Ready or Not, here they come! This weekend brings the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver British Columbia to homes and laptops all over the world. True fans will need more than a television broadcast schedule to stay current. Fortunately, it’s 2010! In this day and age you can use your PC and smartphone to get the coverage you need–regardless of where in the world the right coverage may air.
NBC has the U.S. broadcast rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics, so the best place for U.S. viewers to start looking for coverage is at the NBCOlympics.com Web site. Prepare your PC by ensuring that it has the most recent versions of the Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight plug-ins; you’ll need them to view the slide shows and to stream video. If you don’t mind following NBC’s online streaming schedule, it offers a fairly good way to watch the Olympics.
Like MLB.com and other sports streaming sites, NBC even provides a BOSS button that brings up a generic Windows desktop–complete with empty spreadsheet–in case you want to view the events discreetly while at work. If you turn your nose up at Yankee-centric Olympics coverage, consider seeking out an international broadcast feed from another country. Unfortunately, just as U.S. fans abroad can have trouble picking up NBC’s coverage, broadcast rights issues can prevent a viewer inside the United States from watching, say, a BBC broadcast.
Many countries have hosted the Winter Olympics. France has been host to the Games three times. The United States has hosted the Games four times, which is more than any other country. Several countries including Italy, Japan, Austria and Norway have hosted the Games twice. The next host city will be Vancouver, Canada in 2010. This will be the second time the Games will be held in Canada.
Vancouver won the bidding process to host the Olympics by a vote of the International Olympic Committee on July 2, 2003, at the 115th IOC Session held in Prague, Czech Republic. In the run-off, all but two of the members who had voted for Salzburg voted for Vancouver. It was the closest vote by the IOC since Sydney, Australia beat Beijing for the 2000 Summer Olympics by 2 votes. Vancouver’s victory came almost 2 years after Toronto’s 2008 Summer Olympic bid was defeated by Beijing in a landslide vote.
The British Columbia government prepared with a $600 million upgrade of the Sea-to-Sky Highway to accommodate increased traffic between Vancouver and Whistler. The Vancouver Olympic Committee also spent $16.6 million on upgrading facilities at Cypress Mountain, which will host the freestyle and snowboarding events.
The Winter Games have undergone significant changes since their inception. The rise of television as a global medium for communication has greatly enhanced the profile of the Games. It has also created an income stream, in the form of the sale of broadcast rights, and advertising, which has become very lucrative. This has also allowed outside interests, such as television companies and corporate sponsors, to influence the various aspects of the Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has had to address several internal scandals, and the use of performance enhancing drugs by Winter Olympic athletes.
In 1988 the Canadian city of Calgary, hosted the first Winter Olympics to span 16 days. New events were added in ski jumping and speed skating, while future Olympic sports curling, short track speed skating and freestyle skiing made their appearance as demonstration sports. For the first time, the speed skating events were held indoors, on the Olympic Oval.
The 1976 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 4-15 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. The games were originally awarded to Denver in May 1970, but a 300 percent rise in costs and worries about environmental impact led to Colorado voters’ rejection in November 7, 1972, by a 3 to 2 margin, of a $5 million bond issue to finance the games with public funds. Following the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, security would have to become extremely tight for the 1976 games. The residents of Denver and Colorado decided against the massive cost and extra risk.
The notoriety of becoming the only city ever to decline to host an Olympiad after being selected has made subsequent bids difficult. The movement against hosting the games was based largely on environmental issues and was led by then State Representative Richard Lamm, who was subsequently elected to three terms (1974-86) as Colorado governor.
Denver officially withdrew on November 15, and the IOC then offered the games to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, but they too declined owing to a change of government following elections. (Whistler would go on to be associated with neighboring Vancouver’s successful bid for the 2010 games.)
Salt Lake City, Utah, which would eventually host in 2002, offered itself as a potential host after the withdrawal of Denver. The IOC, still reeling from the Denver rejection, declined and selected Innsbruck on February 5, 1973; it had hosted the 1964 games nine years earlier.
The City of Denver and State of Colorado showed interest in hosting the Winter Olympics in 2018, but did not bid for them leaving the likely candidates, the former hosts of France or Germany. Denver has hosted the Democratic National Convention twice, during the years of 1908, and again in 2008, taking the opportunity to promote the city’s status on the national, political, and socioeconomic stage.
There is opposition to the Olympics amongst indigenous people and their supporters. Although the Lil’wat branch of the St’at’imc Nation is a co-host of the games, a splinter group from the Seton band known as the St’at’imc of Sutikalh, who fear the Olympics will once again bring unwanted tourism and real estate sales to their territory.
On another front, local aboriginal people as well as Canadian Inuit expressed concern over the choice of an inukshuk as the symbol of the Games, with some Inuit leaders such as former Nunavut Commissioner Peter Irniq stating that the inukshuk is a culturally important symbol to them. He said that the “Inuit never build inuksuit with head, legs and arms. I have seen inuksuit build more recently, 100 years maybe by non-Inuit in Nunavut, with head, legs and arms. These are not called inuksuit. These are called inunguat, imitation of man.”
Local aboriginal groups also expressed annoyance that the design did not reflect the Coast Salish and Interior Salish native culture from the region the Games are being held in, but rather that of the Inuit, who are indigenous to the Arctic far from Vancouver. One chief, Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, also said that the design lacked dignity, comparing it to Pac-Man.
Edward John, Grand Chief of the First Nations Summit, said some native leaders were so upset about the issue they were prepared to walk out of the unveiling ceremony. The aboriginal governments of the Squamish, Musqueam, Lil’wat and Tsleil-Waututh (the “Four Host First Nations”), on whose traditional territory the games will be held, signed a protocol in 2004 in support of the games