Over the years, I’ve considered the Olympics many things. When I was young and naïve I found them thrilling and inspirational. My more athletic friends may have found them aspirational. My own aspirations stopped at eating the Wheaties, not earning a place on the box, having been born with seemingly no athletic abilities whatsoever.
When I was a little older and a lot more politically aware — nothing like living within spitting distance of first-strike nuclear targets to make you politically aware — I was fascinated at the way governments kidnapped the Games for their own twisted, geopolitical purposes, turning what seemed on the surface no more than schoolyard games into yet another permutation of nuclear brinksmanship. This teeth-gnashing period culminated in the theatre-of-the-absurd revelations that most of the East German female athletes were in fact not women at all but quite possibly aliens stranded on Earth or bizarre genetic experiments gone horribly wrong. If memory serves, this particular genderbending fact was brought to light when virtually all of the unbeatable “Hey Fella” East German women’s swim team showed up at the Olympic pool with bulges in their Speedos that’d make Harry Waters blush.
While many voices bemoaned this state-sanctioned cheating as the death of the Olympics, politics proved to be only a crippling blow, not the ultimate coup de gras. The slide into greed, corruption and extravagance embodied by the corporate takeover — perhaps marriage is a better word — of the Games, begun in 1984 and perfected over the last two decades, has brought us to the pathetic place we find ourselves in today.
The Games, once noble, have now festered into an… Emergency? The Olympics are an emergency?
Waking up and finding your house aflame is an emergency. Finding a Hummer in the ditch, its occupants trapped inside, is an emergency, tempting as it may be to leave them there. The world’s financial system swirling the bowl is an emergency, tempting as it may be to flush all the bankers and money whores the rest of the way down.
But the Olympics? An emergency?
Apparently so, at least downvalley in Vangroovy. Vancouver city council — already dealing with the biggest disaster to hit the city in decades: snow on the streets and a “fleet” of snowplows seemingly bought second-hand from Jamaica. Who’da thought; snow in the winter Olympics host city! — has asked Rear-Entry Campbell for emergency borrowing powers to fund the shortfall in construction funds needed to complete their own athletes’ village/swish condo project. Shortfall in this case being a euphemism for the phrase “all of it.” Emergency being a euphemism for “without the agreement of the people who will ultimately be on the hook to pay the money.”