Jump to content

IOC dismisses Games criticism, praises VANOC


mr.x
 Share

Recommended Posts

Olympic chiefs dismiss Games criticism

The Globe and Mail

By Rod Mickleburgh, The Globe and Mail Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:17 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Senior Olympic officials are lining up to defend the 2010 Winter Olympics against a torrent of criticism, based on the Games' troubled first few days.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told critics yesterday to chill out, attributing most of the harsh reviews to a bored news media.

"There's not enough going on for you guys [the media]," Mr. Pound said. "To say these Olympics are not well-organized, that they're not great, and people aren't having a wonderful time is, quite frankly, silly."

VANOC boss John Furlong pointed to the tens of thousands of people thronging the streets of Vancouver, as the Games have progressed. "I've never seen this before, and I've been going to Games for a long time," he said. "All the venues for the first day of hockey and curling are full. This has never happened before. I think IOC officials are quite stunned."

As for what he referred to as "this demon on Cypress Mountain" and other problems, Mr. Furlong said the measure of an organizing committee is how you fix them.

"That's what we're going to try to do in every case, and as we get closer and closer to the end, I think people will find they've had a fantastic time," Mr. Furlong said, in an interview with CTV.

IOC communications director Mark Adams derided the growing media criticism, particularly in the British press, with one reporter labelling them "the worst Games ever."

"You wonder which city they're reporting from," Mr. Adams said. "What they're saying bears absolutely no relation to what I've seen at the competitions. It's been amazing. You wonder where these people have been."

Mr. Pound dismissed the thousands of ticket cancellations at Cypress Mountain as "a predictable blip," said groups like the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society wouldn't be satisfied with "100-per-cent French" at the opening ceremonies, and pointed out that no one has any say over the weather.

"The Olympic gods are capricious. You have ice and snow since the beginning of time, until you get to the Winter Games, and you have heat waves, like we did in Calgary," Mr. Pound said. "It happens all the time."

The outspoken Olympic official, former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, also took a shot at those criticizing the high-speed luge track for being too dangerous, after the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

"The outcome was rather extreme, and that's a shame," he said. "But people are calling into question the very existence of luge, saying the track was dangerously designed and so on. That's just silly. It's not."

Mr. Pound, who has attended every Winter Olympics since 1976, said current critics have no idea of the many glitches experienced by previous Games.

"You should have been in Lake Placid [site of the 1980 Winter Olympics]. The joke running around Olympic circles for decades was that, whenever anything got screwed up, people would say: 'Oh, this was organized by Lake Placid.'"

Even the much-vaunted Calgary Winter Olympics of 1988 had problems, Mr. Pound recalled. "We had 75 different events rescheduled during those Games. We had six days in a row when the temperature was warmer than in Miami. People were watching ski-jumping with no shirts on. This is nothing here," he said.

"When you compare these Games to Torino or Lake Placid or anywhere else, VANOC is a pretty well-oiled machine."

Not even the abrupt, unprecedented cancellation of 28,000 standing-room tickets for snowboard events at Cypress because the fenced-off area became unsafe perturbed Mr. Pound. "You can't have them up there standing in the mud, but is that the end of life as we know it? I mean, not really.... Hey, stuff happens."

Mr. Pound said VANOC has done a remarkable job responding to problems as they've arisen.

His only criticism? "They probably should have brought in an extra live chicken to sacrifice for weather. That's the only thing I would have done."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ to be quite frank, what he's saying is all quite true. There's very little truth to much of the criticism we've received.

And I'll re-emphasize on one of Pound's points: it seems that VANOC has resolved the "empty seat syndrome" problem seen at Torino, Beijing, and especially at Athens. Every event is packed, 85-90% of the seats are filled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ to be quite frank, what he's saying is all quite true. There's very little truth to much of the criticism we've received.

And I'll re-emphasize on one of Pound's points: it seems that VANOC has resolved the "empty seat syndrome" problem seen at Torino, Beijing, and especially at Athens. Every event is packed, 85-90% of the seats are filled.

