media, media all over the world and spectators claim that this statement still stands. There were NO problems with TV-technology, electronic systems, graphics, weather(12 days of constant sunshine)and transport.No athletes died, either. Nagano,Torino and Salt Lake afterwards all had their challenges.There was even a new record, that still stands, concerning attendances.
    When commenting on current events it is always useful to go a BIT BACKWARDS IN HISTORY IN ORDER TO HAVE COMPARISON IN ORDER. This time this was not the case.

    Regards from Helge in Oslo.

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  • 42. At 08:37am on 01 Mar 2010, Sven wrote:

    There were too many mistakes, both in TV coverage and in the execution for these to count as the best winter games ever. Apart from the technical blunders at the opening of the games, some other examples are the confusing format initially chosen for the TV coverage of biathlon, the biathletes were in two events given wrong starting sequence by the organisers, the delayed giving of points in skijumping, which also suffered from amateurish TV coverage. At the end of the games, the TV coverage even managed to mix up names and nationalities of 1st and 3rd place of the 50km crosscountry race. So if we use criteria other than the reporters feelgood-factor, these games cannot be rated as the best.

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  • 43. At 08:54am on 01 Mar 2010, Alan wrote:

    No sporting event is ever worth the cost of a life and consideration will have to be given to whether the danger of events such as Luge just has to be accepted as an inherant risk. That tragic accident cannot be forgotton no matter how great the rest of the games were.

    And they were a games that on TV created more of a spectical than I can ever remember from previous games. We know in the UK that we won't win many medals and it did make it more special that we were cheering on Canada and do admit to some pleasure seeing Canada win over their BIG neighbour in so many events, espeically the Ice Hockey. Let's hope in UK in 2 years time we can match the Canadian people for their enthusiasm and apparant lack of cynisism - it's a one in a lifetime chance for most people to see the games happen on their doorstep! I just hope its possible to get a ticket or two!

    Congratulations Canada - it probably was the best ever Winter Olympics.

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  • 44. At 09:10am on 01 Mar 2010, Geordie_Expat wrote:

    You mention in your Profile that you believe that you "have one of the best jobs in the business". Do you per chance off internships? Or even better Graduate Schemes?

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  • 45. At 09:11am on 01 Mar 2010, David wrote:

    It seemed to be a good games, and I know Vancouver is a great city. However I thought the events at Cypress mountain were spoilt by the weather and at times the conditions were very unfair to the athletes who had trained for the olympics. Often saw on the television the crowds standing or sitting in the pouring rain. With hindsight it was a mistake to hold events there, I know it's close to Vancouver, but would have been more sensible to hold the events at Whistler where the conditions were better.
    The bobsleigh track was as we all know badly designed, and lead to the death of a competitor. This was unforgiveable, people seemed to have been determined to have the fastest track ever, although to be fair I suspect ever games has wanted their track to be better and faster than the last one.

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  • 46. At 09:22am on 01 Mar 2010, grahamar2 wrote:


    In my opinion, no Event can be considered "the best" when there has been a death of an athelete. We should not forget this.

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  • 47. At 09:56am on 01 Mar 2010, vickymeldrew wrote:

    Thank you Vancouver for providing such an exciting Winter Games. The warmth of the Canadian people has certainly made my 'heart glow'. The BBC coverage has been fabulous with knowledgeable experts to explain the events. Graham Bell in particular has been great with his enthusiasm being so infectious. We are so fortunate to have the BBC and no adverts!
    I hope we will be able to see some of the Paralympics now...........

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  • 48. At 09:58am on 01 Mar 2010, profoundsparky wrote:

    Best Olympics ever? Depends on your perspective, which unless you're actually there is largely influenced by the media. I was fortunate enough to be in Canada when the games started, and the atmosphere was fantastic, albeit there were some initial problems and the tragic death of a competitor, all of which were acknowledged by the Canadian media.
    I was very surprised on my return to the UK to see the 'worst-ever games' type coverage in the national press. It was completely at odds with what i'd seen elsewhere, and not representative of how the games were being perceived by both natives and visitors in Canada. The British press have a well-known reputation for negative reporting and i believe they lived up to it in this instance, but to what end?

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  • 49. At 10:00am on 01 Mar 2010, decoFan wrote:

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

  • 50. At 10:05am on 01 Mar 2010, Chris D wrote:

    Let me just say: Kerrin Lee Gartner was phenomenal. She did so well as a commentator - perhaps not the #1 hockey pundit, but wow, she was such a great add for the BBC. Well done Kerrin, and well done for recruiting her for the games.

    What a feel-good games - exactly what we needed. London, let's dig down and find that camaraderie and solidarity to show everyone how world-class this place really is...

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  • 51. At 10:07am on 01 Mar 2010, millie wrote:

    We’re Vancouverites transplanted to Merseyside and are very grateful to the BBC for its coverage. Thank you for:

    -The Red Button. We’ve watched every event we wanted to, in its entirety. On the down-side, our businesses have probably suffered a little thanks to the hours of viewing potential.
    - The commentators – especially Graham Bell, Kerrin Lee Gartner, Brent Pope and Rhona Johnson – all good broadcasters with an athlete’s perspective. And the Canadian voices made us feel that we weren’t so very far from home.
    - The bloggers. I’m a cynic at heart but have felt the warmth along with the analysis. It’s always good to see your hometown through the eyes of an outsider.

    Until last night, the most momentous hockey game in Canadian history was against the Russians in 1972. I watched it in my primary school library and distinctly remember one very large teacher leaping from her chair when Paul Henderson scored the winning goal.

    Last night we watched the game live in our front room in the UK while texting and shouting down the phone to our adult kids in 2 different restaurants Vancouver. In between periods there was a flurry of banter with American friends on facebook. Thanks to the BBC for making that global game a possibility.

    I hope you capitalise on digitalisation to make London 2012 an event that the whole country can feel a part of.

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  • 52. At 10:10am on 01 Mar 2010, aryel wrote:

    I would like to express all my satisfaction to BBC for the excellent broadcasting of these winter olympics: they were the best ever at least from this point of view. Thank you very much for the great job!

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  • 53. At 10:11am on 01 Mar 2010, fatClyde wrote:

    BBC TV coverage was awful.
    Viewers were treated like children. They felt that every event needed constant explanation.
    Sickly music/video interludes.

    Oh, and how many commentators were there for the BBC ? And did nobody at the BBC question their expenses ? Did the viewing public pay for all the £600 jackets etc ?

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  • 54. At 10:14am on 01 Mar 2010, D Bryan wrote:

    One very important thing you are forgetting here buddy. Allot of these Winter Sports are actually Canada's #1 supporter sports. So they are looking forward to the Ice Hockey gold medal finals for 4 years, in the same way a Brit or an Italian would look forward to the Football World Cup final on home soil! Similar with the Ice skating and alpine events.

    In London no matter how hard we try there is NO WAY everyone is going to get as excited about the Olympic Football final that way (Because of no team GB and "star" restrictions) or even the swimming where we have done well recently, just because between Olympics no-one cares! I bet 90% of Brits have no clue what any of our Gold medal winners from Beijing have been doing for the past 2 years! This is not helped by the fact we don't have any bonafide track and field stars anymore! But I GUARANTEE 90% of Canadians will be tuning in week in week out to watch Sydney Cosbey & co in the NHL week in week out.

    It is not apples for apples and you are silly to try to make a comparison.

    Now to your other point regarding the TV viewing. It depends where you are. I live in Hong Kong and they just don't care (Again because they have no-one playing/doing any of the sports here) so it was not on at all, apart from a 5 min flash of ice skating on the news.. However I did spend 10 days down in Australia and the Sport mad Aussies were loving it (regardless of having minimal successful involvement) and had 3 channels dedicated to it. It was brilliant when they won the Halfpipe gold and in fairness they got behind Amy in the Skeleton too. The random weather and clearly mental icy slopes made the Skiing very un-predictable and exciting. For me it was the best Olympics I have seen since LA 84 with Daley & Seb. It is a shame those guys or the likes are not around to inspire the nation for 2012.

    London will be good, but far more reserved and low key. I am picturing a big Wimbledon type atmosphere.

    Pimms anyone?


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  • 55. At 10:15am on 01 Mar 2010, peterkirk1 wrote:

    Although BBC coverage was, as usual, very good, I have to say that poor old Bob Ballard just doesn't cut the mustard as an ice hockey commentator and so I watched the gold medal game on Eurosport which had Paul Romanuk doing the play by play. He is a Canadian broadcaster, now living in the UK, who used to call NHL and international games for TSN in Canada - he was excellent.

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  • 56. At 10:16am on 01 Mar 2010, James Skinner wrote:

    Vancouver deserved for these Games to be a success. I was living in Vancouver for a year on an international exchange programme at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2003/4 - that was 7 years ago and not long after Vancouver had gone from 'Candidate City' to receiving the 'Bid'. Already then, you could feel the enthusiasm for the Olympics - people of all ages, races, cultures & degrees of wealth were all united in their support for what was coming to their city. Already then, key decisions were being taken - infrastructure was being laid, with the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler being re-designed and widened to accomodate the increased volume in traffic - but more than anything it was the feel-good glow to the city with Canadians so proud that they had been chosen to host the Games. This is why it seemed so cruel that their Games got off to the worst possible start with the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili. However, the fact that this was overcome and by the end of 17 days, everyone was discussing these Games as being in the category 'Best Ever' shows that hard work does pay off in life with Vancouver getting exactly the Games that they had strived for and dreamt of all those years ago.

    As someone who rates Vancouver as the nicest city in the world to live in. I only hope the Games haven't changed Vancouver - it was already perfect before. I don't think it will - it might just be that the secret gem of the world is no longer quite so secret.

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  • 57. At 10:18am on 01 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    Unfortunately I was n't able to get to Vancouver, however I did follow the games on the BBC and enjoyed them thoroughly. The coverage was excellent and I would agree with everyone that the atmosphere in the city looked fantastic.

    Conversely I was in Beijing for the 2008 games and was hugely disappointed. Whilst I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to the athletics which was fantastic (the 'birds nest' was even more impressive than it looked on television) the atmosphere outside the Olympic village was none existent. It is no exaggeration to say that you would have had no idea that the worlds biggest sporting event was even happening in the city. The problem stemmed from the fact that the Chinese State do not allow any sort of congregation in public places, there were therefore no big screens or indeed any public events what so ever in the city. The proof that the impression of a 'People's Games' was nothing but a charade culminated with the closing ceremony and the 'largest firework display in history' in Tiananmen Square. No doubt it looked magnificent on television but the sad truth is that nobody was allowed anywhere near the square in reality, and the Chinese people had no choice but to sit and watch it on television, the same as everybody else. It was a tragic waste and in my opinion added weight to the argument that the games should have never been rewarded to a totalitarian state in the first instance.

    I have no doubt that Vancouver could not have been more different, with the local population treating the games as a 2 week long, city wide, open invite, international party, as they should. I do hope that London can follow their fine example, and learn the lessons from Beijing.

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  • 58. At 10:18am on 01 Mar 2010, Malenko wrote:

    Firstly, congrats to Canada for selling the Winter games, which given the limited number of events and even more limited number of nations able to challenge for medals, is a more demanding sell than the summer games. However, the comments from the UK olympic organisers about learning more from Vancouver than Beijing exhibit if not blind prejudice, then certainly a lack of understanding about the differences between east and western cultures, especially acute from a british perspective given Canadians still bow the Queen. The aims of the two games were also very different. Beijing was about showing the west and world they were able to put on a modern games, and , where possible, accomodate the media scrutiny that would be trained on them unlike any games since Moscow. Canada was never under that type of pressure. If China had allowed the tide of nationalism to wash over the games in a similar way, they would have been crucified by the international media, so in that sense it is even more unfair to make comparisons.

    Can London learn much from Vancouver? Well perhaps making sure that all the areas are safe for the athletes in advance would be good idea. Keeping the red tops newspapers on a short leash, as suggested above, would be a commendable, if unlikely succeed goal. London has to match to Vancouver interms of spectator access and atmosphere, but given that the international spotlight won't shine as bright on London as Beijing, the prospects are good that London will been seen by the Western-philes at the IOC, BBC and US TV networks, the most important people to impress. If that is, they manage to avoid a Munich esc farce.

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  • 59. At 10:19am on 01 Mar 2010, Frank C wrote:

    We watched hours of the events on Eurosport - excellent live coverage of a wide range of events including the long distance skiing - professional and knowledgeable presentations.

    As to the atmosphere at London 2012 I would anticipate plenty of flags, frienship, and good natured patriotism around as long as the PC brigade don't stick their oars in...

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  • 60. At 10:20am on 01 Mar 2010, Tim Scott wrote:

    My wife and I said when we were skiing in Italy whilst Turin 2006 was on that we must go to the Vancouver games this year. 4 years on we did just that and it was the best decision we have ever made - apart from getting married!!
    After our first taste of the Olympic experience all we can say is that London has a huge amount to live up to - on a number of counts:
    1) The warmth shown to us as visitors
    2) The energetic but unintimidating way in which the Canadians embraced the event and expressed their patriotic loyalty - and the partying associated!
    3) The wonderful assistance provided by the myriad of blue-coated volunteers to help us get the best out of the events
    4) The ease of transport to and from the events
    The only criticism we had was that the local CTV TV coverage was way too biased towards the Canadians and really lacked a consistent focus. I like to think that the BBC is much better balanced in terms of the attention given to all competitors (whilst still flying the GB flag). However, having just watched the ice hockey gold medal game covered by the BBC, I think they still have a lot to learn from CTV about how to bring over the excitement of some sports!!
    Overall, I think James Pearce's blog has pretty much hit the nail on the head. So well done Vancouver and thank you Canada for a great experience!

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  • 61. At 10:34am on 01 Mar 2010, Clive Sinclair wrote:

    Over budget, overpriced. Death of a competitor. Limited practising for all but Canadian teams at certain events. Lack of snow, then too much.......

    Sounds a bit like bankers - lot's of failings, but we still think they are doing a great job??

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  • 62. At 10:36am on 01 Mar 2010, hadrian1v wrote:

    Not being a winter games fan, I actually saw very little of the games. However, many comments on this blog suggest that one reason for their success was the overwhelming support of the local and national population, adding to the general party atmosphere. This is where i'm sure London is going to fail badly. I live in London and I don't know a single Londoner who is looking forward to the London games. I know a few outside London who think it's a good thing. I wouldn't be surprised if most Londoners think, like me, that it's a colossal waste of taxpayers money with no lasting legacy or benefit to London. Money is already being diverted from worthy local arts and sporting activity to pay for it. I'm out of here when it happens !

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  • 63. At 10:38am on 01 Mar 2010, Rich Barber wrote:

    Can we have the Winter Olympics in London instead of the Summer ones? It seems much more fun!

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  • 64. At 10:45am on 01 Mar 2010, Nigel wrote:

    What Olympic Games? As someone with a television, but an avid reader of newspapers and listener to BBC Radio, the games were hardly noticeable.

