Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics coming to an end

Sunday, 28 February, 2010

March 1 Update: CBC News “Vancouver cleans up from Olympic party

Feb 28, 2010 Update: More info re 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony. Toronto Star, “Rapture on Yonge St. as fans celebrate hockey gold“. A nice “summary video” by Stephen Brunt of Globe and Mail (beautifully done).

***

It is with some sadness that I see Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics coming to an end with the Closing ceremony starting in minutes. I have tagged a few entries with 2010 Olympics and I won’t repeat what I wrote previously (the good and the bad).

What I want to add is the sense of Canadians realizing whathas long been with us: When we put our HEART AND MINDS to it , we can do anything! (as a reader wrote in a comment)

As I believe and wrote in 2008,

“[…] we may not have the power of military might (like the U.S.) or power of money and foreign reserves (like China) but our encompassing diverse Canadian society gives us the power to understand, to mediate and most important of all, to appreciate others who are different from us. Our understanding and appreciation of others make us strong and vibrant while these skills also make us valuable in international trade and other business or non-business endeavours.”

Canadians have a unique and powerful role in the world and it is up to us to be the best that we can be.

I am so proud to be a Canadian!

█ ♥ █ GO CANADA GO █ ♥ █


█ ♥ █ GO CANADA GO █ ♥ █

Sunday, 28 February, 2010

14 Gold, 7 Silver, 5 Bronze, and all the great athletes in Vancouver 2010 Olympics ! So Happy ! Go Canada Go !!!

So proud of the Men Hockey team this afternoon. So proud of all the Canadian Olympic athletes and the top athletes we saw from around the world in Vancouver 2010!

Canada has now broken the record for most gold medals won at a single Olympic Winter Games – 14.

I am so proud to be Canadian today!

█ ♥ █ GO CANADA GO █ ♥ █


Joannie Rochette will carry Canadian flag

Sunday, 28 February, 2010

CTV News is reporting, Joannie Rochette will carry Canadian flag.

Joannie has been so inspiring.


Joannie Rochette & Petra Majdic: joint recipients of Vancouver 2010 Terry Fox Award

Sunday, 28 February, 2010

Excerpt from Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics press release (emphasis added),

Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic and Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette were named the joint recipients today of the Vancouver 2010 Terry Fox Award, named after the legendary young amputee runner who continues to touch the hearts of Canadians three decades after his ambitious cross-country run to find a cure for cancer. […]

Petra showed true grit when she picked herself up and stayed on to compete at Whistler Olympic Park in the women’s sprint classic after sustaining an injury while warming up on the course. She performed in pain knowing her country and family were counting on her to win Slovenia’s first medal at the Games ― and she did with a bronze medal finish.”

Joannie also touched all of us this week with her determination to push on and compete here at Canada’s Games even as she struggled with the painful sudden loss of her mother, Thérèse. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when she took to the ice on Tuesday after her mother’s death. We all held our breath and willed her on as she gave a remarkable, dignified performance ― one that helped her earn bronze. Her grief, determination and her grace have touched all of us.”

Both women are an inspiration to all of us and have provided us with unforgettable performances at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games,” continued Furlong.

What Joannie & Petra have done are awe inspiring for Canadians and people from around the world. These are lessons that will stay with us when we face our own challenges in life.

Congrats Joannie & Petra.


Joannie Rochette’s world inspiring courage & strength

Thursday, 25 February, 2010

Joannie Rochette won a bronze medal in figure skating (with video) at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics tonight. But Joannie has won hearts of Canadians (and the world) days ago when we heard of the tragedy of the passing of her mom Thérèse.

I think we all learned from Joannie‘s courage & strength that most of our “difficult” challenges will not be even remotely comparable to what you had to overcome.

Congrats and thank you Joannie. Your father is so proud of you and I know your mom would been so proud of you as well.

News from CNN and an excerpt from CTV “IOC president joins well wishers in Rochette support” (emphasis added),

At an event to honour Olympic mothers at Canada Olympic House, dozens of Olympic moms past and present observed a moment of silence in honour of Therese Rochette after an emcee read a letter from Joannie.

I never thought life could change so quickly, but it has,” Rochette said in the letter.

“I’m fortunate enough to have a close family and friends that are helping me. I don’t know if I could have gotten to where I am today without these incredible people supporting me. I’m sorry I cannot be here with you tonight, but please know that I feel your love and support.”

