POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GARY MASON IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
"But if you're going to suggest, as Olympic critics do, that the Games have cost $6-billion, at least have the decency to say that a good chunk of that amount – $4-billion, in fact – has gone to things that were going to get built anyway."
This is just a roundabout updating of Mayor Drapeau's infamous line about Olympics and deficits and having babies.
Of course, in the case of Montreal 1976, we were left with a whopper of a deficit, and some of the infrastructure was poorly designed and built in the rush, yielding far less utility in the future than structures carefully done over time.
There's no reason on earth a city the size of Vancouver, not really a terribly large city, would have been spending $4billion on infrastructure.
And the comment on the immense security cost, above, is on the mark: we are at the point where a public event requiring this much security is not worth it.
The excesses of the modern Olympics are beyond counting, but they may perhaps be best symbolized by the Olympic Torch Relay. It costs a fortune to pull off this meaningless quasi-barbaric ritual in a country the size of Canada.
And what are its origins? The 1936 Olympics in Germany, a country under great international pressure at the time over its suitability to host the Olympics and a country then given to lavish quasi-barbaric rituals.
The infamous Joseph Goebbels put the first Torch Relay into the modern Olympics, and we still mindlessly repeat it.
It has no connection to the origins of the Olympics, and, indeed, the entire modern excess called the Olympics has no relation to the ancient, relatively simple event.
Vancouver, as was China, is a gigantic, immensely expensive Las Vegas show, a glitzy, vacuous temporary temple to sports not even paid for by the people enjoying it.