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  • 65. At 10:48am on 01 Mar 2010, Zorba Eisenhower wrote:

    No they were not good. As with all sports, they were boring, boring, boring.

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  • 66. At 10:50am on 01 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    I would agree that the Beijing games were all about proving that China was capable of hosting a modern games. They weren't.

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  • 67. At 10:56am on 01 Mar 2010, Wyn Pugh wrote:

    Well done Vancouver! Well done Canada! Truly great games.

    Well done BBC! Well done for the BBC "Red Button Coverage"!
    Well done commentators & a really well done for Clare Balding - truly great anchor work!

    Thank you all!

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  • 68. At 10:59am on 01 Mar 2010, tennisfan wrote:

    The Vancouver Games have brilliant to watch. The BBC coverage has been great, well done.
    I feel that the Winter Games are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and it is about time that the winter olympians are given the investment they deserve. They have the right to go for Olympic Gold as much as the summer olympians do, but the investment between the funding for the summer athletes and winter athletes is hugely unbalanced. I hope Amy Williams fantastic achievement will spur the government on to invest more money into these athletes.
    As for the Vancouver games themselves - the venues were fantastic, the sports were great, just as exciting as the summer sports, but with more risk, fantastic viewing.
    Well done BBC, well done Vancouver, well done Amy Williams, now come one Olympic funders start investing in the winter athletes.

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  • 69. At 11:01am on 01 Mar 2010, BulletMonkey wrote:

    The first Winter Games I've actually watched with any consistency, and I'm already looking forward to the next ones. I still prefer the Summer Games, but this was excellent. My favourite moments were Canada's victories in the mens' moguls, curling, and of course ice hockey. I didn't see Amy Williams's moment of glory live, otherwise I'd have possibly had that somewhere, but that didn't seem as special because it was only us who really embraced it. All of Canada's moments were met with such genuine joy by the nation that it made each of them spectacular in their own right.

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  • 70. At 11:07am on 01 Mar 2010, graeme poole wrote:

    at the risk of going against the majority...i thought from a viewer (bbc) point of view it was distinctly average. i realise its a completely different experience compared to actually being there but the quality of commentary was poor compared to the bbc's normal high standard. why is steve cram commentating on curling? sue barker is a decent presenter but not commentator. bob ballard is ok at reading the sports news but was his hockey commentary fitting for what i appreciate is a monster of a hockey final? it was all just a bit too annoying when you look at the quality of commentator that the bbc have both on tv and radio.
    the two impressions i am left with are one, the canadians manipulated the practice sessions to produce a false medals table especially luge/bobsleigh and two, most people have commented on the patriotism of the canadians but did anyone else find it a bit sickly sweet and annoying.
    speaking to others the time difference (i know it cant be helped) has made many only catch a few half hours of highlights and because of this these games wont live long in the memory.
    there's previous for people making a dramatic comment within days or hours of a major competition when they are still wrapped up in the euphoria and when they sit down and reflect they maybe come to a more logical decision.
    hey maybe i should get out more and judging by the previous 60 odd comments i appear to be in a minority of about two but i feel the popularity and multi-culturism of london will prove to be a huge and exciting factor
    sorry!!

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  • 71. At 11:09am on 01 Mar 2010, fairplayer wrote:

    I don't think it is appropriate to make such a finite comparison between such a diverse range of countries that have held the winter olympics and their people. What I can say is that the Canadian winter olympics have been excellent abd the Canadians, competitors, organisers and those at the 'coal face' should be feeling very proud today about the exceptional achievments. Unquestionably, the wonderful atmosphere was in part due to the Canadian's relentless quest for medals (and achieved a record 14 golds) but the specatators never forgot those with little spectator support, urging them on to the finish line.
    So, I think these games were special, because the Canadian people are special and it was that that really set the scene for a wonderful tournament. Their sportsmen and women were not passive, they fought hard for everything they won and they won a lot.
    Today Canada, wake up and be proud of your achievments on the track and the planning, building and infrastructure put in place for the games to take place. I salute you, most sincerely.
    Finally, the BBC coverage was generally excellent as you would expect. But, there needs to be 'sould searching' into which professional anchorment/women went to cover the Games and which sports personalities/professional sportsmen/women also went It was the latter category that let you down badly and made you look unprofessional and amateur. Do not assume that a medal winner in a track or rowing event, is going to be able to commentate on games 'on ice'. It doesn't work unless they are really clued up on the sport being covered. The solution for me was to watch some games with the sound turned off. This is nothing to do with Canada, although it is very much part of the enjoyment of the Winter games experience and is everything to do with the BBC.

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  • 72. At 11:11am on 01 Mar 2010, Name wrote:

    I don't know if they were the best ever, but they definitely had a feel of having been organized for the good of sport and not just to make money.

    I live in France and the TV feed we got here was really excellent, I thought the camera coverage was very good indeed. I think France TV covered every single event, the coverage went on way into the early hours of the morning.

    My only criticism would be reserved for the judges of the combined nordic who insisted on sending down the last 5 jumpers in ridiculous weather conditions, thus spoiling the competition. However, that's life.

    A special mention and "well done" to Jez, "Bronzetto", Bode Miller and the Canadian hockey team. Wish I'd been there!

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  • 73. At 11:18am on 01 Mar 2010, tennisfan wrote:

    In response to hadrian1v comment about the london games being a waste of taxpayers money, and londoners not looking forward to the games - it is this pessimistic attitude that will spell disaster for the London 2012 Games and make them a disaster.
    Imagine being an athlete, you dream of winning Olympic Gold, you can do this in front of your own home crowd - just imagine that feeling - a dream come true for those athletes - I do not see how providing that opportunity for all our athletes, to let their dreams come true, is a waste of money, of course it isn't.
    In an economic downturn builders are being made redundant up and down the country, claiming benefits from the tax payers - yet in a little corner of London, builders are being kept out of unemployment to build new venues, as well as the many other jobs that will be created - creating jobs, is that a waste of tax money?
    An area of London that was completely run down, being regenerated and given a new lease of life - not a waste of tax money.
    Many people like me dream of attending a sporting event so spectacular as the Olympics - having the opportunity to do that in my own country is fantastic - so again not a waste of my money.
    If hadrian1v looked at all the good work that the Organising Committee is doing on its legacy work, and the work it is doing on culture celebrations, and the opportunities it is opening up for cultural, arts and third sector organisation then perhaps they would realise it isn't a waste of tax payers money - these Games aren't just about running a sporting event in a little corner of London for two weeks, there are celebrations happening up and down the country.
    This negative attitude that people have in this country is so typical. If my tax payers money can be spent on making one persons dream come true then that isn't a waste of my money.
    And in return that person gives back to the community. The amount of work that athletes like Kelly Holmes and Steve Redgrave do with schools, working at grassroots level is inspirational. So we paid for their dreams to come true, and in return they are feeding back to the community, a fantastic use of my money.
    So come on UK, get behind these games, support them, go see them, enter the atmosphere, it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see our athletes competing for our country to make their dreams come true in front of their home crowd.

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  • 74. At 11:18am on 01 Mar 2010, highthief wrote:

    From my perspective, here in Canada, the Games have been fantastic. Of course, they began with tragedy, and that can't be forgotten, but the rest of the experience has been magic - the success of the home nation, the intensity of the competition, the joie de vivre found on the streets of Vancouver and Whistler, the great international visitors - it was all good.

    One thing I found interesting was that originally, having the skiing venue at Whistler was considered a drawback to Vancouver getting the Games as Whistler is a couple of hours drive away. But it turned out to be a strength, IMO - there were two, compact parties that went on each day, one in Whistler and one in downtown Vancouver. They each were a little different from one another and gave the fans attending a different feel and experience.

    Great job to Vanoc and here's hoping London will be as well received in England as these Games have been here.

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  • 75. At 11:21am on 01 Mar 2010, houseofcyn2 wrote:

    No matter how good, no Games can be described as 'The Best' when a competitor dies.

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  • 76. At 11:52am on 01 Mar 2010, JoDan wrote:

    Best Winter Games ever - no, not even close. 3 of the last 4 games were much better than this in terms of overall Organisation.

    Well done to Canadians for embracing the Games and the spectator experience, this has stood out.

    However, many working on the games have echoed the problems in the Organising with issues over transportation, officials and poorly practiced parts of certain events.

    As for the coverage, I have been in Canada so cannot comment personally on the BBC coverage. However, friends in the UK tell me the BBC has show very few events live except on the red button and Eurosport has been better coverage by far.

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  • 77. At 11:52am on 01 Mar 2010, soul n blues wrote:

    These were wonderful Olympic Games, even from here at home you could feel the warmth and pleasure of the Canadian people. There seemed to be among all competitors a really sporting spirit that is what the Games are all about,the schedule was perfectly set and every day provided superb entertainment.This was in every sense a great Games only ruined by the BBC commentator who during the closing ceremony talked all over Neil Young's 'Long May They Run' as the flame went down.This ruined a very special moment,and again displays that commentators don't know when to just let events unravel without getting more pointless comments in.
    To Canada, thank you for providing a real picture of what sport is really all about,the joy of taking part,of great performance,and a sporting event that will forever live in the memory as a sporting treasure, may they soon return to this wonderful country.

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  • 78. At 11:53am on 01 Mar 2010, SteveTheB wrote:

    What an excellent Winter Olympics - I love Vancouver anyway, but the whole event really brought through the human side to this great sporting occasion. Hopefully London will pick up some valuable lessons about making everyone feel welcome in 2012.

    Great coverage from the BBC, and a particular cheer for Kerrin Lee-Gartner, whose comments brought valuable insight as both a former competitor and a BC native.

    London will have to build a new podium for 2012, as the Canadians won't want to let this one out of the country...

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  • 79. At 12:03pm on 01 Mar 2010, PShah wrote:

    BBC - I loved your coverage. The commentary and coverage of all the sports on TV, and online were great - this is the first time i felt i could follow the Games properly. I wish the UK papers covered them as well as you have - it's been disappointing to not have headlines on the back pages.

    These Games have been phenomenal! I stayed up many nights watching the coverage on TV, even if it meant i was struggling to stay awake at work! I wish i could have been there to soak in the atmosphere in person. The enthusiasm Canadians had for hosting these Games was infectious and it was because the BBC showed so many sports and because i have Freeview, and a good broadband connection, that i was able to follow each sport, and understand the Games properly.

    Your coverage and the Canadian spirit of the Games that i've felt here in London has made me feel like taking up a winter sport! Perhaps that's what Olympic competitors and new events, like ski-cross, will do for youngsters - give them something to aim for and inspire them to take up a sport they otherwise might not have.

    Well done to the BBC for covering a great Games! And congratulations to Canada for hosting them! I hope they haven't cost you too much and that the Olympic spirit lives on for you for a long time.

    I'll have to find something to do with my evenings now!

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  • 80. At 12:07pm on 01 Mar 2010, Ash wrote:

    I think the negative comments in the UK stem from the excessively chauvinistic 'own the podium' idea. The event is supposed to be about nations coming together and the items about Canada hogging the practice time and being so nakedly determined to win at all costs left a nasty taste in the mouth.
    Of course this also applies to the UK where we forget to celebrate the achievements of all our athletes who took part, not just our (superb) medal winner.

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  • 81. At 12:08pm on 01 Mar 2010, MagpieRH wrote:

    In answer to your question about whether flags will be flying in every shop in 2012, the answer is almost certainly no. If we can't have flags on our National day (St George's Day) for fear of offending our multi-cultural society why would a sporting event be any different?
    I'm not saying this is right, in fact I personally think it's ridiculous - is anyone really offended by the display of a flag? Any other nationals are welcome to do the same and I don't think most people would even think anything of it - but it's the way we are in this country - afraid of doing anything that might potentially, possibly cause a slight reaction from someone, somewhere at some point in time.

    As for was it the best Winter Olympics? For me, no. The only event I was actually captivated by was the final event of the whole competition - the men's ice hockey final. The women's had similar levels of skill but was played at a slower pace and why take out the best part of ice hockey in body-checking?! If we're honest, everyone loves the big hits and the fights that sometimes result and these are totally absent from the women's game. It takes away from the sport. The rest of the Games, I watched 10 minutes of a handful of events then got bored, so there is no way I could class this as 'the best'.

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  • 82. At 12:09pm on 01 Mar 2010, start_of_an_era wrote:

    It sounds like Vancover created a great atmosphere, and the challenge will be for London to do the same. I was at the summer Olympics in Athens in 2004, another Games which had attracted its share of negative publicity in the UK press, and the atmosphere in the centre of the city was unlike any I'd ever experienced. People from all round the world, strolling, mingling, chatting up until four in the morning - and from an English point of view, what made it so "refreshingly" different (if you'll excuse the pun) was the total lack of drunkeness. I hesitate to use the phrase "melting pot", but that's exactly what it was like, and having previously been 100% cynical about the Games being held in London, I emerged from the experience convinced it will be the best thing to ever happen to it. It is like all the very best parts of humanity invading your city for three weeks!

    My only concern is that London is just too big a city to have a central focus point for all the visitors that will descend - but other than that, I think it will be a massive force for good. Prepare to be entranced!

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  • 83. At 12:17pm on 01 Mar 2010, Kisherwood wrote:

    Was this the best Winter Games, ever? Without question - yes. I also have to praise the quality of the coverage from the BBC. Despite the monumental time difference, the quality of the interactive coverage meant this problem was largely redundant. Having captured no gold medals at previous Canadian games, Summer and Winter, the stage was set for the fairytale games and it delivered culminating with the Hockey gold last night. Brilliant spectacle which combined the modern sports, with the traditional events and it didn't feel disjointed at all. I'm sad it's over and just hope it's a similar experience in 4 years time. London can learn a lot from these games beset with problems, criticism, tragedy but still came out as a wonderful couple of weeks.

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  • 84. At 12:31pm on 01 Mar 2010, Jacques Bouvier wrote:

    Well done Vancouver! Well done Canada!

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  • 85. At 12:46pm on 01 Mar 2010, Tim wrote:

    For me these will always be the Games where a young man died because Canada tried to gain an unfair advantage in the bobsleigh.

    Everything else seems fairly irrelevant.

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  • 86. At 12:52pm on 01 Mar 2010, GM14 wrote:

    I sadly agree that it is difficult to say they were the best games, because of Kumaritashvili's tragic death. Nonetheless, the like the Canadian Joannie Rochette, they overcame tragedy admirably.

    The criticisms seem little more than vague rumors. Despite hours of lost sleep following these games, I cannot see any group of people (athletes or spectators) who have laid out a specific complaint. Even the lugers, who may have cause to complain, seem to be defending their difficult track. There aren't even the usual doping controversies (so far). The only concrete problems are nit-picky (e.g., a column that didn't rise, a fence that had to be built around the cauldron) and pale in comparision to the important facets of the games (e.g., the athlete and spectator experience). So, unless the grumps out there can substantiate the vague claims they make, they should keep quiet and let the rest of us get on with enjoying the achievement.

    Great red button coverage BBC! It was great being able to skip between different events.

