I’ve mentioned Fleet Street’s disdain for the Vancouver Olympics before. It’s become its own little side-story to the coverage of the games. But it’s not just the Brits.
After the exit of their men’s hockey team from the games, Russian opinions were channelled by that staunch Slav Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey in Pravda:
We all knew it weeks before the game started, with accusations about doping being levelled at Russian athletes, and we all saw it on day one of the games, with the death of a Georgian athlete on a corner which miraculously was elevated the following day. Vancouver is not fit to hold the Winter Olympics.
[. . .]
We all know Canada has problems with the future lines drawn on Arctic maps and we all know Canada lives in the shadow of its larger neighbour to the south. The abject cruelty shown by Canadian soldiers in international conflicts is scantily referred to, as indeed is the utter incapacity of this county to host a major international event, due to its inferiority complex, born of a trauma being the skinny and weakling bro to a beefy United States and a colonial outpost to the United Kingdom, whose Queen smiles happily from Canadian postage stamps.
Maybe it is this which makes the Canadians so…retentive, or cowardly.
[. . .]
Everybody who knows anything about Olympic skating, Winter Olympic sports and international politics will infer from the pitiful and dangerous conditions provided by the Canadian authorities, which already caused one death, that Vancouver is mutton dressed as lamb. Take off the outer veneer and the stench is horrific.
However, not to be outdone by a mere “Russian” journalist, the mighty Times of London weighs in with their more nuanced condemnation of Canada and the Vancouver Olympics:
The idea was for Canada to emerge as gracious hosts of the Winter Olympics and glorious winners as well. Alas, the Canadians have come across as a bunch of mean-spirited, chippy, unsporting losers.
Things have come to a pretty pass when you find yourself rooting for the United States. But I really have been cheering for stars and stripes rather than maple leaves. The Canadian shenanigans in Vancouver have alienated the entire world.
[. . .]
The Canadians have taken an aggressive line towards any criticism. This kneejerk reaction is both small-minded and small-nation. It is not hostile to point out an error, particularly when the error is rudely thrust in your face.
It is customary at the Olympics to say that the nation holding them has “come of age”. China “came of age” in 2008; Australia “came of age” with the Sydney Games of 2000. In fact, Australia also “came of age” with the Melbourne Games of 1956; that’s because this observation has become an Olympic custom.
But Canada has not come of age in Vancouver 2010. Canada has regressed into a sneering but ultimately impotent adolescence. It’s been — well, rather unattractive on the whole.
So, there you go, Canada. Aren’t you ashamed? Don’t you feel properly dressed down by your betters? Or, like Simon Barnes’ “adolescent”, do you feel like telling him to STFU and GTFO?