Vancouver’s Olympics are turning to woe
by Sue Frause
2010 Winter Olympics logo. Credit: Wikipedia
I’ve always kicked myself for not going to the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Being of Norwegian descent, I figured I could probably dig up some bunad-wearing relative and catch some of the XVII Olympic Winter Games in the old country. It didn’t happen. In fact I haven’t been to any Olympic Games, although I’ve seen the venues’ remains in Calgary, Munich, Barcelona and Montreal. So when Vancouver, B.C. won the bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, I assumed I’d buy a few tickets and head up to Vancouver and Whistler to watch a couple of events. I’d worry about where to stay later.
Well, the closest I’ll get to next winter’s biggest sports-o-rama is from my home on Whidbey Island. Unless I want to buy tickets from scalpers, it looks like I’m out of luck, as the 2010 Olympics are pretty much sold out. No surprise that there are a lot of unhappy spectators out there. But the latest news release I received from VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games) makes no mention of these ticked-off ticket buyers. The last communique from VANOC regarding tickets was on Dec. 12, 2008 with the headline Phase 1 ticket inventory for 2010 Olympic Winter Games going, going gone. I guess they were right.
Three days later on Dec. 15, 2008, VANOC sent out this upbeat release: VANOC remains on track financially as it ends 2008. Well, the Olympic torch just lost a little of its luster with some recent developments. Seattle Times columnist and self-described Olympics junkie Ron Judd ran a post in his Jan. 13, 2009 Olympics Insider blog about the most recent mogul in the snow for the Winter Games: Vancouver Olympic Village. The village will house more than 2,800 athletes, coaches and officials. It’s being built in False Creek on the last remaining large chunk of land near downtown Vancouver. After the Winter Games, Southeast False Creek would eventually become home to to 16,000 people. The problem is, the project is riddled with cost overruns, and the City of Vancouver is asking for a charter change to borrow $458M to fund the completion of the village.
VANOC’s woes continued this week with the announcement that an official VANOC supplier, Toronto-based Nortel Networks, is seeking bankruptcy protection. Nortel was named the “official converged network equipment supplier,” supplying the networks communication equipment required for what will be the first all-IP converged Games network.
All of that high finance stuff is way out of wack with my personal checkbook. My main concern is not having tickets for the Winter Games and probably not getting them. But I do have tickets for the One Year Countdown Celebration on Feb. 12, 2009 in Vancouver. The all-Canadian line-up of entertainment includes singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, Halifax musician Joel Plaskett, young violinist Adrian Anantawan, and the Alberta Ballet. The evening will mark the official one-year countdown of the Winter Games (Feb. 12-28, 2010). Maybe if I close my eyes real tight I’ll see a double salchow or a triple toe loop. I best brush up on the lyrics to O, Canada, just in case.