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  • 87. At 12:59pm on 01 Mar 2010, GonnaeNoDaeThat wrote:

    I enjoyed the games, they were entertaining to watch, but best ever seems to be a bit over the top, they are all the best ever really. I thought the Canadian "Own the Podium" was a bit distasteful, where they wouldnt allow foreign athletes to train on the olympic areas but Canadians got lots of time, not cheating but not sporting either. But the Hockey team deserved their win last night....well done.







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  • 88. At 1:07pm on 01 Mar 2010, Luca wrote:

    As is the case with anything new...be it a film or an album, the hype always gets in the way of rational thinking, leading to the fact that the latest is always the best. And yes, these Olympics have been fantastic, but to call them the best ever is just a way to stir a debate, not really a valid statement worth considering.

    Let's just say these Olympics have been great for Canada as a nation. This we can all agree on; and hopefully the same will apply for London in 2 years time.

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  • 89. At 1:17pm on 01 Mar 2010, paul simms wrote:

    a super winter games after the tragic start like others i was worried but the Canadians passion for the games was unreal for me the new events were a massive success for me its the best due to the brilliant bbc coverage but overall its the only games were ive stayed up till 3 in the morning to watch new events and also its the first games were ive watched sports ive never seen before london 2012 we have to have the same passion and excitement to match

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  • 90. At 1:24pm on 01 Mar 2010, Dan W wrote:

    Living in the UK I must say that the BBC broadcast has been great, due to the time difference there have been issues with watching some sports but normally if there's no Olympics coverage on one of the main channels (BBC one or two) it can be watched either online or on digital TV. The crowds were shown a lot of the time in between competitors and if the atmosphere in London in 2012 is half as great I want to be there!

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  • 91. At 1:25pm on 01 Mar 2010, LiquidSmoke wrote:

    To those that say the CTV coverage was poor all I can say is that they conducted their interviews with the athletes in far more enthusiastic and respectful manner that the CBC did in China. For example we did not get the miserable uninformed Elliotte Friedman asking athletes who had just done personal best performances but failed to win a medal ask how it feels to let down the country. Rather the CTV celebrated the occasion and congratulated athletes on their particpation and efforts like fans. It was very refereshing to see. The only thing CBC does better is Ron McLean on the best broadcasters anywhere - a true professional. Any time the boring and patronising Brian Williams came on I switched to NBC.

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  • 92. At 1:25pm on 01 Mar 2010, krant wrote:

    I don't watch games much but i loved Vancouver games... It was fantastic. Well done to the BBC for covering a great Games!

    Awaiting for london olympics.

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  • 93. At 1:26pm on 01 Mar 2010, Kevin wrote:

    I think the Olympics should be world participation, taking part and bringing the world together. I felt that although these games were generally well run, there was too much local focus on winning matters most ("Own the Podium" Canadian slogan), with many complaining about not getting as much practice time at the venues as the Canadians.

    The city and country grew into the Olympics and eventually dominated it results and attendance. One would have hoped to have seen far more international flags, and not completely overrun with Canadian and USA flags, shirts, gloves and banners. W

    We should not forget that a life was unfortunately lost at these games, and we were told by organisers that all was safe with the venue, even though they seemed to make 'safety adjustments' to the course almost every day.

    The Canadian Ice Hockey celebration on the ice, was NOT in the spirit of the Olympics, and highlighted the 'winning matter most' poor under-current of these games.

    I think tthe Athens Olympics showed the real spirit of the Olympic games, with the emphasis on the world taking part, and not such focus on the locals winning.

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  • 94. At 1:27pm on 01 Mar 2010, kwiniaskagolfer wrote:

    Glad the Games experience is getting a good press; the BBC on-line coverage seemed to turn from initial scepticism to thoroughly embracing the Games as they progressed. Thanks Rob etc.

    Completely agree with comments regarding the inferiority of CTV's coverage. Abysmal, no match for the simply superb CBC. But better than the tape-delay infatuation of NBC.

    Lastly, don't know why comments about the welcoming nature of Canada and Canadia/ens should be a surprise. Outstandingly the most welcoming nation on earth, the people most proud of all they have. GOh Canada!

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  • 95. At 1:30pm on 01 Mar 2010, BeetchAzzNeegre wrote:

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

  • 96. At 1:31pm on 01 Mar 2010, nurse_dude wrote:

    I watched the men's hockey on NBC. I thought the analysts were better and for the picture quality in HD the NBC feed was better than my local CTV affiliate.

    Having watched the Calgary Olympics in 1988 I would say that VANOC did just as good a job as Calgary did. One of the things we have to remember when comparing different games is that the technology used to broadcast and access The Games has evolved significantly. Being able to watch online in HD quality, read athletes twitters/blogs and facebook pages made the games seem more intimate/accessable.

    BTW. I was dissapointed that the Men's hockey team didn't show up at the closing ceremonies. When only one or two players make the effort to show it makes it easy to question their committments. I was much happier to see the women's team win than I wasd the men because the women epitomoze the Olympic ideals.

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  • 97. At 1:42pm on 01 Mar 2010, St George wrote:

    Over budget, overpriced. Death of a competitor. Limited practising for all but Canadian teams at certain events. Lack of snow, then too much.......

    Sounds a bit like bankers - lot's of failings, but we still think they are doing a great job??
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I couldn't agree more, Do you also notice how pretty much every Canadian athlete had some sort of sob story, ie here comes Shirley McMapleleaf, her cousin in the states had an in growing toe nail 10 years ago so the whole of Canada will be praying for her to win. It was all like that.

    I don't see how you can call an olympic games the best ever when an athlete died due complete arrogance by the organisers and then carrying on without a care in the world.

    Its kind of like saying that without the assasination JFK's visit to Dallas that fateful day was the best ever.

    Its really frightning how we British are becoming more like our North American cousins when it comes to being manipulated by the media!

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  • 98. At 1:43pm on 01 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    Well I must say that the commentary with the BBC was very poor in the majority of the minor sports being viewed. Rhona Martin and Wilf Riley were very good. The Biathlon and Cross Country were poor. I think the BBC should make all or most commentators watch at least two seasons in which they will then understand the ins and outs of the sport. If not then get in outside commentators from other networks.

    As for the audiences there. It seems like most if not all of the arenas inside and out were full. This is possibly because of two things. Winter sports are very well attended even if they are minority sports in most countries and secondly I think most of the ticket allocation went to the public and not the corporate giants that paid to advertise with the IOC.

    Hopefully London will learn from this and if corporate sponsors haven't taken their seats at the start of any competition then they should let the general public in at a discounted price so at least you won't see empty seats and there will be people cheering.

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  • 99. At 1:44pm on 01 Mar 2010, Copperconk wrote:

    Were These Winter Olympics The Best Ever?

    If you were in Canada or Canadian caught up in the sea of National patriotism with the Canadian athletes success flowing onto the streets of the Cities and Towns I guess it would be a HUGE success, just like it will be in London in 2012 when the UK WILL get caught up in the hysteria. You may deny it now, when the torch relay starts and the games commence and medals are won National Pride will flow through every street of every town and city.

    Canadians identified with themselves throughout the games and would have given up every single Gold Medal, just to have beaten the USA in the Ice Hockey final. (Canadians always feel that the USA always over shadows everything they stand for and the rest of the western world always 'lumps' them in the same context - NOT this time).

    National Identity was found and every medal won was greeted with 'Oh Canada' - the National Anthem rang around at every opportunity even at impromptu times, as to raise the spirits of everyone in this fabulous country.

    The bias and incorrect reporting and the media from other countries has been hilarious, the media chose what they wanted to report or the lack of it and painted a picture of an Olympics floored.

    So were these winter olympics the best ever? - from a Canadian perspective they were awesome, the best ever, because it was in Canada, the rest of the world did not matter, no one cares what the rest of the world thinks as these were the Canadian games.


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  • 100. At 1:45pm on 01 Mar 2010, Kenneth Edwards wrote:

    Please remember Britain and London 2012 will already be on a Patriotic High thanks to The Queens Diamond Jubilee.

    I guess it's hoping too much to expect her Oldest Son to be away on an overseas tour that August.

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  • 101. At 1:56pm on 01 Mar 2010, H wrote:

    I am surprised that this article thinks Beijing is a basis for comparison when talking about "best Games ever". Vancouver might try and claim to be the best WINTER Games ever, but the comparison to the far more global Summer Games just does not stack up. As a seasoned spectator of both types of games, I think the Jacques Rogge himself rightly declared the Lillehammer games to be the "best Games ever".
    On the merits of the Vancouver Games, I am somewhat unimpressed for the following main reasons:
    - In a number of races, there was a lack of knowledge in the editorial crew about what makes for good TV angles/shots: we got lots of pictures of the leader, without many shots showing how the contestant/pack behind were doing (closing in, catching up?). As a result, the TV feed did not convey the sense of race and competition. This was particularly dire during the end of (skating, skiing) events when excitement is the distance between competitors as they sprint for the line, not some stylised close-up of their technique. I do not need to mention what happened if one competitor was Canadian!
    - A lot of the graphics, points and computerised elements of the coverage were just plain broken: sometimes the ski-jumping scores shown were wrong, and names and times were mixed up in the displays. And for those who would say that this got rectified quickly, just refer back to the medal ceremony for the 50K skiing, were the winner's name got mixed up - on the last night during the Closing ceremony.
    - I heard a sound horn from the (Canadian) audience during the Curling finals aimed at distracting the (Norwegian) opposition. To be fair, this was itself greeted with booing from other parts of the crowd, to show their displeasure. But a sense remains that the partisan crowd did not cheer every nation as your article claims, but that it was for Canada to "own the podium" (what a daft phrase), at all cost.
    I bet people who were in Vancouver had a great time, but if you were not there for Ice Hockey or merely to try and beat the US-Americans, I am not sure you would have been invited to the afterparty. As for the TV coverage, Vancouver did not own the podium, they were not in Gold contention, finishing even after Salt Lake City, never mind Lillehammer.

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  • 102. At 1:57pm on 01 Mar 2010, Eofric wrote:

    May well have been the best Winter Games ever, not unexpected, and typical of the British press to 'diss' it from the start. I can see the 2012 site from my office and endure travelling across London every day - efficent but absolutely at capacity - so we'll see how 'we' compare for organisation.
    However - my big beef is with the BBC coverage which frankly was pathetic for those of us in non-Freeview areas and without subscription Sky-TV. I already pay a hefty monthly fee to the BBC and expect a bit more than Curling and an hour of 'highlights' with Clare Balding (Note to BBC - she is not one of your so called 'Talent' employees)

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  • 103. At 2:11pm on 01 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    Another part of the BBC's poor coverage is not getting the right athletes in the right sports on their website. This isn't just one athlete but more. Does anyone check what goes on there!! Maybe you should have a button on each page with a "contact us information not correct"

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  • 104. At 2:13pm on 01 Mar 2010, Chantal wrote:

    I am very proud how Canadian athletes performed in these Olympics, considering the pressure from the 'Own the Podium' program as well as the home-crowd pressure - especially to our men's Hockey Team; they probably had the most pressure to win gold, having placed 7th in Turin. I think my favourite game they played was against Russia because it showed how they could work together as a team though in the US game we saw how much both teams wanted to win. I was with 30 Canadian students in Leicester, watching that game on a make-shift screen (a white sheet on a wall and a projector attached to a laptop with BBC covering the event), drinking beer, at times covering our eyes in fear, other times jumping for joy. I was so happy when we won and we started to sing O Canada, while hugging each other with joy. Anyone who claims no one cares that we won the gold is out of their mind - all the nations who competed, all Canadians, and I think some Brits too, all were tied in this tournament.

    I am also so proud how all Canadians supported our athletes as well as supported other nations - that's whats truly great of having sporting venues in Canada and other multi-cultural hubs; in downhill skiing you will see Swiss flags and hear bells cheering on Defago; in snowboarding I sure many Americans, Canadians and other nationalities were cheering on Shaun White to perform the McTwist; in Hockey, yes we may have had the majority but I did see some Swedish flags or Russian fans here and there throughout the crowds!

    As for were these the 'best games ever': I think we wisely should not forget what happened at the beginning of the games - the death of an athlete should never be taken lightly. I think VANOC did a proper job in regards to that unforturnate incident.

    The technical glitches, like one of the torches not rising, well those things happen but don't really take away from the actual attraction - the sporting events, which were wonderful to watch. Good job to BBC for the coverage...I was annoyed sometimes when a hockey game wasn't shown but I understand you can't feature everything. Also maybe work on your announcing skills - sometimes the hockey commentary was downright confusing or out of place.

    Having watched Lillehammer, Nagano, Salt Lake, and Turin, I don't think anything can measure to the spirit and festival atmosphere that Vancouver's Canadians, and other visitors, brought to these olympics. (Although, I don't know if VANOC should get credit for that - probably more on account of Canadians wanting to show our patriotism to the world)

    I'm fairly confident that without the fans, the spontaneous O Canada's, and the welcome the residents of Vancouver gave to the international athletes we probably wouldn't be seeing 'best games ever' in a title.

    However, I think we did see something special in Vancouver, and with that we can say it was a success and we showed something special to the world!

    Cheers to Canada but also congrats to the rest of the athletes!!!!

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  • 105. At 2:13pm on 01 Mar 2010, Pete wrote:

    Fantastic! I have not been interested in the Winter Olympics since I was a kid, but my wife got me into the figure skating and I couldn't stop watching. We watched on NBC (we live in Boston in the US) almost every night and thought the coverage was generally excellent. I appreciated the focus on sports and not the sappy back stories on the athletes that I have grown used to seeing on Olympic coverage.
    Also, credit to the IOC for bringing newer events like ski cross, short track, snow boarding, etc., which are very exciting.
    Our Canadian neighbors put on a great show and Vancouver looks like a great place and I hope to visit sometime. Congrats on your Gold Medal in hockey, this could even re-ignite my interest in the NHL.
    Overall, a really inspiring few weeks all around.

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  • 106. At 2:15pm on 01 Mar 2010, jaydrawmer wrote:

    Now i'm not saying the Winter Olympics WEREN'T a success at all, just to clear that up before I start.

    What confuses me slightly is the fact that for the past 2 weeks there have been articles slating the olympics as well as almost all comments agreeing with that fact. Now that an article states how good the olympics were, people are completely agreeing? I don't know if this is just people posting to agree with the article writers or what.

    Personally, I think the winter olympics coverage was good. The Ice Hockey final yesterday was a fitting end with great passion and enthusiasm for the win

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  • 107. At 2:16pm on 01 Mar 2010, Harry Chown wrote:

    Whilst I believe the coverage of the winter games by the BBC was fantastic, I do also believe that it was slightly over the top.
    We are not a country that traditionally loves winter sports, this is simply due to the fact that our country is not cold enough to practice most of the sports showcased in the winter olympics. Personally I think that the BBC spent too much on the coverage as I believe the average sports fan in this country (myself included) probably only watched up to three or four percent of the coverage made available.
    In response to a comment made earlier about the 'BBC making viewers feel like children because of constant explanations', I think this is a ridiculous comment because it's common knowledge that the vast majority of Britons have no idea as to the rules of the majority of the sports which were portrayed in the games. Only a select few would be able to understand what was going on without the explanations of rules and procedures, so I must praise the BBC for treating the viewers as though they don't know what is going on, because in all honesty, most people didn't know what was going on in most events. Note that I say 'most' and that of course there are people that understand perfectly the rules of the individual events perfectly well, just not many people do!