X: i believein poundin this case. especially regarding lake placid. i've read a several articles on how badly lake placid was organized.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good old Dick is like Jeremiah some times; with that voice in the wilderness when the crazed cronies of the wily old falangist were uppermost in the IOC bunker. He's got a decent surplus of cred however we all recall his snit when he was given an almost Chicago-like vote during the election for the WOF's successor back in 2001. You can understand his motives and emotions, but I wonder how close he is to the inner sanctum (where the likes of JR are way more shadowy than the blatant misdeeds of Samatanch's era), and in turn is he really getting and giving the full story?

Anyway like any franchise operation the IOC will defend the franchisee (i.e. VANOC) because if it doesn't then the waiting line for new sign ups may dwindle. I'm not saying that these games are a crock and the IOC is living in a fantasy world...far from it. But the IOC won't take VANOC to task. In fact from memory its only been ATHOC that got a boot up the date, and that was way before Athens actually hosted the games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IOC communications director Mark Adams derided the growing media criticism, particularly in the British press, with one reporter labelling them "the worst Games ever."

I've not seen a lot of critism in the press. The BBC is constantly saying how good they are (and i agree), one BBC reporter (Adrian Warner) thinks the Olympics are the worst thing ever and constantly makes articles blasting the London games, and is currently doing it in Vancouver.

The Sun is blasting the BBC for sending people to Vancouver.

But other than that, most people are saying these are fantastic games - shame about the weather.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not seen a lot of critism in the press. The BBC is constantly saying how good they are (and i agree), one BBC reporter (Adrian Warner) thinks the Olympics are the worst thing ever and constantly makes articles blasting the London games, and is currently doing it in Vancouver.

The Sun is blasting the BBC for sending people to Vancouver.

But other than that, most people are saying these are fantastic games - shame about the weather.

And don't forget the fine folks over at The Guardian. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why do you pay so much attention to such wimps who would, if everything ran perfectly, criticise the Games even then, for being "too smooth, too glitzy" or something like that? As long as there are mostly positive reviews of the Vancouver Games so far, I don't care a sh#t about their tirades.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As others have pointed out. VANOC has jumped through hoops to deal with weather issues that many other organizing committees from the past would have crumbled under. Cyprus may have been a less than favourable choice, but after temperatures exceeding 10C for days in a row and what seems like a never ending rain storm, the fact that events were run there at all is actually amazing and a testament to what VANOC has accomplished.

And the venues are FULL. We've all seen Games that appears to be models of great organization except the stands were empty. Athens? Beijing? And full venues means transportation problems for the first few days. Every games has had its glitches. Usually after the first few days they disappear and this is going to happen at Vancouver as well.

And guess what folks. It's 10C in Sochi today. And rain is forecast as well. So this is going to happen there too. Check this out: SOCHI WEATHER

Some of the world press needs to take a valium.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ to be quite frank, what he's saying is all quite true. There's very little truth to much of the criticism we've received.

And I'll re-emphasize on one of Pound's points: it seems that VANOC has resolved the "empty seat syndrome" problem seen at Torino, Beijing, and especially at Athens. Every event is packed, 85-90% of the seats are filled.

not that i don't think that both you and pound would defend the absolute flawlessness of these games if every athlete and spectator died of sarin gas tomorrow, but i do agree that mostly all the criticism derives from a bored media (fueled by an unspectacular group of athletes?) and not really from anything vanoc has done wrong.

the weather is the weather. i'm going to have to take a hit when my buyer demands a refund for his new snowboarding tickets, but that isn't anyone's fault except for lame cosport who makes it nauseatingly difficult to accomplish absolutely anything anyway.

vanoc could offer box office refunds in cash, i suppose...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canadians and all future prospective hosts, re the press' criticism of the Games...remember they have to file stories. And if evrything worked like a clock, then how boring would it be to report that? :blink: I know I'd go stark crazy if I didn't file anything negative or something that wasn't right. Filing good AND bad stories is all part of the job.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regards to weather, it's going to be sunny for the next 7-days with temperatures reaching a high of 13 degrees C on some days. It'll maintain the incredible atmosphere in the city, but Cypress might see some more troubles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So come on folks, let's starting naming names...who agreed to Cypress? Are we talking VANOC, the IOC, the IFs whose sports are on at this venue, the city government, BC's provincial government, the TV rights owners?