My thoughts are with you and your family and loved ones.


Curling: The slowest game in Vancouver 2010 Olympics

Thursday, 25 February, 2010

There are many games of speed (e.g. skeleton, luge, speed skating) in the Winter Olympics but one of the slowest games is probably Curling.

The people who thought it is easy to throw a granite stone weighing 20kg has no idea the challenge and fun in the game. Curling is a game of great skills, strategy, and sometimes luck. It is is games of the tiniest margin. And how often can you something as tiny as a human hair affecting the result of a game?

Canada women team just won its semi-final game against Switzerland and is going to compete for gold! Great job Cheryl Bernard and her Calgary team based in the Calgary Curling Club (established 1888).

Go Canada Go !!!


Canada’s women curling team secures top spot

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

I am so excited to read the CBC report, “Canada’s Bernard secures curling top spot“. As I wrote previously, lets not underestimate the Chinese women team.

Go Canada Go !!!


Chinese Women’s Curling team at Vancouver Olympics

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

What a big difference two years has made to the Chinese team! The Canadian team won two years ago and I wrote at the time,

“I agree with Kent Gilchrist that we should “welcome global growth of curling, not fear it“. I think it is too narrow-minded to stop teaching other countries and helping them to be better players.”

Now the Chinese Women’s Curling team lead by Bingyu Wang (skip) is kicking many team’s asses at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics including, unfortunately, the Canadian team.

OK, it is painful to see our beloved Canadian team being beaten, but for the betterment of the sport, it is important to see other teams get better too.

Go Canada Go !!!

***

Feb 23, 2010 Update: Watch the Russia vs China (7-4) game online. End 3, first big mistake that compounded.

For the record (Via WaPo, emphasis added) “Furious Chinese coach ready to walk away” By JANIE McCAULEY
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 23, 2010; 12:56 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canadian-bred Chinese curling coach Dan Rafael is so furious with what he calls a lack of passion by his players he said he plans to quit coaching this group once his contract is up. [Kempton: If this is Dan’s way to motivate his team, it might have worked. Will see.] Read the rest of this entry »


NBC Tribute to Canada!

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

NBC Tribute to Canada!

“Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and The United States, in a pre-recorded short film that aired on NBC prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Feb. 14th, 2010.”

[HT BMD]


Go Canada Go !!! Be the best that you can be! (In spite of and ignoring the Canadian Olympic Committee)

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

The Canadian Olympic Committee has things that it should apologize for. But I am shocked to see COC apologizing for Canada’s performance in the middle of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, especially when there are still Canadian athletes ready to compete for Canada.

My message to Canadian Olympic athletes:

Go Canada Go !!! Be the best that you can be!

My message to Canadian Olympic Committee:

You suck! You should NOT have started a post-mortum now, in the midst of the Olympics. It is just bad form to pour cold water onto our hardworking athletes. COC, please shut up and let the athletes be the best they can be, and some of their best may be good enough for a medal or even gold.

News from Calgary Sun, “Blown the podium

CNC News, “Own the Podium dream over: Canadian official


Olympic Skater Rochette’s mother dies in Vancouver

Sunday, 21 February, 2010

Feb 25, 2010 Update: Joannie Rochette’s world inspiring courage & strength. Congrats Joannie in winning bronze.

***

CBC News “Skater Rochette’s mother dies in Vancouver“,

Joannie Rochette’s Winter Olympic hopes have taken a tragic turn.

Therese Rochette, 55, mother of the Canadian figure skater, died early Sunday at Vancouver General Hospital, two days before her daughter is to take the ice in the women’s singles competition.

I am deeply sorry for Jo’s lost and will support her in whatever she decides to do with respect to the upcoming competitions.


Shop till you drop @ 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Sunday, 21 February, 2010

An excerpt from Andrew Willis’ “The Shopping Olympics” (emphasis added),

Vancouver crowds have embraced the Games, and Olympic merchandise, with a passion that borders on frenzy.
Shoppers are lining up at 5:30 in the morning to get into an Olympic superstore that doesn’t open until 9. During the day, they wait up to 90 minutes to get in. The retailer expected 10,000 customers a day in the downtown Vancouver store. Late last week, under sunny skies, up to 50,000 shoppers went through the doors.