    Moving ahead to the London games in 2012. I know that these games will be a huge success. The UK is a sport loving nation and I can already predict that every event will be sold out well in advance, even preliminary stages of 'mediocre' events such as the table tennis or the archery. I only hope that these games can bring the entire country together and that the organisers can help showcase not only London to the world, but instead the entire country of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Personally I am very proud of London being selected for the games, but I think it would have been better for the country if somewhere such as Liverpool or Manchester or Newcastle or Edinburgh could have been chosen, just so that the world could learn that there are people in this country that don't actually live in London.
    I've seen several comments relating to the UK having too much of a social mix to have the same level as pride and patriotism that Canada has shown during these winter olympics. In response to this, may I remind people that the UK is actually less ethnically diverse than Canada and that only 48% of residents in Vancouver consider the English language as their native language. If Canada can be patriotic, I sure believe that Britain can match or better it, and I can almost feel the nationwide parties up and down the country kicking off.
    Roll on the long summer holiday of 2012, I can't wait. And I'll sure be making the 5 hour trip (short trip in Canadian terms) to London to be a part of it!

    Harry, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England.

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  • 108. At 2:28pm on 01 Mar 2010, Retirethenumber17shirt wrote:

    As an ex pat Brit and new Canadian, this was easily the best Olympics experience for anyone in the country, let alone in Vancouver or Whistler. Yesterday morning we queued for 3 hours from 8am to get into our local sports bar. The place was a heaving mass of red and white - the same scene all over the country - for Canada's Word Cup Final, Ashes Final Test, Wimbledon Mens final, Six Nations decider etc all rolled into one. Hockey is THE religion of Canada and the gold medal game was just spectacular! You couldn't write a better script, with the greatest talent of his generation (and who knows if he'll be the greatest ever) Sidney Crosby scoring the winner in overtime. The only thing that could ever top that would be Wayne Rooney scoring the winner in South Africa against Germany in the 93rd minute.

    As the sweaters, T shirts and hats have said for months over here "BELIEVE". Everyone wants to be seen in national colours and it's not partial, racist or uncool to wear the flag and show your love of all things Canadian.

    If London can capture any of this euphoria and bottle it, the Games will be great. How they get the whole nation to buy into it like Canada, I don't know. You could start by copying Molson, the big brewery near Toronto airport, which flies a flag the size of a football pitch loud and proud to welcome anyone to the frozen North. You can't miss it. If Tesco or Asda did the same, some Jobsworth would descend and tell them to take it down because it's antagonistic. For two weeks, consign these idiots to the Isle of Wight and get on with doing what Britain does best - pomp, circumstance and pride!

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  • 109. At 2:43pm on 01 Mar 2010, niffy wrote:

    I wonder if the illustration of the crowd following the athlete, waving flags, would have been regarded as something more like ultra-nationalism if it had happened in the US or elsewhere? I feel as if people are happy to encourage pride and nationalism in countries that have been somewhat overshadowed, etc, such as New Zealand, Wales or Scotland, etc, but they're not quick to do that in larger countries.

    Then again, the international public didn't have the negative reaction that was feared when Germany hosted the World Cup. It was nice to see them rallying around their team.

    Let's hope for the same, positive atmosphere in 2012!

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  • 110. At 2:44pm on 01 Mar 2010, TLM wrote:

    From an American's viewpoint, I can say NBC's coverage of the games was better than any I've ever seen, summer or winter. They focused on the games, NOT the games for American participants only. If you saw their Beijing coverage you'ld know what I mean.
    The Vancouver folks were tremendous, the competition was superb, Apolo Ohno deserved to be DQ'ed and that was an incredible hockey game. Damn Sid the Kid anyway.

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  • 111. At 3:00pm on 01 Mar 2010, James Skinner wrote:

    *** CRITICISM OF VANCOUVER 2010 ***

    I have been very interested to note that many of the British journalists who were so critical of Vancouver 2010 in just the first few days' of competition have now lost their voice now that it is widely acknowledged that Vancouver 2010 have been one of the most successful Games of all time.

    Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail is one such journalist. I have enquired whether Mr. Samuel was actually out in Canada for the Olympics, or simply writing his articles from some office in London. I suspect the latter. If anyone else would now like to ask Mr. Samuel whether or not he has revised his opinions on Vancouver, then e-mail:

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

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  • 112. At 3:06pm on 01 Mar 2010, Deebwex of Canada wrote:

    UN-BE-LIEVABLE!

    Less than 2 weeks ago, all you Brits were talking about Vancouver 2010 being the worst Games ever. We would expect that coming from our "friends" south of the border...but not good ol' GB. No, those people will understand things like unpredictable weather and faltering athletic performances.

    Well, we just set the bar, Britain.

    The difference is that when London 2012 comes along, we will be genuine in our support of your success, when it rains for 4-weeks straight and everyone stays home to watch it on the telly.

    One last thought: you get to criticize a Winter Olympics after you get to hold one

    Go Canada, Go...eh

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  • 113. At 3:07pm on 01 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    For Russia of course these were the worst Olympic games ever, but hey, what's good for North America hardly ever :o))))) proved good for Russia, what to do.

    The feeling is of course not directed towards organisers bur rather at our own performance, total disaster just 15 medals, and Olympics are about sports' winning for us here first, and that other main component, how to say, feeling of involvement? or whatever? comes second in importance. Anyway I'd say Russia was very devoted and involved, given all watched broadcasts direct for 2 weeks at 11 hrs difference, which means you get to TV at 3am in the morn and get "asleep" at 7 am in the morn. :o)))) which means whole Russia walks sleepy bears stumbling around for two weeks day time, with dark rings under your eyes and completely disappointed with the (own) results :o))))) at that!
    Total disaster.

    There were double broadcasts in the normal time, in the evening, in Russia, but all fan someone and don't wait for the "normal" time to fan, but watched direct broadcasts, which meant all most interesting and meaningful events start 3 am in the morn. sharp!

    Double torture I'd say feeling, and life turned upside down for 2 weeks, and results awful whatever you fan.

    Ice-skating was the major hit (even that BBC wrote it's hockey for Russia it's not so) as Russia stands united behind Evgeny Plushenko.


    Of other things we of course watched carefully because the next wintery games are ours, to learn from Canadians the successes and the drawbacks of the organisers, what to do like Canadians and what not to do like Canadians.

    The opening ceremony in Vancouver was extraordinary wonderful and beautiful, one can only hope to give not a worse one in Sochi, for the wide audiences to enjoy.
    Then the safety parameters, of course, to be minded sharp, because you don't want to, you know, anything of the kind, as organisers and as any one on Earth, we deeply sympathise with Georgians even that we quarrel with them non-stop otherwise :o)))

    I hope some mathematical models will be run or those physical models or
    I don't know what, hope there are still mathematicians left over in Russia to calculate the effects of the curves of the sleigh or luge or whatever it's called the big slide so that it's safe and 10 times safe and 100 times safe whatever the competing crews do.

    Anyway our task will be not to win, like in these Olympics and to fan, etc, but more focused on that OTHERS feel good about it, in terms of practical down to earth things that sportsmen acccommodation is comfy, that they are well fed, well delivered in time to whenever they compete, that there is snow in Sochi mountains :o)))) global damn warming permitting or not - there can't be slush under your feet. We'll get that damn snow somewhere even if it fancies to melt down. We simply won't allow it to melt! By combined nation's address to the skies :o)))) After all snow clouds and rain clouds can always be diverted away by the planes, so that the skies stay clean without down-pour during skiers' competition. And shooting.
    That the coverage is detailed and synchronised and clearly labelled, the running grades, when the skiiers run.

    I mean, organisers' worries are different to a particpant's worries. In that case you don't care so much to win yourself but that others say they were comfy and had all conditions to win.

    Personally, I was very happy during the opening ceremony, and also badly wanted those Canadian mittens (and American knitted hats with some deer embroidered :o)))), and very much liked the man who sang the Olympic hymn at the closing ceremony, and the whales swimming in the opening ceremony, extraordinary well done work of light images, stunning.

    I think if Sochi manages something close in terms of being viewable, and good broadcast throughout, and, most importanly, ship-shape conditions for athelets to compete, we'll be alright.

    Thank you, Vancouver, you have tried hard, all have noticed how focused the Canadians were on the event.

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  • 114. At 3:07pm on 01 Mar 2010, SEA wrote:

    I was a television spectator in Toronto, and enjoyed the wide range of sports that were available this time. There was always something exciting going on - colourful, enjoyable and sometimes very risky (heart in mouth time!).

    One comment I would make is that security, though necessary, shouldn't choke the fun. I believe that the venues in Vancouver were secure, but not choking; so Jon Montgomery was able to start the impromptu conga that people just joined in.

    London, unfortunately, is a draw for 'crazies.' But the British must not let fear choke off the pleasure of indulging in the games. It's not just about 'the world view'; you're right, it has to be about the local view too. They pay most of the taxes and for all of the tickets to the live event. And well behaved happy fans are such fun to watch along with the sports.

    Good luck London -- I'm looking forward to your summer games. Make them great and don't let fearmongering slow you down!

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  • 115. At 3:16pm on 01 Mar 2010, Greg wrote:

    Sadly, I dont think that the London 2012 Olympics will match Canada's nationalism and show of patriotism, it won't even be bigger than when our boys go out to South Africa to try and win the World Cup.

    The problem is that the Olympics unites 'Great Britain' - and for some reason it just doesnt work. England gains a tremendous amount of support as a nation in Cricket, Football, Rugby etc but when your supporting GB it just doesnt seem to click in the same way? Andy Murray represents GB when he plays tennis but usaully carries a Scottish flag? Do the British Lions get as much support as the individual countries? Has anyone else spotted this or have I got it all wrong?

    I just can't envisage hundreds of GB flags hanging out of car windows or put up outside peoples houses. I think the only time I have seen it was in footage of the Queens coronation. I'd love to see it but I just don't believe it's going to happen because despite being a Union of 4 countries, I believe there is too much 'natural' division between us.

    Canada is a tremendous nation and congrats to them for the spectacle they gave us over the past few weeks, despite the early set backs of the snow and the tragedy in the Luge.

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  • 116. At 3:17pm on 01 Mar 2010, Siwash Rock wrote:

    Our fair city has finally learned how to relax and have a good time. No one expected this during the build-up (most people griped about traffic jams and cost over-runs). Then without warming Vancouverites and the rest of Canada suddenly embraced the Games and started to party. And it hasn't stopped. I'm hoping this spirit continues all summer. That will require the police to continue taking a relaxed attitude and just letting people enjoy themselves - something Canadian law enforcement does not always like.

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  • 117. At 3:18pm on 01 Mar 2010, Colleen wrote:

    I was at the games for a weekend seeing two events - curling and speed skating. I was disappointed and I think Vancouver have done a sloppy job.

    It was almost impossible to watch events in Vancouver unless you managed to get in to a pub or bar with TVs. The live sites were too small and you had to queue for hours to get in. When you did get in there was a risk that they weren't showing events, rather some band or other was playing. Granville and Robson streets were closed, but there were no screens and while a lot of people gathered on these streets you couldn't watch the events.

    There was only 1 place to buy Olympic merchandise and you had to queue for hours to get in, then hours to pay. I couldn't believe this, what a huge miss for Vancouver. We tried to buy online but their site was down, so pathetic.

    In commuting to the venues, we noticed that signs were hand-written and they had not bothered to change the recorded announcements on the trains to indicate which stops were for Olympic venues. Such a little thing but they didn't bother with that.

    Overall, I think Vancouver Olympic Committee missed some big opportunities to make money and deliver a polished games.

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  • 118. At 3:22pm on 01 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And of course the snow shouldn't be glued together with chemicals; any Nordic nation here will agree with Russians in this respect. Very difficult for the tecnical support team to the skiiers to select the proper time of ski wax, for such tricky conditions, real snow falling from above :o)))) and a mystery what under your feet.

    May be for safety reasons we'd better immediately transfer Sochi out into Siberia where snow "originality" is guaranteed. :o))))

    Sochi - it's a curtsy to the warmer countries, un-used to cold climate visitors to the Games, so that they won't feel chilly and un-usual, how to say, when visiting the event. Otherwise by all means of course Wnter olympics' games in Russia proper place is Siberia, not sea and mountains commbination.

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  • 119. At 3:23pm on 01 Mar 2010, CousinKev wrote:

    Hey InterestedForeigner,

    You work for CBC or something. Is that you Mr. Stursberg. Still upset at being outbid.

    Get off your high horse, the coverage was fine (you had four different channels to watch plus online). And as for CBC sports being the most knowledgable and profitable, are you out to lunch. TSN is the most profitable sports channel in Canada. It is owned by CTV.

    Now, to the Olympics. What can I say but fantastic. Enjoyed every moment and am feeling a little sad today knowing its over. I've gotten so used to hearing the 'I Believe' theme song every day I'm already having withdrawel symptoms.

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  • 120. At 3:24pm on 01 Mar 2010, ABR wrote:

    From my perspective, as a viewer in England, I thought this was the most exciting winter game ever. Practically all the events were open - being favourite was no real guarentee of winning a medal. The freestyle events really caught the imagination, from the awesome Shaun White in the snowboarding halfpipe to the utter madness of ski-cross!
    The BBC coverage was great - live through the night, highlights the next day, choice of events on the red button or catch up with news and footage on the website. And the commentators have been fantastic: Really enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable.
    I've always enjoyed *watching* the winter games on TV, but for the first time ever, I want to *try* some of the sports. The fun and enjoyment of this olympiad has really shone through. And surely that's the point of the games.

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  • 121. At 3:26pm on 01 Mar 2010, Mary Lou Van Norman wrote:

    Yes, the Vancouver Winter Games were the best ever. The 2010 Olympians were the best ever. I'm in the 2010 Olympic Zone and I don't want to get out !!!!

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  • 122. At 3:27pm on 01 Mar 2010, lindagaf wrote:

    Ihave seen my share of Olympics over the years, and I thought these were GREAT!!! I loved the feeling of fun that pervaded every event I saw. People cheered on winner and losers alike, cowbells and handmade signs were evident at every event. The Closing ceremonies were fantastic, and I loved the silliness of the famous Canadians and the Grand Finale routine, complete with inflatable beavers, dancing canoes and hot-looking mounties in mini-skirts. Good fun was clearly had by all. I hope London manages the same in 2012, as I will be there with my family.

