Canadian confidence to banish British blues
The budget is about to be revised upwards, sponsors are filing for bankruptcy and nobody knows how to pay for the athletes' village - these are just some of the headaches organisers of the next Olympics are facing.
So, Vancouver, if you knew then what you know now would you have bid for the 2010 Winter Games?
"We absolutely would have. It's all about timing. If this crisis was going to happen during our lifecycle, it's happened at the right time. Despite the challenges, we're very positive."
Those are the words of Dave Cobb, the Vancouver 2010 organising committee's (Vanoc) executive vice-president for revenue, marketing and communications, the money and "message" man.
Compare that blast of Canadian confidence to Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell on the prospect of preparing for London 2012 during an economic meltdown.
Last November, Jowell said we "would almost certainly not" have bid for the Games in 2005 if we had known just how nasty the second half of 2008, all of 2009 and we're not sure how much of 2010 would be.
Admittedly, she has rowed back from this remark almost as furiously as Redgrave and Pinsent, but it was hardly the Churchillian conviction many were hoping for from the project's cheerleader-in-chief within government.
And the mood wasn't helped a month later when senior International Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper pitched up to tell London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe: "I think you and your team face the toughest time - short of war - to get the project to 2012."
Hold on a minute, Kev, even the sourest of soothsayers predict a recovery before 2012: poor Vancouver has got to put on the slipping and sliding show in the full face of the storm's wintry blasts. Talk about northern exposure.
But if they're regretting pipping South Korea's Pyeongchang to the right to host the Games in 2003 they're doing an admirable job of disguising it.
"We knew there would be ups and downs in the economy and we have been very fortunate that for the first five years it was all up and only in the last six months has it gone down," said Cobb.
"From a revenue standpoint our strategy was to get out there as early as possible - we're at over 90% of our sponsorship target and we've sold all our tickets. We're in good shape."
There is much that London, which has just passed the halfway mark between winning the bid and staging the Games, can learn from Vancouver's pragmatic and proactive approach.
By using existing venues and tapping into already-planned (and largely paid-for) infrastructure improvements, Vancouver 2010 has been able to keep costs down.
The process hasn't been entirely smooth - the forecast for the venues budget has been breached, the athletes' village development in Vancouver (there is another at Whistler, the famous ski resort) is in real bother and Vanoc is set to confirm it will need more money to stage the Games.
But it is important to put this in context: the price tag for the venues is a modest £330m, what happens to the athletes' village on Vancouver's waterfront is somebody else's headache (Vanoc has just hired the development) and Vancouver 2010's running costs should go no higher than £1bn, half what Coe and co will spend on staging London 2012.
The organisers have also done a superb job in selling the Games.
Vanoc has built on warm memories of the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988 (a financial if not sporting success for Canada) and dismissed any lingering national hang-ups from Montreal's infamous Summer Games.
Those 1976 Games are almost as famous for the havoc they wrecked on the city's finances (the good people of Montreal only finished paying for the "Big Owe" in 2006) as anything the likes of Nadia Comaneci and Sugar Ray Leonard achieved in competition.
So despite concerns about the expense, the logistical challenge of using two sites (Vancouver and Whistler) 80 miles apart and the paradox of basing a Winter Olympics in a sea-level city with average February temperatures of five degrees centigrade, the Canadian public has bought into the 2010 concept.
The box office opened in October and in just five weeks orders were taken for £190m worth of tickets - the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002, in comparison, took in £40m in its first nine weeks.
"Those tickets went on sale in the middle of this financial crisis," Cobb told me. "Winter sport is incredibly popular here, especially ice hockey.
"But we're finding it doesn't really matter what sport it is. Sales were great for the sports we don't know so well. Canadians just want to experience the Games.
"The Summer Games are different. They're larger and there are more sports that won't be familiar to the host country, wherever that might be.
"I would encourage the Locog team (London 2012's organising committee) and the British people to think more broadly than just wanting to go to that athletics final. They should grab the chance to experience as much of the Games as they can."
The "experience" is something Cobb and his team are passionate about. Like the rest of us, they were impressed by the grandeur and organisation of the Beijing Games, but they also noticed the empty seats and flat atmospheres. It is something Vancouver 2010 is determined to avoid.
London is too and will be watching how the Canadians balance the ticketing needs of sponsors and top brass, with the more democratic desire to pack 'em in, without compromising security.
London 2012's planners would also do well to look at Vancouver's legacy planning. What happens when the athletes, blazers and commentators go home has become the most fundamental question for any host city, apart from Beijing, that is, which didn't seem to care at all.
By mainly using venues that are already viable, the Canadians have given themselves an easier task than London's plans for using sport as a regeneration vehicle. But Vanoc has also taken the precaution of starting an endowment fund to finance those venues that may struggle in the future, in order to prevent them becoming millstones around tax-payers' necks.
But legacy isn't just bricks and mortar - Vancouver 2010 will be deemed a failure if it doesn't inspire a generation of kids to get off their sofas. And while Canada failed to win a single gold medal in Calgary, 18 years later in Turin they won seven and finished fifth in the 2006 Winter Olympics medal table.
None of this will necessarily come as news to Coe and Locog, but with knockers lining up, and a difficult year ahead, London 2012 should look to Vancouver for counsel and encouragement.
"I look at (Locog's) situation now as very positive," said Cobb.
"They're already secured a large number of big sponsors and while it may be tough to sign up anymore this year or the next, they've still got three and a half years. If they can get through this tough spell, they'll be able to enjoy a resurgence of commercial interest in the last year or two.
"Apart from that, my advice to London would be to do as much as they can, as early as they can.
"We've got a year now to run through all kinds of simulations so we can anticipate any problem. I think many organising committees haven't had that luxury because they've been so focused on putting the last nail in the last venue."
So the message from Vancouver is clear: get on with it but don't panic. I agree and like Cobb I think we, and they, will be fine.