For years my wife and I have shared our bedroom with Peter Mansbridge, and sometimes he brings along interesting, though sometimes sour-faced and not necessarily beguiling, characters called Rex and Chantal; followed by the ever-smiling Claire who somehow manages to use the word “swath” in almost every weather forecast that ends our waking day.
Recently Mansbridge proudly announced that the CBC’s “100 Days Countdown To Sochi” had begun. No thanks, Peter, you’ve overstayed your welcome in our bedroom; the Olympics have been so tarnished for so long that I do everything possible to avoid them.
Over a half-century ago, female competitors from Eastern Bloc countries looked more like muscle-bound stevedores as they claimed all the medals; something told me back then that they didn’t get that way by eating Soviet Wheaties.
Then, not long afterwards, Scandinavian shipmates showed me newspaper cuttings about their athletes crossing into Russia for blood-doping. Over many decades there have been so many more examples of crooked officials and cheating athletes, and so many broken promises to clean up the drug-fuelled image of the Olympics. Those making and taking illicit pharmaceuticals are more sophisticated than ever, and always several steps ahead of the testing authorities.
Still, the glitz and glory is just too much to be ignored by media organizations, who pay huge amounts for broadcast rights, despite the Games usually being a huge economic drain on host countries.
We don’t easily forget the 2010 Financial Fiascolympics held in Vancouver and Whistler. Readers of The NEWS and B.C.’s taxpayers will never truly learn how much those Games really cost. As for Sochi, the biggest game in that Black Sea resort may soon be how to survive the “Sea Of Red Ink.” after breaking all spending records and all the banks.
No thanks, CBC, you can keep your 100 Days Countdown To Sochi; we’ll be going to bed with Lisa la Flamme and her CTV team from now on.