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  • 123. At 3:32pm on 01 Mar 2010, ryan wrote:

    By far the best 17 days I have ever had living in Vancouver in 10 years. What an amazing experience. The vast majority of canadians handled ourselves with so much class and character, I have never been so proud to be called a Canadian. Thank you BBC for being such a warm professional network, I always enjoy your perspective. And kudos to all the international visitors to our great city and country, you helped make these Olympics the success it was. I have never met so many friendly, classy Americans and Europeans in my life. What an awesome experience!!!!!!!!

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  • 124. At 3:33pm on 01 Mar 2010, dodiesmith wrote:

    Thank you for your positive take on the Winter Games in Vancouver.
    Just lovely to read your comments. Everyone shattered this morning after the overtime victory in men's hockey against the US. It was like a movie script, unreal but superb! I have lived in Canada for years (born on Merseyside)-- and as I was picking up some wine to take to friends for the 3 pm game, I said "Liverpool playing today and Canada this afternoon, talk about stress city!" - and he said it will be close but we will see a great game of hockey and Sidney Crosby will score the winning goal." I went home and Torres was playing again for Liverpool and they won. The "beautiful game" and "it's Canada's game" for hockey--what a great day! Shall now put on my red maple leaf mittens and take the dog for a walk in the sunshine, ice melting....and looking forward to London's moment in the sun. KNOW it will be a success if they let the crowds/fans be part of the scene. Thanks again for your great article.

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  • 125. At 3:33pm on 01 Mar 2010, sue224 wrote:

    I only wish I had been in Vancouver as I found the BBC coverage frustrating in the extreme. There was far too much commentary by Claire Balding and her team leaving us praying for some action. The area in which they were standing had a lot of distracting background noise, was uninspiring and often grey and wet. Even the presenters looked fed up at times. An indoor commentary box would have been far better. The coverage of a Winter Olympics should be about inspiring vistas and snow, not a grey wet noisy outdoor area. Next time BBC more action less talk.

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  • 126. At 3:35pm on 01 Mar 2010, CanadianStu wrote:

    The Guardian sent their golf correspondent to cover the Winter Olympics? No wonder he didn't enjoy himself. There seems to be a trend of British media visiting international events and running down the organizers with criticism. Will they be that critical in 2012? What did they say when London defaulted on hosting the World track and Field event a few years ago?

    On television, these 2010 Winter Olympics were fantastic. The city and venues were quite telegenic, despite some poor weather, and the spectator support seemed genuinely enthusiastic.

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  • 127. At 3:37pm on 01 Mar 2010, thirdperson wrote:

    The best time to judge the Olympics is after the event is over and not on the first unlucky day. Clearly, Vancouver Olympics are closer to the best instead of the worst. At least there is no terrorist attack. Also Canada is the most successful host in winning gold metals in winter Olympics. The myth is that Canada cheated by not allowing practice time for other countries? Actually, countries are allocated adequate training runs under Olympic rules. Hosting the Olympics is difficult for any country and London may be hard pressed to do as well.

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  • 128. At 3:49pm on 01 Mar 2010, John B wrote:

    As an ex-pat Brit living in Ontario, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Olympics. The whole nation has an incredible sense of pride at the performance of their athletes and is reveling in the afterglow and the knowledge that the World has now seen the Canadian people for who they really are. Warm hearted and passionate.

    As a Brit, though it makes me weap. I love and miss Britain dearly, and wish that Britain could unite in the way the Canadians do. There are no micro-cultures here and the flag flies proudly every where you look. It's their flag and they are not ashamed to fly it. Children sing the national anthem at school everyday and are taught to be proud of their country. It doesn't matter where you come from. To many of my ex-pat friends here, we share the feeling that Canada is the country we wished Britain could be.

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  • 129. At 4:03pm on 01 Mar 2010, jcv wrote:

    As a Canadian, I can say that I have enjoyed the Winter Olympics quite a bit. However I don't think anyone in Canada would say this was the 'Best Ever'. Rather most of us would say that these Olympics were salvaged from an unfortunate and sad start. Where everyone came together in a spirit of comraderie, sportsmanship and friendship. If anything, I would call it the best 'Comeback' Olympics.

    Now on a side note, I've been reading about the reactions to our 'Own The Podium' program. I don't know what the international media has been feeding you, but this program is simply a funding excercise to better prepare athletes, not only for the Vancouver Olympics, but also for the future. You see, we have a grand tradition of under-funding our athletes to the point of embarrassment. And this was our first step at fixing this.

    And as for limiting access to venues and tracks... from everything I've read, this is absolutely false. In fact, from what I understand, Canada has met the IOC requirement and in some cases offered more track time than previous Winter Olympics. I believe I heard one athlete mention limited time on the track. One. Now if someone has a specific source they would like to share, I would be more than willing to listen.

    Ahem, last but not least. Believe me when I say that Canadian's hate the name 'Own the Podium' more than anyone else. :)

    cheers and looking forward to the show in London.

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  • 130. At 4:05pm on 01 Mar 2010, Keith wrote:

    Watching from afar I was amazed at the non-stop, electrified exuberance that was spontaneously breaking out all over the place. Had I known this I would have made the effort to make it out there even if I hadn’t secured a single event ticket—the streets alone where that good. I’ve never seen anything like it at any Olympics and even if I wasn’t biased I’m sure I would think these were the best ever. The games were also blessed with an inordinate amount of amazing athletic performances and stories which was capped off by a fairy tale ending by Canada’s biggest sports superstar.

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  • 131. At 4:12pm on 01 Mar 2010, Domesticated Dad wrote:

    As a viewing specatacle, the BBC did an outstanding job, especially considering that a lot of the commentators for the events didn't really know a lot about the sports they were covering.

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  • 132. At 4:19pm on 01 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    93. At 1:26pm on 01 Mar 2010, Kevin wrote:

    "... although these games were generally well run, there was too much local focus on winning matters most ("Own the Podium" Canadian slogan), ... "

    "We should not forget that a life was unfortunately lost at these games, ..."

    "The Canadian Ice Hockey celebration on the ice, was NOT in the spirit of the Olympics, and highlighted the 'winning matter most' poor under-current of these games."
    __________

    "Own the Podium" is an expression that makes Canadians cringe.

    The on ice celebration was actually in the tradition of winning the Stanley cup. That's what these guys know.

    So instead of hoisting Stanley and taking a victory lap, they get the flag. If you are familiar with hockey, you knew instantly what was happening. It was both funny and touching in an oh-so-Canadian way. The flag as a surrogate, a placebo, for Stanley. You just gotta laugh.

    As for winning at all cost, maybe you missed the women's hockey final. When the clearly disappointed USA Women's team were receiving their medals the Canadian audience started chanting "USA USA USA" in support of the US team. Of course we wanted to win. But we also like the Americans, and you don't want them to go away feeling bad. So why not cheer for them, too, and maybe take the edge off it a bit?

    When the lone woman skier from Iran reached the finish line, dead last, the crowd cheered and cheered and cheered. Of course you're going to cheer for her. I guessing she's never going to forget that moment for the rest of her life.

    It's going to be like that at every event.

    We want everybody to do well, feel welcome, and to enjoy themselves.

    ----------

    The games got off to a terrible start.

    But VANOC were saved from disaster, eventually, by the stirring performances of the athletes, and the genuine spontaneous welcoming enthusiasm of the people of Vancouver - and no matter what it did, those were two things over which the IOC had no control.

    There's a big, big lesson in that.

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  • 133. At 4:33pm on 01 Mar 2010, Magwister wrote:

    I thought the games were pretty fantastic from a spectators viewpoint. The courses were testing (alpine events, sliding events, etc) and this came across on the TV that it was an achievement in itself to get down the runs......it truly does mean that the best rise to the top. The added discipline of skicross was excellent as well. Of course it was tragic that the Georgian died but unfortunately this can happen in winter sports (much more so than any of the Summer sports that I can think of). Those of you who follow the alpine speed disciplines understand that people get seriously inured (paralysed) and occasionally die doing it (at least a couple women in the last 15 years or so have been killed racing). The one negative thing with this death was that it wasn't a particularly bad crash but unfortunate in where it happened and what he hit. Anyway, from a sporting point of view the Olympics were great.

    BTW, NBC coverage here in the States is pretty bad....excellent if you like hockey and curling as these were shown a lot on CNBC and MSNBC but all the other sports the coverage was bad and very little was live (not even the closing ceremony which I only found out after reading everything that Rogge had said on the BBC website before he had said it on the TV here!!). The evening coverage consisted of 75% adverts....e.g. show Miller go down, 3-5 min commercial break, then Cuche, 3-5 min commercial break,etc,and would only show about 10 runs of which 5 were only shown cos of the big crashes they had. Unbelievable, and this was the same for most things (exception was ice skating where they showed all the top contenders i.e. about 10 skaters). No red button over here. I miss the BBC!!!

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  • 134. At 4:37pm on 01 Mar 2010, MsViv wrote:

    Thank you James for your great article, makes me a proud Canadian :-)
    I wanted to check the pulse around the world about other countries opinion on Vancouver 2010.
    The Canadian spectators/Vancouver resident reactions to this Olympic is not surprising, this is Canada, this is what we are, what else did you expect...hey?
    Like it was said at the Closing Ceremony, we do mean it...everyone is welcome to come for a visit in our beautiful country :-)
    I'm sure London 2012 can do the same, bring on your smile, open your arms and it will be a success! Best of Luck!

    GO CANADA!!

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  • 135. At 4:39pm on 01 Mar 2010, U13667051 wrote:

    The only thing that spoiled the BBC coverage was that awful Canadian woman who did the co-commentary. Sweet jesus, I could not listen to that dreadful voice for more than 30 seconds. I ended up watching almost the whole Olympics on Eurosport to avoid that voice that just cut right through me.

    It still hurts.

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  • 136. At 4:49pm on 01 Mar 2010, Mark Cannon wrote:

    Being from Liverpool and living in Vancouver for over 20 years I never thought I would see Canadians show such passion and pride.
    The country was united and we didn't care about no snow or technical difficulties but only about showing the rest of the world that Canada has equally as much patriotism as anywhere else.
    Vancouver has been fantastic for the last two weeks and I venture to say that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has not enjoyed themselves.
    God love all who made this show a huge success and my hats of to all Canadians who welcomed everyone with open arms and huge hearts.
    Now all I need is England to win the World Cup and life will be complete.

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  • 137. At 4:50pm on 01 Mar 2010, Verge wrote:

    I was watching the games from here in Buenos Aires and I have to say that that Vancouver and Canada did amazing job in hosting the Olympic games.

    One thing that really stood out was the way the Canadian people supported their own but also the way they embraced and supported athletes from other nations. Canadian's have shown they have class and are good sportsmen.

    I have never been to Canada but after watching the games, I would put Canada on top of my must visit list.

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  • 138. At 4:54pm on 01 Mar 2010, AZsparrow wrote:

    I have to say that I have enjoyed these Winter Olympics very much, probably more than any I have watched before, including any Summer Games. I had a hard time not watching them on the television, even switching between channels to not miss anything. There were a lot of good competitions from athletes, and the coverage was good in my opinion.
    I would also add, that Vancouver and British Columbia look like a place I would like to visit someday after seeing what it has to offer; beautiful country.
    Well done Canada!!!

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  • 139. At 5:00pm on 01 Mar 2010, chrisb2808 wrote:

    James, there were still red mittens in the YVR shop on our way home on the 25th after 10 great days. There were some in The Bay at Park Royal shopping centre in West Vancouver as well. It is hard to imagine us Brits being as friendly and helpful as those in Vancouver, even the guy who collects the tolleys in the airport came over to me, shook my hand and thanked me for coming.

    My highlight was supporting Latvia in the hockey against Cze and sitting about 10 seats away from Nicole Kidman at the ice dance final - and yes she was in the cheapest seats at the back!

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  • 140. At 5:02pm on 01 Mar 2010, julian wrote:

    I'm a teenager living in Vancouver and the past two weeks have literally been the most amazing times of my life. It was so exciting to see my city and country basically "advertised" in the opening ceremony and throughout the olympics. It used to feel like the world didn't know too much about us. Most people found the closing ceremonies very disapointing...those famous actors trying to be funny were really demeaning and cheesy, and we don't think that a bunch of inflatable stereotypes and our most poppy pop music showed the world much about our culture, the closing was a bit of a downer - the end of an amazing time.

    downtown was literally something you could only experience. I cannot explain how lively it was - for once! beautiful Granville street was full of people 24/7 and everyone ALWAYS SINGING OH CANADA! i think we are the most patriotic country in the world now. everyone wore a flag cape at all times of the day.
    the weather although bad for the mountains, allowed people to see the true beauty of vancouver in the sun, thank god it didn't rain the entire time which wouldn't be a surprise.

    I now love vancouver more then ever before.

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  • 141. At 5:17pm on 01 Mar 2010, Bob Sherunkle wrote:

    To the posters of comment 80, 85, 87 and numerous others...

    Please do your research before posting. If you did you would know that all athletes had far more access to these facilities than at any previous competition.

    Also those commenting on the 'Own the podium' programme, yes the name might be a little bad but again do your research... For recent examples look up Project 119, or a little closer to home the British cycling elite programme. Notice any similarities?

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  • 142. At 5:30pm on 01 Mar 2010, GonnaeNoDaeThat wrote:

    You havent set the bar, you set new highs in unsportman like conduct with your "own the podium" letting your own athletes train on the courses but not letting other countries competitors, that accounted for about 7 of your gold medals, hardly something to celebrate huh? You had en enjoyable games, but a bad taste is left in the mouth at the smugness Canada feels right now, it doesnt become such a beautiful and normally respectful country.

    " 112. At 3:06pm on 01 Mar 2010, Deebwex of Canada wrote:
    UN-BE-LIEVABLE!
    Less than 2 weeks ago, all you Brits were talking about Vancouver 2010 being the worst Games ever. We would expect that coming from our "friends" south of the border...but not good ol' GB. No, those people will understand things like unpredictable weather and faltering athletic performances.
    Well, we just set the bar, Britain.
    The difference is that when London 2012 comes along, we will be genuine in our support of your success, when it rains for 4-weeks straight and everyone stays home to watch it on the telly.
    One last thought: you get to criticize a Winter Olympics after you get to hold one
    Go Canada, Go...eh"

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  • 143. At 5:40pm on 01 Mar 2010, CBinBC wrote:

    Thanks for the nice report. As Canadians I don't think we have ever been prouder. With glowing hearts, a Vancouver born and raised guy. The lead up was a little over the top, over priced tickets, 1 billion on security, etc. The result we exceptional, my parents have been talking about a bus load of people spontaneously singing "Oh Canada" (national anthem) The Olympics were very very inspiring for the nation and the world. We are just one big family on this earth.

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  • 144. At 5:41pm on 01 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Own the Podium was not only a slogan type "come over, everyone! :o))) but we'll eat the cake ourselves!" :o))) but a serious preparation programme that Canada began 5 years prior to the Vancouver Games. It was a focused effort to win, with heavy investment, clear targets (30 medals overall, nearly achieved) - at that, mind it, Canada put a world record in medals, getting 14 Gold in winter games. Previous best were 13 Gold (Russia, Insbruk, 1976) and then 13 Gold (Salt-Lake-City 2002 Norway).