Half way through the Games, Hudson’s Bay Co. is selling Olympic-themed merchandise at three times the expected rate. More than 20,000 transactions a day are being run through its tills. […]

The top selling item is the red mitts that Ms. Brooks is pitching: The Bay has moved 3 million pairs, with 100,000 a day selling since the Games began. The chain will soon run out of inventory, as only 3.5 million mitts were knitted, and the retailer has decided that it’s too late to make more. The No. 2 seller is Olympic hoodies, with 2 million sold at $50 each, followed by lumberjack-style rally scarves, a $20 purchase.

Showing our love and support for the athletes and our Canada, the $10 red mitts were priced right and worked like magic. I hope the red mitts will help provide the athletes with needed funding for the years to come. I will see if I can get some numbers from Hudson’s Bay Co. after the game is finished.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Red MittensVancouver 2010 Olympic Red Mittens


Party Vancouver Party! Go Canada Go!

Sunday, 21 February, 2010

Canadian Press is reporting “Robson Street: A palpable feeling of patriotism” (emphasis added),

Vancouver’s downtown Robson Street – a standard-issue urban retail strip in its pre-Olympic life – has blossomed into a vibrant, giddy pedestrian hub, replete with street dancers, skaters, caped patriots wrapped in flags and a crazy popular zip line that hurls screaming participants across the sky every couple of minutes.

With traffic cordoned off near its nexus outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, the street has been transformed from a sea of cars into a tidal wave of cheerful humanity.

Throughout the day and night, throngs of people saunter the street, taking in the sights or becoming part of the action themselves.

This video clip has some daytime footage.

P.S. From Toronto Star, a nice video of what people wear: “Olympic hockey obsession


Funeral of Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

Saturday, 20 February, 2010

In memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili (1988 – 2010).

Feb 20, 2010, CBC news video report “Georgians mourn Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili who died in a practice run.”


2010 Vancouver Olympic Cauldron/Prison – a sad sight of our times

Tuesday, 16 February, 2010

Olympic Cauldron by Stv..

(photos via stv @ Flickr)

Pictures worth thousand words.

2010 Vancouver Olympic Cauldron/Prison.

Whether this is for security reasons or to keep protestors away,

the fences is a sad sight of our times.

Update: There is talk of a VANOC news conference tomorrow.

Olympic Cauldron by Stv..


Gold Canada Gold !!! Alexandre Bilodeau

Sunday, 14 February, 2010

Thanks Alexandre, you made the whole of Canada proud!!!

Gold Canada Gold !!!

Read the news of Alexandre Bilodeau winning gold and watch his performance. An excerpt,

“It’s really getting me right now,” he [Alexandre] said. “My brother has been an inspiration for me. Growing up with a brother that’s handicapped, you learn so much.”

At home in Montreal, Bilodeau was always lightning quick, a natural athlete who excelled at hockey then devoted himself to freestyle skiing. Frederic, five years older and slowed down by cerebral palsy, did not begrudge but his brother but instead became his biggest supporter.

“It puts everything in perspective. If I have the chance to train, I’ll take it. Even if it’s raining, I’ll take it. He doesn’t even have that chance,” Bilodeau said. “He has all the right to complain. And he never complains.”

Here is Alexandre’s Wikipedia page.


Masked & violent Vancouver Olympic rioters

Saturday, 13 February, 2010

Masked & violent Vancouver Olympic rioters should be fully prosecuted under the law, each and every single one of them. From CTV (emphasis added),

Seven protesters were arrested and will likely be charged with assault and possession of a dangerous weapon after 200 anti-Olympic demonstrators marched through downtown Vancouver Saturday, smashing plate glass windows and overturning newspaper boxes.

Police say they recovered a bag with a hammer. One protester had a bicycle chain wrapped around his fist when he was arrested, police also say.

A criminal element mingled with the legitimate anti-Olympic protestors. “The criminal element apparently willing to wield anything that might cause damage or injury marched among about 200 legitimate protestors,” police said in a statement released about an hour after police broke up their march.

These rioters are NOT the same as other peaceful protestors that protest their cause peacefully. The moment someone put a mask on his/her face, carry tools to destroy properties, they become public enemies and shall be prosecuted and punished fully under the law.

