The Olympic Fence
By Spencer Steele
For the last couple months I have had a negative outlook on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It wasn’t until the night of the opening ceremonies that I was truly inspired by the games, and my view completely changed. During the last 2 weeks Vancouver has been criticized by about every foreign media imaginable regarding the snow conditions on Cypress Mountain, the fatal Luge track and the fence surrounding the Olympic Cauldron. The truth is that we have not had the greatest conditions for these Winter Games, but we have made the most of it with the resources we do have. After all, we are Canadians, since 1867 we’ve adapted to our harsh Canadian climates and created the beautiful country we call Canada.
To get the story straight, our Februarys are not usually like this in Vancouver, instead they are quite chilly and accompanied by snow or lots of rain. Despite the lack of snow on Cypress we’ve had some amazing races, including an awesome start to Ski Cross, an entirely new Winter Olympic Sport. Part of this has to do with us trucking in snow to Cypress Mountain from other local mountains.
Another incident was at the Whistler Luge Track, where Georgian athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died after losing control of his Luge sled. After watching the horrific replays I do believe that it was not the athlete’s fault but rather the track itself. An Olympic athlete who was injured on the same track back in November had warned VANOC that the track was too fast and dangerous. However, Luge is a sport of speed; competitors try to race down the track to get the best times. Like every Olympic Committee previously before it, the challenge is to make a faster more competitive track. In an attempt to make the fastest Luge track ever, has Vancouver 2010 represented a limit for the sport? As shown by the death over a week ago, experience and skill can only protect you so much.
Among other controversies, the Olympic Fence has become famous. Like something you would find enclosing a high security prison, the Olympic Fence is a 12 foot chain link fence. After complaints from thousands, the chain link fence was eventually moved back 50 feet closer to the flame and a section cut out so you could take a clean picture. The only problem with this was that you have to be 6 feet tall to be able to take one. After noticing this, VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee) had plexiglass inlaid into the fence so people could have a clear view of the cauldron. Despite all of their efforts, I’m not sure that a large fence, if any fence at all was necessary. I have to give it to them though, as making these changes during such a busy time is very difficult.
Overall, I’ve never seen people in Vancouver so friendly and united together. These Olympics have been truly inspiring, as a Canadian who is paying for them, I have no doubt that they have and will continue to be worth all the headache and costs associated with them.
Till next time,