We ALL know that winter games are at the mercy of weather. And the weather on Cypress has been unseasonably warm in record setting ways. However...what bright spark decided that a marginal lower mountain area would be better than going up towards Whistler?

Or, was it a must do because higher altitude venues had transport or other issues?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So come on folks, let's starting naming names...who agreed to Cypress? Are we talking VANOC, the IOC, the IFs whose sports are on at this venue, the city government, BC's provincial government, the TV rights owners?

We ALL know that winter games are at the mercy of weather. And the weather on Cypress has been unseasonably warm in record setting ways. However...what bright spark decided that a marginal lower mountain area would be better than going up towards Whistler?

Or, was it a must do because higher altitude venues had transport or other issues?

Yeah, in hindsight Cypress seems to be the one of the worst decisions of the games. I saw a report on Oz TV here was also mentioning it was partly for the TV views it would give down onto Vancouver city and waters - which I've actually only seen once so far (and yes, it IS pretty).

But is transport also a case? Could Whistler have accomodated the extra events okay?

Edited by Sir Roltel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, in hindsight Cypress seems to be the one of the worst decisions of the games. I saw a report on Oz TV here was also mentioning it was partly for the TV views it would give down onto Vancouver city and waters - which I've actually only seen once so far (and yes, it IS pretty).

But is transport also a case? Could Whistler have accomodated the extra events okay?

I know it's a bit like comparing apples with oranges, but only 40 odd kilometres to the west of where I live is a similar area that is approximately 1000-1200 metres above sea level, has some good views of Sydney and has often experienced snow. Course no one in their right mind would think to have half pipe in Katoomba :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's a bit like comparing apples with oranges, but only 40 odd kilometres to the west of where I live is a similar area that is approximately 1000-1200 metres above sea level, has some good views of Sydney and has often experienced snow. Course no one in their right mind would think to have half pipe in Katoomba :P

Sydney 2022!!!!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sydney 2022!!!!!!!!

Okay...we've sorted out the freestyle skiing SR...I'm thinking Canterbury for Ice Hockey/figure skating/curling, Homebush for ceremonies, the old Australia's Wonderland Snowy River Rampage course foe the bob/luge/skeleton, Lithgow for biathlon and cross country, the Dunc Grey velodrome with ice for speed skating out at Bankstown..so that just leaves alpine and ski jumping :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay...we've sorted out the freestyle skiing SR...I'm thinking Canterbury for Ice Hockey/figure skating/curling, Homebush for ceremonies, the old Australia's Wonderland Snowy River Rampage course foe the bob/luge/skeleton, Lithgow for biathlon and cross country, the Dunc Grey velodrome with ice for speed skating out at Bankstown..so that just leaves alpine and ski jumping :lol:

We annex NZ and hold it at Queenstown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a Vancouverite and a believer in the truth I take all this crap personally. And I find that's helping quite a lot.

When I hear someone crapping on Vanoc I challenge them. I push them to explain themselves. I bring up evidence that refutes what they're saying--which is usually hearsay and rumour. And each time they either say "I didn't think of that," or "really? I didn't know that," or "I guess you're right."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a Vancouverite and a believer in the truth I take all this crap personally. And I find that's helping quite a lot.

When I hear someone crapping on Vanoc I challenge them. I push them to explain themselves. I bring up evidence that refutes what they're saying--which is usually hearsay and rumour. And each time they either say "I didn't think of that," or "really? I didn't know that," or "I guess you're right."

Even Stephen Colbert embraced us, while David Letterman is slamming us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...