    Though of course, you can't compare directly as the amount of winter sport disciplines grows year to year in the world, in Insbruk there were only 37 Golden medals all in all, in Salt-Lake already 80, in Vancouver there were 86 Gold medals.

    Anyway, a good, transparent, financial programme, for all to see where investment goes, made publicly available to all, no wonder whole Canada knew where they are going and towards what aim they are working, as a nation.

    In total, money, investment into Canadian athelets preparation for Vancouver was 5 times higher than with the same Canadian athelets' preparation for Tourine. Financed, as Russian media told me, by state money and by private investors 50/50.

    (I wish we could get our oligarchs involved :o))) into our sportsmen traing, but that's un-realistic, to get so patriotic oligarchs suddenly, alas.)

    Here it is, by kind of sport, for Canada. Some investments didn't pay off, but overall, with 14 Gold and 27 total, - one clearly sees the Own the Podium Programme has worked.

    Figure-skating investment was 825,000 to prepare skaters for Tourine, 2,740,500 for Vancouver (Canadian dollars). Result in Vancouver gold-silver-bronze: 1-0-1

    Hockey, men. 843,000 and 1,445,100. result - shining known :o))))

    Hockey, women. 1,019,000 and 4,849,000. result - Gold.

    Skeleton. 805,000 and 3,536,406. Result 1-0-0.

    Snow-board. 1,321,000 and 6,902,605. Result 2-1-0

    Skating. 1,023,000 and 7,888,480. Result 2-1-2.

    Short-treck 890,000 and 4,621,329. Result 2-2-1.

    Curling. 810,000 and 3,617,500. Result 1-1-0.

    Bobsleigh. 895,000 and 4,698,489. Result 1-1-1.

    Etc. Sharp increase into skiing disciplines didn't pay so well though
    Mountain skiing 1,805,000 - 8,735,400 Result 0-0-0 and neither did in biathlon, etc. So it's not only money that is important, but overall the Canadian achievemnts at these Olympics are stunning, and their approach should be studied, as minimum.


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  • 145. At 5:53pm on 01 Mar 2010, Pino wrote:

    They might have been the best Winter Olympics, but from my point of view they have been a disaster, and I bet that this is the view of many who have not access to HD. In fact, for no HD users the red button offered one channel only, often dedicated to hours after hours of curling. To make matter worse, BBC2 often showed the same event like the red button no HD channel, limiting the choice further or, better said, preventing any choice. Also, for the same reasons (I think) there were events that were shown as live, while they were actually about to finish, the results were on the online newspapers and the Olympics official web site, but they were presented by the BBC in a way that looked like live, which I found misleading (ex: the 27 February men second run slalom on BBC2 – but this is not the only case). I understand that the BBC was testing HD Freeview for terrestrial broadcast, but the Freeview terrestrial box was not available yet on the market. Was there any other way to test, avoiding limiting the access to such an important event that take place only every four years?

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  • 146. At 5:56pm on 01 Mar 2010, TigerT wrote:

    I am from Vancouver and these games were pure magic with the exception of the fatal accident on the luge track . The games and venues were well organized and managed and both competitors and spectators had a lot of fun both at the events and later . The criticism of Canadian Nationalism in the European press perhaps misunderstands us .We are a nation of visitors and recent arrivals and as such our nationalism is an inclusive force .By the end even our American visitors were singing O Canada(but by mistake as Go Canada)One interesting statistic just published this am is that over 100,000 condoms were dispensed in the olympic village(pop 7000) at the beginning of the games but the supply exhausted and had to be replenished on an urgent basis by Day 14 Go Canada Go

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  • 147. At 6:09pm on 01 Mar 2010, john Askew wrote:

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

  • 148. At 6:13pm on 01 Mar 2010, Larry Ziebart wrote:

    These games have brought the Canadian people together. We are all proud of what our athletes accomplishments. We have to salute the thousands of volunteers, they have put in a tremendous amount of time. Thank you. The organizers did a great job. I am so happy to be a Canadian.

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  • 149. At 6:15pm on 01 Mar 2010, john Askew wrote:

    I think these games have been superb, the organisers have fought against the weather and have managed to put on a show. Some of the new categories have been the best fun to watch i.e cross sking and boarding.
    I cannot understand the negatives from the press etc, it was great and exciting.
    Lets see if the next winter olmypics can equal or better. i doubt it

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  • 150. At 6:20pm on 01 Mar 2010, JDear wrote:

    Another Yorkshire-born Canadian-since-1977 here.. This was an outstanding Olympics both in terms of medal results for Canada, and for the spirit and atmosphere coming from Vancouver and Whistler. I'm in Toronto and didn't experience it first hand, but CTV did a great job in capturing the vibe for the rest of the country to absorb. London 2012 is bound to be a grand occasion and I look forward to it with the millions of others. Now all I ask is that Wayne Rooney pulls a Sidney Crosby moment this summer in South Africa. :)

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  • 151. At 6:26pm on 01 Mar 2010, nic wrote:

    Firstly I want to dedicate my post to Nodar Kumaritashvili!! such a tragic loss.THANK YOU BBC for letting me view the most amazing games..I have been glued to my seat throughout..and Canada have done a wonderful job of "hosting" these games..of course there were problems as things never run smoothly..but from a viewers point of view it was spot on..I really enjoyed all the events especially the Ice Hockey and the snowboard cross..now I feel a little sad that it is all over, and to think I used to reside in Canada for several years, I lived in Port Coquitlam and then Maple Ridge BC. I sat watching the opening ceremony with tears in my eyes and my 2 sons who have British/Canadian citzenship were equally moved by it all..I actually was and still am feeling homesick..I am just so happy to have lived there and I know exactly how all the Canadian people must be feeling after winning gold in the Hockey. and I know that if I was still over in Canada I would have been at the games.BRILLIANT

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  • 152. At 6:26pm on 01 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    119. At 3:23pm on 01 Mar 2010, CousinKev wrote:

    "You work for CBC or something."

    _________

    No, I don't work for the CBC. Or for the BBC.
    But I have a fair idea who you work for.

    TSN is a cable network not available to all Canadians. It is not the appropriate parallel competitor to the CBC.

    We had first rate athletic performances by the athletes covered by a distinctly second rate (at best) broadcaster.

    There is no excuse for that when we have one of the best sports broadcast teams in the world, and in hockey the very best. It shouldn't be about "bidding" for the rights. It should be about putting our best foot forward, particularly when we are hosting the rest of the world.

    Would you choose our hockey team on the basis of which players were prepared to "bid" the most for a spot on the team?

    Of course not.
    You pick the team based on ability.

    So why, when we are hosting the world, would we not also choose our broadcaster on the basis of ability?

    There is no question that CBC Sports, and particularly HNIC, are the best we've got. To be fair, CTV has long experience and reasonable expertise in figure skating, and if they are the best at that, then their figure skating crew should be chosen.

    The idea that the rights were auctioned, at all, is scandalous. It's like legalized bribery.

    But the legalized bribery problem arises, ultimately, because the IOC has forgotten that the Olympics are about celebrating excellence in amateur sport and promoting harmony between people of different nationalities - (two things that the people of Vancouver and Lillehammer did superbly, despite anything the IOC could do).

    In the IOC view of the world the games are about extracting the largest possible trade mark licensing fees, all of it on the backs of unpaid athletes who are the cannon fodder of the entire exercise.

    And one consequence of that misguided view, that the games are just one big trade mark licensing bonanza, is that we end up stuck with a second rate broadcaster while our best guys sit idle. It's ridiculous.

    It is long past time for the major sporting nations to get together and put the IOC out of business. Then we can get rid of this trade mark licensing nonsense as the prime motivator of the games.

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  • 153. At 7:03pm on 01 Mar 2010, Brian wrote:

    From what I've seen on TV and read in the reports in France, these were a fun games. I would not say the best ever, since I remember the Lillehammer games and the universal adulation it received.

    Being Korean, I was disappointed to see Pyeongchang lose out on its bid for the 2010 games, but was confident that at least Vancouver would host an excellent games (there was less comfort in seeing Pyeongchang lose out to a subtropical Black Sea resort four years later).

    Looking back, it's probably a good thing that we have time to build up even more interest in winter sports before we hopefully, eventually get to host the games ourselves. Our athletes performed brilliantly in Vancouver and got people back home excited about winter sports as never before. If we can get half as excited about the events as the Canadians did for hockey and curling, I think we'll be set. I hope we can learn from Vancouver how to embrace the games and throw a fun party for the world, while also learning from their sometimes tragic mistakes.

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  • 154. At 7:07pm on 01 Mar 2010, Zbat wrote:

    A small part of me does feel sorry that we have (as Canadians) shown our usually quiet, reserved, yet strong pride in our country, these Winter Olympics, and our atheletes. However, the joy on my 9 year old son running up and down our small street with 7 other children, cheering with complete and innocent joy at the final Ice Hockey game, encapsulated the spirit I think all Canadians have been feeling. I look forward to the 2012 London Olympics and wish this same feeling of pride and joy to all of Great Britain !!!!

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  • 155. At 7:17pm on 01 Mar 2010, Lucielou wrote:

    Congratulations Vancouver on a fantastic Olympics. I laughed, I cried, I cheered. However everyone if forgetting 1988 and the Calgary Olympics which were deemed "the best ever" at the time by the IOC. Vancouver got excellent and very friendly by Rogge in his speech at the closing ceremonies while Calgary got "Best ever". For a smaller city the Calgary Olympics were fantastic and left a legacy of training facilities that trained many of the Canadian Olympians of today. A wonderful party and Calgary did not go over budget!! The atmosphere in Calgary was equally inclusive and friendly. I will cherish the memories forever.

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  • 156. At 7:24pm on 01 Mar 2010, Vanessa King wrote:

    From the point of view of a spectator in Toronto, and a Canadian:
    I think that the "Canadian reputation" of being generally good natured people (not to mention thankful and apologetic) has contributed to us feeling like we have the right to celebrate our successes. It's because it's not boastful or to the degradation of others. It's simply looking for a genuine reason to celebrate, and taking it when it's presented to us. I think that has contributed to the feeling of Vancouver's Winter Olympic games being such a positive one. I definitely enjoyed this Olympics, and know many people who have shared in that happiness. Simply being Canadian, as a whole, is what made this Olympics so successful.

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  • 157. At 7:39pm on 01 Mar 2010, Jimmy Sonique wrote:

    Great comments, even if I whole-heartedly disagree with some of them.

    I am an ex-pat who has been living in the colonies for 17 years. In a suburb of Vancouver to be exact. I have never seen Canadians so singly unified as I have seen them over the last 2 weeks. I hope it doesn't revert back to how it was. It has been awesome.

    Last Monday I took a day off work and went to downtown Vancouver with my wife and four kids (the oldest is 8). We had an awesome time mingling with people from all nations in spite of the line ups and huge crowds. After over 8 hours we headed home with calls from the kids to do it again - which we did. The atmosphere was electric and everyone I saw was having fun with it.

    The volunteers were amazing throughout but I have greatest admiration for the police. The way police from across the nation came together to work at the Olympics showed how unified Canada was. I was at the Czech Republic Vs Slovakia men's hockey game and saw countless fans posing with the Montreal police officer who was working there. On leaving, I saw police from outside of Vancouver pointing tourists towards the Live City party sites and transit stations with a smile and a wave. These gentlemen (and no few ladies) were working long hours and seemed to be loving the experience.

    The "Own the Podium" initiative seems to have backfired. Yes, Canada won a lot of gold medals but the worldwide (read British) media seems to be offended by it. Most Canadians know the name of "Own the Podium" and know that it injected some much-needed cash into Canadian athletics programs but do not see it as others do. It wasn't seen as a way to cheat other countries out of medals, but rather seen as investing in the role models of Canadian kids to promote various events. I see it as a way to improve the sport participation levels across the country. My 6 year old now skates with one hand behind his back because that is how he saw speed skaters doing it...

    The BBC TV coverage that has been blasted as too Canadian should be shown for what it is. It wasn't Canadian crews working on most of the TV cameras, but an IOC company that produces all TV coverage for all Olympics. The flavour shots are produced by local TV Networks (I believe the BBC piggybacked on NBC's coverage) but the majority of coverage was provided by the Spanish company that IOC employs. As a point for London 2012 to ponder on, in Canada coverage was provided by CTV, TSN and Sportsnet. TSN and Sportsnet are direct competitors who usually try to outdo each other (think ITV and BBC). They combined forces to provide excellent coverage for Canadians who wanted to watch various different events.

    A final note. I would trade in all of Canada's Gold medals for the ability to keep the newfound National spirit and identity alive. For too long Canadians have seen themselves as being smaller than their southern cousins or colonist brothers. No longer. I would trade in all of Canada's medals if it would bring Nodar Kumaritashvili back.

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  • 158. At 7:52pm on 01 Mar 2010, Gusski wrote:

    Okay, I’ve been sitting back listening and reading the commentary over the last two weeks and to all the negative stuff I say what a load of rubbish.
    Opening night, in the pouring rain, I joined the huge crowds to smile and take pictures and welcome ‘everyone’ at the cauldron; yes the fence was in the wrong position but they moved it a few days later.
    Cypress had five meters of snow last winter, I know I skied there. The organisers and volunteers did an amazing job with what they had; did you hear the athletes complaining? Of course not, they train year round and are use to changing weather and less than perfect snow conditions.
    I took the shuttle bus transport from North Vancouver to Whistler –twice – to see skiing events. On both occasions the whole experience was perfect. 90 minute coach ride along one of the most stunning roads in the world, welcomed and directed by pleasant smiling volunteers to the security section which passed quicker than any airport and was far more friendly. Each event was full of all nationalities enjoying the occasions each cheering on not only their own but all nations.
    My local rowing club in Stanley Park rented out the upper floor to the German province of Saxony; it was a party from day one, they estimated selling 300 barrels of their beer ... the count yesterday was over 1000!
    And as for the end of it all, honestly you couldn’t have written it better. Canada scoring against the old foe (aka England Germany) setting the country alight. I joined the 200,000 or so folks to party and close off roads throughout Vancouver, the good natured celebrations went on long into the night.
    And finally, I must mention the 24,000 volunteers who were simply fantastic.
    The best ever? I don’t know about that, but it was one hell of a two week party ....
    Good Luck London!

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  • 159. At 8:13pm on 01 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    157. At 7:39pm on 01 Mar 2010, Jimmy Sonique wrote:

    I would trade in all of Canada's medals if it would bring Nodar Kumaritashvili back.
    __________

    Wouldn't we all,
    and then some.

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  • 160. At 8:19pm on 01 Mar 2010, JimmyTheCockroach wrote:


    Are all Canadians ecstatic about the Vancouver Olympics? Apparently not the guy below! (Although it seems some Canadians do have a sense of humour about the whole event.)

