Glowing and Saddened Hearts in Vancouver
Last night the Georgian team stepped out into the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in what must have been a time of great emotional distress and turmoil for them, what should have been a highpoint of their careers was made bitter by the fatal accident suffered by luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili only hours earlier. Around the glittering arena the Olympic and national flags were raised to half mast in respect.
The opening ceremony itself was dazzling, wonderful entertainment ahead of what Canada hopes to be a successful Winter games. Things have not been perfect at all though for the host country, costs, especially those pertaining to security, have spiralled, costing six times as much as the initial estimate. Weather conditions also have been against the hosts who have been in the rather embarrassing position of having to bring snow in a fleet of trucks to try and get enough of the white stuff on the slopes. Today, the rain has been pouring down around Vancouver and already the Alpine Skiing events for Saturday and Sunday have been postponed.
At the back of all Canadians minds there is probably a little voice muttering away in prayer, and the prayer is "Please Lord don't let this be another Montreal." The Summer games of '76 in Montreal was a financial disaster for the city which spent over two decades trying to pay back the fantastic debts that the games had accumulated.
Hope and effort though are central to what the Olympics are. Despite the rocky start to Vancouver 2010 it can still be a fantastic event. The ski jumpers have been in competition this morning, later on there is ice hockey, luge, speed skating and more. I think one of the great things about about the Winter Olympics for the casual watcher is that so many of the sports involved are so fast and exciting, ice hockey is fast and can be brutal, luge, bobsleigh and skeleton are fast white knuckle rides, snowboarding looks fun and ski jumping is quite frankly barking mad.
Here's to a good games and a couple of glasses of wine whilst watching the curling.