Vancouver Olympics – Closing Ceremony 2

Well, the Olympic Flame, which had traveled from Delphi, Greece to Vancouver, BC, Canada is now extinguished (or being kept safe there until the Paralympic Games start in 2 weeks?).

Many visitors will stay a few more days to see the City with fewer crowds and less craziness, and we’ll help them along in some of this week’s articles. But, for now, here are my closing thoughts on these Olympics, the final day’s events and the Closing Ceremony.

It’s a big community responsibility to host any large event, let alone a global event. There’s nothing bigger than being responsible for an Olympic Games. About 10 years went into preparation to vye for it and then accomplish it. Lots of community projects went onto the back-burner in a province which has been hurting for a long time.

Apart from construction jobs and small business jobs, the Olympics served to get aboriginal peoples a place at the table, and maybe their lives will be much better for raising awareness of their fellow Canadians. They surely need their support to fix the wrongs they suffer at the hands of the government, usually.

It was significant that the Vancouver Olympic Committee chairman, John Furlong stated the International Olympic Committee’s commitment to the Right To Play, for all children, everywhere. That’s significant, as was dealing with the native people’s, for the first time, anywhere.

Maybe we’re finally making a little progress.

Excitement was at a fever-pitch on Sunday at the smaller Hockey Stadium, next door to BC Place (which held the Closing Ceremony).
The Canadian-USA hockey game was a thriller, and the American goalie takes all the credit for keeping his team in the game, even though he gave up the 3 goals. The American team did not play as well. Simple as that. The Canadians are ecstatic, and doubtlessly current visitors to Canada will be hearing about for a long time!

The 50Km cross-country ski resulted in Norway finally beating its rival, Sweden and there was only 1 second’s difference between Gold and Bronze. How can you even squeeze 3 people’s actions into 1 second? Maybe it’s even an unacceptable thought to do so. One second’s difference in a 30+ mile race! As far as I am concerned, it was a 3-way tie! They received their medals in front of 30,000 people at the Closing Ceremony. What a treat!

The Ceremony itself had some brief moments which showed the great ability of the normally-reserved Canucks laughing at themselves, and that’s always refreshing when a People have enough confidence to do that.

I did not think that they gave enough homage to the Four Nation Chiefs.

I would have liked to see a more formal parade of the flags than there seemed to be, but I have always liked the athletes mingling (as they have done since the Melbourne Olympics in my then home-town, in 1956). I though the big, inflatable beavers and moose were fun, but tacky. But, the cut-outs of Mounties and Hockey-players were even moreso.

I enjoyed hearing the one Canadian woman’s humor in the 4 people brought forth to represent Canada, and was glad that they acknowledged Michael J. Fox and that he is doing that well fighting Parkinson’s disease at his still-young age.

I would have liked to have seen more local groups invited to do the antics they reserved for the “snowboarders”, but some of the people-patterns were lovely. The beautiful human maple-leaves waving in the air were lovely too, and were the most creative thing there. I guess that hit it, there just was NOT enough Creativity in the Closing Ceremony to warrant the world watching it for hours or people paying huge amounts for tickets! You were doing it only because you love the Games and what they represent for Hope in the world.

Behind the scenes, I am surprised that Jacques Rogge, IOC chairman, has threatened to cancel more women’s sports, after already having done so (in the case of women’s softball), when he and the IOC are supposedly committed to parity. We’ll see what happens in Sochi, Russia in 2014 and in London in 2012.

And, we’ll await the mid-April report about the horrendous accident in the luge. Hopefully, it will not be a white-wash or attributed to athlete error, which we know was NOT the case, but that route has already been voiced and shouted down.

Because the next winter games are in Russia, and they did really poorly in these Games, I wonder if the Russians will go back to their old-ways, and I think someone should be watching the Chinese even more closely.

I certainly hope many of the athletes get the chance to see more of Canada, especially those who come from countries where they still struggle for Rights and Freedom. Canada is a welcoming place and Vancouver is now 65% Asian, especially with the influx of Chinese from Hong Kong before it reverted to Communist China.

And, to parents, everywhere, who hope for and work for a better life for their children, we say “thank-you”, as Joannie Rochette, Canadian Olympic figure-skater must be thinking, so much, now that the hoopla is over. She takes her bronze medal back to Quebec, and goes to bury her Mom, her longest and most passionate supporter. The triumph of success and the agony of defeat or of the unchangeable, that’s central to the Games, for sure.

So, for those of you staying in Vancouver for awhile, tomorrow I’ll list some more Free things to do in Vancouver, as I know the Games were expensive!

And stay safe, as a lot of the city workers and emergency staff will probably be at lower levels (after being on such high alerts for 16 + days). And, they’ll have to return to that in 2 weeks for the Paralympics.

Vancouver is a beautiful city, and as the global crowd leaves, you’ll be able to appreciate it in a more normal way. Enjoy!

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