Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympics - the first few days Feb 12 - 17, 2010

The first few days of the Olympics certainly has had it share of ups and downs - my emotions from gone from elation of seeing and later holding the torch to sadness and dismay over the death of an athlete to anger and disgust over the wilful damage and disregard for human safety by a gang of thugs or anarchists back to elation with the winning of our first gold medal on home soil - to seeing and being apart of the celebratory atmosphere so prevalent in the downtown core - never seem so much red and white in all my life - it is also very inspiring to see people either from other nations or new Canadians proudly showing off there colors.

Below are a few images of my thoughts so far.

The torch makes it way down Davie to a turn at Burrard.

A large moving crowd greets all of the participants on a cool Friday morning.

Heading down Burrard St and a change of bearers.

That me holding the torch at Robson Square - it was taken with my Blackberry and cropped from the picture below.

Here's Gordon bearer #74 who was so kind to let people handle and be photographed with the torch - he tried for about 15 minutes to leave but continued to keep smiling for the many people at Robson Square who wanted their picture taken.

Found out later that bearer #73 was former Mayor Sam Sullivan.


A small Deneditoral - have the Games being prefect NO - likes most things in society and in people's lives there are challenges and issues that have to dealt with.

Weather - really hard to blame VANOC etc for the weather woes - mother nature has done her thing at other Games and will continue to do so in the future. A great credit must go out to the volunteers who work tirelessly in getting Cypress Bowl ready - Cypress asked for and spent some of there own money for this site - also another 10,000 people going to Whistler each day or several times a day was problematic.

The Cauldron - the only real mistake here was putting it in a place where people want to get up close and personal - most Games it is located at the top of a stadium or building where people can't get up close.

The death of an athlete - as part of the Olympic family - volunteers or Blue Jackets as CEO John Furlong calls us we were all saddened of this young athlete's death - who is to blame - I wasn't there and have refused to watch the video - too squeamish for me. I will let those who like to play the blame game to fight it out about what should or shouldn't have been done.

Legitimate protest vs anarchy - before the Games started a number of organizations have made there views on the Games, their costs, their warts, their misguided message etc well known and indicated that they intended to try and focus to the world community how much worse Vancouver is than other cities or countries in the world. The Poverty Olympics , the Opening ceremony protest, the hanging of banners from the Cambie Street bridge, the setting up of a tent city on a vacant privately owned lot were all for the most part peaceful and without incident and was accepted by citizens and visitors alike.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and the actions of a group of thugs or anarchists who decided to take the law into there own hands - throwing newspaper boxes through windows in the Bay and the TD Bank - spray painting the anarchists logo on passing buses and private cars and assaulting members of the press - Thanks to the good work of the VDP and others these hoodlums were cornered and giving the option of dispersing or being taken into custody - thankfully all but a few opted to leave. THE VPD RECEIVED HIGH MARKS FOR THEIR HANDLING OF THE SITUATION. The sense on the street later Saturday was one of disgust and more than one person stated what they would do the next time these wet diaper twits tried something.
The downside of this is that other legitimate protest groups have been neutered and are worry about a backlash - so far that hasn't happen and let's hope it doesn't - while we may not like the inconvenience of a street close off for a rally or a few signs attacking corporatism it's a small price to pay for our freedom.

Traffic management - despite all the dire predictions of gridlock the only gridlock to be found downtown is all the people out on foot enjoying the sights and sounds of the Games - yes transit has been busy but many people who need to use it are reporting they waits aren't that much longer - all the extra buses added, more Skytrain cars is working.

Entertainment - all along Granville and parts of Robson every restaurant and bar is filled to capacity - people are milling around - last night there was a giant pick up game of ball or street hockey in the middle of a close off section of Granville St - a note about Granville Street - after about 3 years of closures, ripping up the pavement, redo the sidewalks, lighting etc it is starting to look like it's former neon glory - the Vogue theater folks have restored there large neon signs and many of the other businesses are dressing up there signs as well.

Finally - despite what a protester was trying to tell the world on a hand made sign at Robson Square that read in part " Are you aware that 1000's of homeless east side people have been picked up and bus to a secret location about 60 miles from Vancouver" - WHAT UTTER HOGWASH AND I TOLD HER SO - the homeless are still on the streets - sleeping in door ways etc - the panhandlers are still standing and looking for help - I have talked to a couple of them - some are doing better than normal because of their location - others less well because the crowds have shifted - there are lots more playing instruments and singing - where's Simon Cowell or the Gong when we need them.


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