    CANADIAN OLYMPIC SATIRIST BANISHED TO ICE FLOW; BLAMES MONTY PYTHON

    By ZBZ TV staff and agencies
    Published: 12:17PM GMT 27 Feb 2010

    In a controversial move, the Canadian government announced today it is banishing an Olympic satirist to an Arctic ice flow for six months.

    The satirist, known as Jimmy The Cockroach, has been poking fun at the Olympics for months now from his secret hiding place in the Olympic office, and it appears the government has had enough.

    “These people seem to think they can criticize government policy without penalty,” said an official who asked to remain anonymous, “and that’s not the way democracy works. At least not the democracy of our government. We’re giving him six months to cool off and think things over, then we’ll consider towing him back to shore.”

    But the satirist insists he was only doing what came naturally after years of watching Monty Python on TV and blames the American Public Broadcasting Service for his predicament.

    “They’re the ones that kept showing those Monty Python Marathons,” he said. “Hour after hour of Cleese and the boys – something had to give. Obviously it caused my normally docile Canadian DNA to mutate and I seem to have developed an informed opinion – something this government won’t tolerate.”

    Meanwhile, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has filed a lawsuit to have Jimmy’s sentence quashed, calling it “cruel and unusual punishment.” According to CCLA spokesperson Obi Kanobi, “Mr. Cockroach will miss the Gold Medal Hockey game, and to a Canadian, that’s like … well, it’s really bad, and we want him off that ice flow immediately.”

    But the government official insists that’s not going to happen. “The best we can offer is a transfer to the new Arctic prison facility we’re building at GwanTaw Neemow Bay near Inuvik,” said the official. “We’ll give him a cell beside Richard Colvin and the other rats on our list.”

    Until the case is resolved, a federal judge has rejected a government request for an injunction and is allowing the website for Jimmy The Cockroach to remain online at IOCsong.com.


    (*WARNING: Jimmy’s reports are pure satire and may not be suitable for all levels of intelligence.)

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  • 161. At 8:19pm on 01 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Canadians, give Russians the bear , the big transparent made of stars, that was standing on the arena during your opening ceremony. We absolutely all loved that bear the best :o))) surprise surprise and if we can borrow him, to compliment our brown local, it will be very symbolical and all, in terms of White Olympics continuation from country to country. Then we can also lend an animal to the next Games' holders - any one of their choice, and then it will go.

    I absolutely want 2 bears - the Moscow Olymocs of 1980 to "fly back" :o))) - and the starry night white transparent Canadian one.

    Where am I to write to rent the Canadian polar bear?
    I think we should hq

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  • 162. At 8:22pm on 01 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    There should be something consequitive, in these show (show-off :o) personal, that is, countries' Opening Ceremonies. As min a bear pass-over :o))) The Fire, I mean, yes, of course, but I'd like a personal touch as well, something less official and more tender.

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  • 163. At 8:59pm on 01 Mar 2010, Nobodyspecial wrote:

    One thing London can learn from this is the policing.
    There was a huge security presence, and with the tazering of a polish visitor just before, plus the threat of G8 style protests - people here were nervous.
    But from large scales, like the low-key police response to the demo at the start to the friendly behavior of individual officers on the street it was very well done.

    I grew up in the UK during the miners strike, then police drafted in from all over the country saw an opportunity to stick the boot in where they never be caught.
    In Vancouver 1000s of police/RCMP/security forces from cities all accross the country were on the street with no dogs, no horses, no riot vans - and no trouble.
    I watched a police officer after the game, nervous that too many people were climbing on a bus-shelter ask them to come down. As they climbed down they were hugging and high-five'ing the officer, not being beaten to the ground with truncheons.

    The largest police operation was to escort a small demonstration at the closing ceremony - and that was mainly to protect the demonstrators from the crowd.

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  • 164. At 9:50pm on 01 Mar 2010, CMJohnson wrote:

    To London.

    Prepare to feel like you are working very hard to organize a huge party, you clean your house up. get new carpets, buy a new table. re do the drive way and welcome everybody in. Only to be told to stay in the kitchen and do all the work while everyone else has fun. Then clean the mess up afterwards and pay the huge bill.

    This was the prominent feeling in Vancouver just prior to the games.
    Though some how and i cant articulate how and why, the mood changed, and as if by magic all that was forgotten and we all just had fun and lost our selves in the once in a lifetime moment.

    Vancouver is my home and i`m proud of that. And proud that we threw a great party for everyone. I`m not overjoyed by the cost of it. though i`m optiomistic that enough people left vowing to return another day soon as tourists that we can level that cost in an increased tourism trade.

    -----------

    If i have one constructive critisism of the local media it would be that a sense of open Internationalism was lost in the nationalistic patriotic frenzy.

    Try buying a GB Hoodie on Robson street, no chance. I did get one after driving around GVRD all day.

    -------------------

    And a word of warning. I sensed here in Vancouver a feeling that the Olympics will bring in lots of extra business to town. And it seemed like a lot of people were banking on the games. To a select few this worked out, But for the majority it was far from the outcome that they desired. Position yourself carefully.
    Hopefully as i said above, there may be long term benefits.

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  • 165. At 9:51pm on 01 Mar 2010, James Pearce wrote:

    Thank you all so much for your comments. I definitely stimulated some good debate, and that's exactly what I wanted to do.
    As I said in my blog, I was really only judging these Games on the spectator experience. I do totally accept the argument that if a competitor dies at an Olympics then they can never really be remembered as the best ever.
    But do titles like 'Best Ever' really matter anyway? The truth is that it's very difficult to compare different Games. Each one has its own charms. Every person who's been to Vanouver over the past two weeks or watched on television has their own individual memories, and from what you've all written here it's clear that most of those memories are very positive.
    The people of Canada have shown themselves to be confident and charming. The truth is that there's really no need to worry if these were the best Games ever or not. What matters is that everybody appears to have enjoyed them, and for that Vancouver deserves our congratulations.
    I would also like to make one other point. A number of you mention the volunteers. It was very remiss of me not to do the same. They have been some of the stars of these Olympics. It makes so much difference to the spectator experience when the volunteers are so knowledgeable and so helpful. Jacques Rogge was right to single them out for special praise at the closing ceremony.
    I head home to the UK later today, but first let me thank Vancouver for some memories which will last a lifetime, and also to thank all of you for contributing so much to these pages while I've been here.

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  • 166. At 9:51pm on 01 Mar 2010, Daniel wrote:

    Lots of interesting comments here... I enjoyed what I saw of the games but being without a TV I could only watch what I could stream online... sometimes picking up the BBC feed, sometimes getting an Australian channel, etc. On the whole Iwas happy with what I saw -- beggars can't
    be choosers after all. But I wonder if there's anything that can be learned from the FIFA World Cup model? In the last World Cup, they had awesome highlights packages of each and every game online so if you missed a game you could still get caught up. For the Olympics I would love to see more of the sports that are lower on the popularity totem pole... I also want a chance to cheer for the lesser known athletes.
    But in the present model where individual countries block access
    from foreign online users, all we get is frustration. Living in the
    US, I couldn't access CTV's video or BBC's video, because I was
    supposed to be covered by NBC... but my subscriber was not on their
    list, so I couldn't even get NBC video online. Pffft.

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  • 167. At 10:06pm on 01 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    165. JP

    Have a safe trip home.
    Come back any time.

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  • 168. At 10:08pm on 01 Mar 2010, CMJohnson wrote:

    Safe trip home and bonne chance in 2012 James.

    I bet YVR is a zoo today. Not unlike normal a days at Heathrow

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  • 169. At 10:20pm on 01 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I wish the blog on Olympics lasts a bit longer, one gets tuned to live in Olympic news for 2 weeks, and then so sudden cut-off :o(
    During the days you can't discuss all because there are new events coming on-line every hour, no time to think it over. And it was a big thing, to forget about it, how to say, so much at once!
    _________
    Someone above mentioned our Russian ones will be in sub-tropics Yes must admit :o))) true :o))) the warmest spot in the whole of Russia :o))))
    We can't explain ourselves how it happened, think simply the committee took the decision not to scare foreigners by Siberia, where it's also expensive and far to fly to, provide warmer climes, and mountains always have snow after all, it just seems we'll be lifting all up and down non-stop like one big elevator :o))) from sea-side entertainments and sun up the lift to snows, down on the ground again in the evening. don't know.
    Sochi definitely has oranges growing and palm-trees :o)))) Summer Olympics, by this logic, we should have held in the Polar Circle. :o))

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  • 170. At 10:23pm on 01 Mar 2010, Jimmy Sonique wrote:

    James, thanks for bringing balance to the force and offering a counter-point to some of the other media.

    Safe trip home and God speed you back.

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  • 171. At 11:20pm on 01 Mar 2010, Wayne C from Canada wrote:

    @#93 Kevin
    "The Canadian Ice Hockey celebration on the ice, was NOT in the spirit of the Olympics, and highlighted the 'winning matter most' poor under-current of these games."

    I'm assuming you're referring to the Women's team, if so, I think you have no idea what you're talking about...

    why was the Women's team celebrating? 1) it had just beaten its only rival in the sport, something it hadn't been able to do at the World Championship the past two years; 2) this was a veteran team, many of these women will not be playing again in an Olympics or even a WC...

    what actually happened? the team was celebrating IN THEIR LOCKER ROOM -- a private place the media has no right to enter without permission... some of the women came out to the ice -- conflicting reports as to whether they did it on their own or were requested by media photographers -- and SINCE THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN THE ARENA -- the USA team and all the fans had left long ago, they took the opportunity to take some final photos of their perhaps swan song... they posed for private pictures, they sat and talked, they drank some beer and champagne, with no one from the public present... it was NOT a raucous, falling-down-drunk party... it was NOT an insult to their opponents... it was, for all intents and purposes, a mild, private, celebration that took place in a quasi-public area which certain media then tried to turn into a story... it is a completely media-CREATED issue...

    (even the most serious complaint of 'underage' drinking is over-blown... the player was one month from being legal age in British Columbia, she is already legal age in both of the provinces where she lives and where the team trains -- there is no 'universal' legal age in Canada)...

    if that celebration was out of order, every skater taking a lap of honour with his/her flag would be out of order, every athlete who takes a drink of champagne in the locker room would be out of order, EVERY celebration would be out of order... you might as well dictate that you can't be happy you won...

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  • 172. At 11:39pm on 01 Mar 2010, Della wrote:

    As a Canadian living in the USA, it has been painful watching NBC's coverage of the games. I missed the Canadian coverage I was use to, where they actually talked about and showed athletes from other nations.

    I would often be talking to my mum back home and she would tell me all these great stories that weren't even touched on in the media here.

    We couldn't make it up to Vancouver but I wish we had, everyone I have talked to that has gone, loved it!

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  • 173. At 00:21am on 02 Mar 2010, ninjaradish wrote:

    James and Jon...

    Thanks for your impartial reporting. Being an Ex-Pat, it irked me to read what was being said in the British Press. Having said all that, if you want some mittens sending, please give me your address at the BBC and I will send you a pair each - I was given many pairs through work!

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  • 174. At 00:27am on 02 Mar 2010, Phil wrote:

    I volunteered working on the hill during alpine events and night after night we had to clear fresh snow off the downhill courses. Long hours and tough labour. My one indulgence while I was in Whistler was a visit to the sliding centre to witness Canadian Jon Mongomery's gold success. With that same ticket, I also saw Amy Williams win gold as well. Go Great Britain! London 2012!

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  • 175. At 01:30am on 02 Mar 2010, bma wrote:

    I live in Victoria (on Vancouver Island), and I think poster #129 nailed it.

    Cheers!

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  • 176. At 01:34am on 02 Mar 2010, ThomasACARTER wrote:

    I feel compelled to comment about the continually repeated rumours about limited access to competition venues by non-Canadian athletes. This is simply not supported by facts.
    Vancouver's venues were completed years in advance and have been available to all the world's athletes. One of the reasons often cited by the American athletes as to their great success in Vancouver was their familiarity with the tracks/courses etc. because they had so much access to train on them.
    Most Olympics barely get their venues finished in the Olympic year so no one has much access; in Vancouver, many were available 3 years in advance and none were less than 2 years. Vancouver even hosted some world cup/international events in the preceding two years.
    None of this adds up to a limiting of access.
    Furthermore, the Own the Podium effort, though poorly named, is more an effort to properly support our athletes to the level of other competitive nations rather than an aggressive exclusionary plan. Canada has, in past Olympics, been embarrassed that our athletes were great and tried their hearts out but often fell short due to a lack of time for training because they had to work, a lack of access to physiotherapy, sports psychology, top notch coaching, top notch equipment and science. In fact, may of our Olympic athletes lived below the poverty line due to the career/job sacrifices they were willing to make to train and compete. Canada felt that since we put such high expectations on them, we should give them the means to compete well and live decently at the same time. It was gratifying that the taxpayer's (including me)money was well spent. Many Canadian athletes credited the extra funding as being critical to finding that extra edge, that hundredth of a second, that confidence to win...

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  • 177. At 03:28am on 02 Mar 2010, Maurice Cardinal wrote:

    Thank goodness the homeless people in the downtown eastside of Vancouver were kept under control. They could have ruined it for everyone.

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  • 178. At 03:30am on 02 Mar 2010, ThomasS2 wrote:

    143. At 5:40pm on 01 Mar 2010, CBinBC wrote:

    "Thanks for the nice report. As Canadians I don't think we have ever been prouder. With glowing hearts, a Vancouver born and raised guy. The lead up was a little over the top, over priced tickets, 1 billion on security, etc. The result we exceptional, my parents have been talking about a bus load of people spontaneously singing "Oh Canada" (national anthem) The Olympics were very very inspiring for the nation and the world. We are just one big family on this earth."

    I agree CBinBC. Something happened to us even as we were grumbling about costs and road closures. I think, myself, it was the Opening Ceremony. I felt for the first time that a light had been switched on and I felt deeply reverent about being a Canadian. I have never ever been a flag waver. But yesterday, after the hockey game, I put a Canadian flag on my front door. And most of my neighbours had done the same. There has been a sea change among the people of this country. And I don't think anything is being done in a mean or spiteful way; it's just that we have never really dug into ourselves to take any pride, and never had this type of success in the Olympics. We have always been somebody's colonial leftovers, or simply ignored, despite trying to do the right thing. At last we can just be happy to be ourselves. Together.

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  • 179. At 03:36am on 02 Mar 2010, Jeric wrote:

    How you view this Olympics depends on your generation and level of interest in sports. I can only recall Olympic games back to the 1996 in Atlanta. Since then, the only Olympics I would rank close to these are the ones in Sydney for coverage and atmosphere. So I have no problem ranking these as the best games in 20 years from a TV viewer perspective.

    The CBC coverage in Beijing was terrible, I didn't even get a chance to watch my own brother compete in an event because they were busy re-running highlights from vollyball. CTV has been a superior broadcasting network, they have 4 channels that has made it possible to watch nearly every event. CBC just can't compare. And the best part is its financing isn't coming out of the tax payer's wallet as it would be with CBC. This was also the first Olympics broadcast in hi-def which made a big difference for me. As for the CTV reporters, well I wasn't too impressed but I'm glad Brian Williams was brought in.