These rioters don’t really care about the causes (be it anit-proverty, anti-Olympics, etc), they were there to destroy and gain attention. What should happen is they should get the full attention of the law and be punished according to our judicial system.

News from CBC (with video), CTV, AP.


2010 Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony vs 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

Saturday, 13 February, 2010


Photo credit: nucksfan604 @ Flickr


Photo credit: nucksfan604 @ Flickr


Photo credit: nucksfan604 @ Flickr

Let me make it clear, it is absolutely unfair to compare the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony to the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. The Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony was estimated to cost over US $100 million with lot more human resources put into the preparation. At the same time, I think it is important to capture lessons and learn something from the mistakes & failure of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony as these lessons, I believe, have wider implications.

***

As a proud Canadian, I wished that none of the mistakes or failure happened but since they happened, I want to talk about them openly.

1) Technical malfunction/failure: one of the four pillar of the Olympic cauldron didn’t rise up (the one that Catriona Le May Doan supposed to light failed to rise up). And the indoor cauldron just took an impossible length of time to rise up which was a failure in itself. You see, the fact that, at the end, one of them didn’t rise up was extremely embarrassing for the organizers, and more important for us Canadians which are the host of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

For a proud nation that is famous for designing perfectly running robotic arms in space, the “beeping” reason that we couldn’t get a mechanical pillar to work proper is a total embarrassment. Someone has some explaining to do.

2) Mistake: The Olympic flag didn’t “fly” freely in the stadium last night. It is pretty much a standard operating procedure now to have air blowing out of the flag pole to make flags “flying” freely and beautifully indoor. The Olympic flag pole had those air blowing thing but it didn’t work as it should.

3) Potential serious failure: Wayne Gretzky carrying of the Olympic torch to the outdoor cauldron could have ended badly. Judging from the people running freely (too freely and wildly) and seemingly uncontrollably along the police truck, both the crowd or Wayne could have been hurt. And that risk, in hindsight, was a lot higher than an acceptable level for an international Live event.

4) Unwillingness of the Canadian media to report on the malfunctions: CTV and a few other Canadian media outlets, in the main opening ceremony reports, were unwilling to report on the malfunctions during the opening ceremony. May be because the opening ceremony was supposed to be a “happy event”. At the same time, it is as if the many Canadian media outlets decided to self-censor their reporting and NOT bring the malfunction to anyone’s attentions (or much de-emphasize them).

The likes of AP and other international media outlets had no problem reporting what happened. I guess my point here is that news should be reported, good or bad. When citizens of a country have to go to international sources to find out what happen in his/her own country, then we have a serious problem.

Bottom line

With all the flaws, mistakes, and malfunctions we had in 2010 Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony, I had a great time watching it. I LOVE it because I am Canadian. The various Canadians performing on stage were spectacular.

Now, I am not trying to single anyone out, it is just that the video is easily available to me. I want to say I had a great time watching k.d. lang sang Hallelujah at ”2010 Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremony”.

Here is k.d. lang‘s rendition of Hallelujah in a different occasion and I think k.d. topped her own previous performance last night. Beautiful.


The death of Nodar Kumaritashvili (and his love to luge)

Saturday, 13 February, 2010

Feb 20th, 2010 Update: Funeral of Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

Feb 14th 9:10pm Update: Heart breaking report from CBC, “Georgian luger’s father won’t watch fatal crash

Feb 14th 10:00am Update: Looks like Martin Rogers’ report may have been mistaken that Nodar’s dad was NOT with him in Vancouver. News from CTV “Our hearts are broken“.

Feb 13th 10:10am Update: The starting point of the competition is now lowered to the women starting point (30m about ~10 storey lower), the protective wall raised, and the course profile changed.

***

(See above note for revision update) First of all, Martin Rogers wrote in “Nodar Kumaritashvili loved to luge“,

Kumaritashvili grew up immersed in winter athletics, with his father Felix a world-class bobsled athlete and coach.

Felix previously coached the French national team and had hoped his son would follow him into bobsled, but the local facilities and the cost of the sport made luge a more sensible option.

[…] A week ago, Felix and Nodar left Bakuriani together, driving four hours to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi before the 22-hour trip to Canada.

On Friday, Felix suffered a fate no father should ever have to, witnessing his son die on a training run as Nodar slid down the track at nearly 90 mph before crashing into a metal post, ensuring the world would know his name after the most tragic of circumstances.

