War of Words: The Olympics

The Olympic Lames

By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer

So it’s time for the Olympics. Big whoop. Do you really care? Really? The Olympics is just an excuse for various companies to capitalize on ridiculous government overspending under the guise of bringing the whole world together/having everyone play nicely with each other/world peace/ [insert whatever Miss World answer floats your boat].

Slight exaggeration in the above paragraph, but the whole thing is a bit overblown. It’s not that I don’t respect the athletes who partake in these events, since they all work incredibly hard to be as good as they are at what they do, it’s just that what they do is irrelevant. Don’t agree? I dare you to tell me that you honestly care about every obscure “sport” on display at the Olympics. And if you’re brave enough to boldly declare that you do care about all those sports, kindly inform me when was the last time, other than the Olympics, that you sat down to watch an afternoon of shot put. Do you regularly PVR a few rounds of javelin throwing? Is it a tragic moment when you realize that you forgot about that weightlifting event on TSN9? If you’re still nodding your head like a juvenile in the midst of a parental lecture then I strongly advise you to put down that drink. You’ve had well enough.

The Olympic Games are a spectacle. There’s no doubting that. It’s tradition. Again, no argument there. But does it have to be such a publicity grab? When it’s gotten to the point where the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Games is McDonalds, perhaps it’s become more of an advertising/commercial stunt than anything? Ba da ba ba ba…

The argument about how there is a great economic stimulus that comes with the Olympics doesn’t quite make sense to me. Countries pump gargantuan sums of money out of their coffers to bid for the privilege of hosting the Olympics, and then, if they get it, they proceed to throw more money around to prepare for its coming. But guess where that money comes from? That’s right, the taxpayer. Tourists then flock into town, providing a temporary spike in local revenues. Great. But what about after? Countries usually have to build/severely upgrade venues to host events, and these venues are not always used much after the Olympics, but their maintenance fees remain. Take a look at Greece. The Games were certainly a contributing factor to their current situation.

But back to the sporting side of things. I do think it’s wonderful that the world comes together for a global event. It promotes patriotism and can really give you something to cheer about. However, if you’re going to spend all that dough anyway, why not make a world event with sports people actually care about…kind of like soccer’s World Cup. Oh.

You’ll have to excuse me now, archery is coming on soon.


Unified as one

By Josh Martin, Sports Editor

It is Thursday morning, which means today is the day that the 2012 Summer Olympic Games begin! I know, I know, I am writing to you from the past, so hopefully the opening ceremonies went well and the first weekend was as good as it gets.

Now, I’m not going to lie for a second, I am completely indifferent towards the events in the summer games. Other than catching the odd diving event or race here or there, there really isn’t a particular event that tickles my fancy, so to speak. Maybe it’s because it’s been four years since the last summer games and my memory isn’t serving me so well. Regardless, this year I am going to do it right and make a conscious effort to get fully invested into the Games. You heard it here first. Because, after all, it is a world event where for once everyone can put there issues aside and shut up and enjoy the two weeks. A remarkable kind of peace, if you think about it in those terms. And because the world comes together, and becomes “United,” it is a big deal whether you like it or not.

One of the highlights of the Winter Olympics in 2010 for me was at the opening ceremonies seeing the North Korean team, a.k.a. the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, participate and march with everyone else. The two young boys that were shown looked completely shocked as to what was going on around them. BC Place was packed to the brim with people and countries from all over the world marching together. Recognizing the significance that there were athletes representing North Korea at a world event even though they are totally segregated from the rest of the world was astonishing. It reminded me of the event that took place during WWI on Christmas day of 1914, when the British and German soldiers on the front lines came out of their trenches, put down their guns and played a soccer game.

The Olympics are so much more than just watching the events (with no disrespect to the athletes); what the Olympics stand for play a much larger role to society. Bringing the world together and leaving their problems at the door. It acts as a sanctuary, an untouched one if that, where millions of people all over the world tune in and view athletes of their respected countries compete against other athletes that are the best in the entire world. It’s mesmerizing to think that each country is being represented in a specific city at a specific time and when the games commence, everyone goes home.

And not only that, it brings so much attention and business to the host city. Jobs are created specifically for the games, houses are made, buildings are built, and history is made. Thousands of incredible athletes that have dedicated their lives to training for a sport and to participate in the Olympics have walked the streets of Vancouver. How cool is that?

Sure, not every single event is going to intrigue you, and you might even just tune into one or two events, but getting past the entertainment aspects and seeing the overall picture of the world unified as one is a beautiful thing. It’s sad to think that people don’t want the Olympics, because if we don’t have it, then how can this world come together?