    Another important point to make, this is the first Olympics since 9-11 that I haven't seen any shots of guards walking around with semi-automatic weapons. Security was handled with dignity. I only hope London can pull off the same.

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  • 180. At 04:28am on 02 Mar 2010, ttd wrote:

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

  • 181. At 04:38am on 02 Mar 2010, Cathy Schaffter wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland mentioned that he `very much liked the man who sang the Olympic hymn at the closing ceremony.' He's the wonderful Ben Heppner, the leading Wagnerian tenor on the planet.
    Two ideas from the Vancouver Olympics that I hope London and Sochi will use to their advantage:
    1) Holding an Olympic torch relay all around, across and up and down your countries. The sheer physical presence of that torch being carried through cities, towns, villages and hamlets -- and along the roadways, highways, waterways and skyways between them -- created a tremendous sense of connection across Canada, and not just to the Olympics.
    2) Continuing to give out a Terry Fox Award to the athlete or athletes who best embody the spirit of overcoming enormous obstables towards their goals. Terry Fox lost a leg to cancer and in 1980 decided to run a `Marathon of Hope' across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. He died before he could finish, but annual Terry Fox Runs held in countries around the world since then have so far raised an astonishing $500 million for cancer research.
    There was only going to be one Terry Fox Award but two courageous bronze medal winners required a change of plan.
    Slovenian cross-country skiier Petra Majda was a favourite in her event until an accident during training broke five of her ribs and punctured a lung. She nonetheless fought through her agony because she knew her countrymen were counting on her.
    Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette's mother died suddenly just days before her short and long programs. She nonetheless fought through her grief in tribute to her mother's long years of support.
    What heroines! And what comparable heroes or heroines will emerge at future Olympics who'll deserve this award, too?

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  • 182. At 08:32am on 02 Mar 2010, jinotd wrote:

    Since 2003 I have looked forward to these Olympic games. I have not been disappointed, and have in fact been bolstered by the nationalism and pride shown. I was impressed and proud of the respect shown to the Georgian team after the death of one of their own. Rather than try to downplay the tragedy, it was acknowledged by the IOC, VANOC, and all of the spectators. A memorial was set up in Whistler Village in order for all to remember.

    As westcoasters, we are used to dealing with the weather that Mother Nature sends us. We were as prepared as any city could be, and while unfortunately not all visitors were able to watch all events as they were scheduled, all events were held.

    I saw nations sport their colours side by side. If their team didn't do well, then the next competitors were cheered on to show appreciation of their abilities.

    Security was imperative in the current world climate. Our RCMP and local police officers showed that they were human too. I was asked a few times by the officers if I was enjoying myself and saw on the tv, officers "high-fiving" spectators who were revelling in the atmosphere.

    The volunteers were amazing and deserve a great deal of credit. They were happy and informative amid a crowd of thousands.

    Am I proud? Yes! We showed the spirit of Canada by working through a terrible tragedy with respect; laughing and dealing with the weather; and making fun of mechanical errors and ourselves. For 17 days this country showed a patriotism we rarely show in public and welcomed the world to show theirs. I think that in many ways, this was the best games ever!

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  • 183. At 08:54am on 02 Mar 2010, Warren34 wrote:

    Best winter olympics ever?

    Not a chance. There have been too many problems with the execution of some of the events. Vancouver is not even close to being the 2nd best winter olympics, let alone _the_ best.

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  • 184. At 2:22pm on 02 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Cathy Shaffter, @181

    So, Ben Heppner, thank you. I understood that tenor and that someone must be a name in opera, voice, and power of expression, but never heard of the name.

    (I'm Alice/she :o) (in Wonderland in our, say :o))) un-ordinary Russia :o)))

    With the torch relay on the ground, in the country, that's for granted, I mean, one can safely hope on that.

    With the Terry Fox award - thank you for the explanations and advice.
    I think we were also doing something of the kind, only no one cared to explain what it is, or may be I missed it. On the Russian site for Olympics devoted to Vancouver, where all blogged/discussed/video-s news etc. there was a daily vote "over-coming of the day", "over-coming of the Games", to vote on line who deserves. May be it was for Terry Fox, ran by all the countries? Hard to tell how it was arranged, by the Int'l Olympic Committee. Or may be in Northern America only.

    Anyway all advice welcome, a million details to take into account, Vancouver latest experts.

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  • 185. At 3:07pm on 02 Mar 2010, HDtovan wrote:

    I grew up in Vancouver and moved away after university but still have family there. When I first heard about the bid for the Olympics, I was horrified, along with my parents and brother. We all thought of Montreal and the money that was lost there. In the weeks leading up to the start of the games, I wasn't so much excited about the games as worried about Vancouver's reputation. But then, I started paying attention to the torch relay and was moved to tears by a slide show of the race on a Boston newspaper site (can't remember which one). I was touched to see how many ordinary Canadians participated in the race (whether by being a torch bearer or by watching from the sidelines) and how excited and proud they all seemed to be. Then the games began and I started hearing about the enthusiasm of the local population and I just couldn't get over the sincere enjoyment apparent on everybody's faces. This is what got to me about these games. More so than the Canadian athletes' performances or the fact that Vancouver was hosting a world class event. It's just been really lovely to see so many people lining the streets of my hometown looking so darn happy and feeling, I think, a sense of community.

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  • 186. At 3:24pm on 02 Mar 2010, EggGirl8 wrote:

    Well said #182! The death of Nodar Kumatashvili was acknowledged by the IOC, VANOC, athletes and spectators in Vancouver and [the rest of the world]. They didn't downplay the tragedy but set up a memorial in Whistler village to remember him. It was very unfortunate this tragedy happened. However, it brought out the best of human natures in dealing with this tragedy at the Games. One of Nodar's team mates competed in the Games in his honour. The Organizers had dealt with this tragedy as humanely as possible. The IOC will pay to build a luge track in honour of Nodar in his hometown. Nodar Kumatashvili's name will live on in the spirits of Olympics, in Whistler village, his hometown, the athletes and the rest of us. He will not be forgotten for generations of Olympics to come. I agee with #182 that through tragedy, mechanical failure at the opening and mother nature, the Vancouver Games had overcome all the worst possible adversities to emerge brilliantly as the best ever Olympic that remains in our hearts. If it didn't, this blog would not have generated so many comments from so many people around the world.

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  • 187. At 4:41pm on 02 Mar 2010, Cathy Schaffter wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland:

    The Terry Fox Award was created by VANOC and the Fox family in Vancouver.

    The best way of bringing it to Sochi is probably by working directly with the Foxes via the Terry Fox Foundation at www.terryfox.org.

    Wishing you the best in 2014!

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  • 188. At 7:37pm on 02 Mar 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Aha. Thank you. One wishes, though, that there'd be less that "overcoming", and ribs, and family. But I guess it is impossible to have so that all at once, thousand athelets, for 2 weeks, had nothing happening to them, or their kin. :o(

    I checked again, the "overcoming" in the Russian Federation award vote is being run by Shell, they are the sponsors, not Terry Fox.
    Don't know how in other countries, anybody? say a word
    Is Terry Fox Foundation now chosing based on Canada opinion or wider?
    Or may be all the countries votes will be then combined?

    In Russia Vancouver Olympics are not out of the news, as the site continues and is bursting with entries, a thousand posts on every new article easily during the day (no moderation or rather, reactive moderation :o) which helps :o). So much to discuss and remember, a rich event.

    With the Sochi, yes, thank you. We'll need all the luck :o) as absolutely all is being done and built there from scratch for it, excepting, only, mountains :o) As old Soviet time hotels are not fit for modern standards, the meadow a kind of a plateau in the mountains ski old resort is also too tiny for the world's Olympics, so it's from roads to electricity lines to cuts of thoroughfare in the mountains, as passage through, to acommodation, a big upside down everything a huge busy construction place, where many foreign companies are employed, so how will it look as the end result nobody knows. And when. :o) Time is short. Airport was built anew and landing stripes, what not.
    Normally it's a peaceful-quiet old health resort where nothing of such boom and bang how to say large scale happned. We simply go there for sea bathing, to lie on the beach and swim :o) and get some sun, to be sun-tanned a bit, after the Polar Winter in the North (9 months). Quiet place, for swimmers and skiiers, in that mountain plateau. And now such an upheaval all locals moan that there began the end of the world :o)))

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  • 189. At 8:20pm on 02 Mar 2010, DearFriends wrote:

    I don't know if it is the best games or the worst games in olympic history but I do know that in my books it is the best because it was in our own backyard.
    I wasn't as excited about the Olympics initally, but as the torch relay began, my excitement grew and grew. I guess it makes a huge difference when you can actually enjoy the games in person. The experience of the games will be memorable. I don't really care who won and who didn't but it was the joy of cheering for all athletes and just having fun being there. I don't know if I will ever see another olympics but I will never forget this one! It also shouldn't matter how glamorous or not the affair was, but rather so how it got all people together of all backgrounds.
    James, thanks for a great article. To all that came, I hope you had just as much fun too. Here's to wishing more peace, more fun, and a better world!

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  • 190. At 01:41am on 03 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    179. At 03:36am on 02 Mar 2010, Jeric wrote:

    "CTV has been a superior broadcasting network, they have 4 channels that has made it possible to watch nearly every event. CBC just can't compare. And the best part is its financing isn't coming out of the tax payer's wallet as it would be with CBC."
    _________

    Four channels, only one of which is an open broadcast channel?
    It is fundamentally wrong that Canadians should have to pay private cable companies to see Canada's national athletic teams compete.

    For the amount of money that governments at every level are providing to subsidize these games they should be broadcast free of charge and free of commercials to all Canadians.

    As for the public subsidy of the CBC Sports, well, that's actually the opposite of the truth. CBC Sports is a cash cow that cross-subsidizes the rest of the CBC to make up for the shortfall in public funding. Remember, the private networks get to pick their spots. The CBC doesn't. It is required to fulfill its national mandate. That includes providing services that are sometimes wildly uneconomic.

    We pay to subsidize the CBC, generally, because that is part of the cost of living in a free and open democracy that includes large sparsely populated regions. I pay a lot of tax every year, and that is one public expenditure that I do not begrudge for a second.

    I believe that HNIC generates something like 1/3 of all CBC funding. That's probably not correct, but the point is the HNIC carries a grossly disproportionate share of the burden.

    And if you don't think that CTV coverage of these games has been implicitly subsidized by government, you're dreaming. The cost of security, alone, is supposedly something like $ 1 B.

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  • 191. At 02:35am on 03 Mar 2010, BrettMucklow wrote:

    The Best Winter Olympics ever? Probably a better question could be asked.
    How can we compare every country to another? Can you tell me who of your children you like the best or is the best? The Olympics is not about the best country or the best athelete, it is more. It is a tournament about bringing all people from all walks of life, from all regions of the world to compete and celebrate a level of excellence. If we wanted truly to evaluate the best we would have to take into account so many factors such as population, finances and a myraid of other factors.

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  • 192. At 10:34am on 03 Mar 2010, Paul Ford wrote:

    I'm a Brit but was lucky enough to be at the games in Vancouver and I wholeheartedly share James' comments on the games. I have never in my life been welcomed into a city with so much warmth and obvious enthusiasm. It bordered on being humbled the level at which EVERYBODY I met tried to make sure any visitors to the games were being looked after. I only hope the senior official from London 2012 mentioned in the article actually brings back with her the right ideas from Vancouver and manages to get them implemented for 2012.........if this happens then London is in for the spectacle of a lifetime.

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  • 193. At 03:02am on 07 Mar 2010, Gutsch wrote:

    To The World:
    Thank-you for coming to Canada and Vancouver. I hope you enjoyed the games at every second like I did. If you were like me, you were hanging on the edge at every event nervous and excited for the athlete to perform. I.E. Watching Bob-sleigh and all the crashes or the Slovenian Skier who received bronze after having broken ribs and a punctured lung or Joannie Rochette and her powerful first and last skate after the sudden death of her mother.

    To All The Complainers:
    1. This was CTV's first time covering the Olympics. Shaky at times, yes I agree, but I much prefer watching hockey without the presence of Don Cherry. If you remember Turin at all, how he bashed the Canadian Women's hockey team and shamed them for scoring so many goals in a tournament where goals matter.

    2. Were the games the "best-ever"? Who can really answer that? I am a 12 hour drive away from Vancouver in another province and I felt the atmosphere at every single moment of the games. I had many friends travel to Vancouver just to be in Vancouver and felt that nothing could match the party they experienced. Why you are comparing the Vancouver games to other games is just stupid. There will always be error's or glitches, it is inevitable.

    3. As for the death of the young Georgian. It was a major tragedy, but the games are to go on despite adversity. The track was engineered to be incredibly fast, however, we must realize in a sport like Luge accidents occur because of human error. I'm not saying in anyway that it was because the track wasn't safe enough or it was his fault. Athletes will explain to you that Luge has a high accident rate because it relies on split-second decisions. I don't know how good you are when it comes to a quick decision, but I know I can't react that fast and I am a higher end athlete. I also have friends that compete in Street Luge and that is just as dangerous. It was both an awful and a good way to start off the Olympics. It reminded everyone that accidents happen, but it also brought many people, regardless of country, language, religion, race, together.

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  • 194. At 00:17am on 10 Mar 2010, jawnbc wrote:

    Best ever? Hard to say. Rogge has made it clear he won't do what Samaranch did: pronounce with his personal opinion as if he spoke for the IOC (and entire Olympic Movement). These were great Games though, clearly. As a volunteer I know how hard Vanoc worked to scrub and scrub at the blocks of sponsor and Olympic family tickets, in order to give more access and leave fewer empty seats in the venues. They also made most events affordable when compared to a local hockey game. I got to see 3 short track medals awarded (2 gold for Canada, w00t!) for $55 a ticket! I also spent 2 years' movie budget for a seat at the men's gold medal game. And TOTALLY worth it. :)

    I had 10 relatives from the States visiting: they even attended the first CAN-USA men's hockey game, which the USA won. They were impressed by the energy everywhere, how clean and organized things were, how efficient transportation was...and what good sports Canadians are, even when we lose. After multiple congratulations from Canadian fans after the game, my brother said "if we were in Salt Lake and the tables were turned, I don't think we would've been as gracious."

    If not then, perhaps now. I think we managed to stay mostly within the realm of "supporting our team, excited for everyone." We loved having you all--and we're never gonna do it again!!!!!!!

    In 1964 luge made its Olympic début and a slider died--on a track considered slow by today's standards. The Whistler Sliding Centre was vetted at every stage of development (proposal, design, construction, testing, full operation) by two international sport federations. There were no more sliding mishaps here than at the last world championships--less in bobsleigh, in fact. The sad, stark reality is a 44th ranked slider shouldn't be going "for a track record" (his last words), ever. I think FIL needs to consider how it managed its development programme going forward.

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