From CNN “Changes coming to Olympic luge track after fatal crash“,

The Vancouver Olympic Committee and the luge federation, known by its French initials FIL, outlined their findings in a joint statement.

“It appears after a routine run, the athlete came late out of curve 15 and did not compensate properly to make correct entrance into curve 16,” they said. “This resulted in a late entrance into curve 16 and although the athlete worked to correct the problem he eventually lost control of the sled resulting in the tragic accident. The technical officials of the FIL were able to retrace the path of the athlete and concluded there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.”

The track will reopen after officials raise the walls at the exit of curve 16 and change the “ice profile,” they said.

“This was done as a preventative measure, in order to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again,” the statement said.

[…] Sports Illustrated’s David Epstein, who is covering the Olympics for the magazine, told CNN’s “Situation Room” that the Whistler course is the fastest in the world “and not by a little.”

He noted that while most luge courses “flatten out” around the 11th turn, the Whistler track “just keeps on dropping so there’s really kind of no break from gathering speed toward the end.”

Epstein said some athletes had been complaining about the speed of the course and speculating that this Winter Games could be the first time the sport sees a competitor hit 100 mph.

Here is a NYT Blog takes the findings “Officials Say Athlete, Not Track, Caused Crash“,

The crash that resulted in the death of the luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was caused by his errors on the course and not a deficiency in the Whistler Sliding Centre course, the Olympic organizing committee and the sport’s international governing body said in a joint statement issued late Friday.

[In the comments left by readers:]
To blame the competitor is obnoxious. The punishment for lack of experience or error should NOT be death.” 46 Readers agreed at press time.

And the most unfortunate comment/report comes from UK Telegraph Ian Chadband, Chief Sports Correspondent in Vancouver, “Winter Olympics 2010: Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death overshadows opening ceremony

For the big question being asked here today as the first medals were about to be contested was whether it was Canada’s own over-zealous attitude, determined to “Own the Podium” by limiting their opposition’s practice time at the Whistler ice track which might have contributed to a relative World Cup novice like Kumaritashvili ending up in such an horrific crash.

Georgian officials played down suggestions that inexperience played a part in the crash which saw him fly off the track at the notorious 16th and final curve of the lightning track and straight into a metal column at nearly 90mph. Inexperience, anyway, could not explain how Armin Zoeggeler, the brilliant reigning champion, was one of four other sliders who suffered accidents too.

Telegraph Sport had highlighted earlier this week the growing dangers posed in the push for greater speed and more dangerous manoeuvres in the Games’ bid to woo the youth market.

I think and hope VANOC has put in the needed modifications to make the course safer to compete in. I am not an expert in the sport to comment on the technical causes of the crash but it seemed to me that blaming the dead can be viewed as a seriously distasteful act and unless the officials can be 500% sure, it should not have been said.

Having said the above, it is totally unfair Mr. Chadband to insinuate

“whether it was Canada’s own over-zealous attitude, determined to “Own the Podium” by limiting their opposition’s practice time at the Whistler ice track”

I believe the decisions to limit practice times in many different competitions were technical decisions completely due to the unseasonably warm weather. When it rained like it did in the various courses and with snow being flown and trucked in, I am surprised Mr. Chadband would accuse Canada of ill motives in limiting practice time.

Again, my heart goes to Nodar Kumaritashvili and his family and loved ones. The pain is even sharper for me as I now know Nodar’s father was there to see his son crashed and died. So terribly sad.


Two Hallelujah (k.d. lang & Leonard Cohen)

Friday, 12 February, 2010

Watched k.d. sang Hallelujah at “2010 Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremony” and really enjoyed it. Here are two other versions I enjoyed.

k.d. lang‘s version.

Leonard Cohen‘s version.

2017 Feb 5th update: I Loe this “must listen” podcast episode “Hallelujah” (~39 minutes, download or listen/stream here) by Malcolm Gladwell. Colin Marshall in an Open Culture article about the podcast wrote,

Artists of the Picasso model execute their works seemingly at a stroke, often after long periods spent consciously or unconsciously assembling a coherent vision. Artists of the Cézanne model execute, execute, and execute again, refining their way from an imperfect first product to a much more perfect final one.


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