Despite medal haul, Americans joining in chorus of jeers for Vancouver Games
“iceholes,” “syrup-suckers” and “Saskatchewhiners.”
Some watching at home say it’s not just the glitches but the apparent dangers faced by Olympic athletes that have made them uneasy about these Games, especially in light of Kumaritashvili’s death on a track many lugers had warned was too fast and too dangerous.
“I am not so jazzed about these Olympics,” said Tanya Harvey, a 31year-old software consultant in Las Vegas who’s been taking in the Games with her husband.
“It seems like so many of the courses and tracks are giving the athletes hell, and while the challenge is good for sporting competition and all that, there just seem to be a lot of wipeouts ... those poor women came flying down that track, legs bending the wrong way, heads thwacking on frozen ground; it was brutal.”
Many Americans are also griping about an exclusively U.S. headache — NBC’s coverage of the Games. Some of the most vocal complaints have been about the network’s time-delayed broadcasts in a world where Twitter, Facebook and real-time news outlets have told the world about American gold hours before NBC airs the events.
The criticism seems milder in politics-obsessed D.C., preoccupied in recent weeks with congressional bickering and digging out from under almost a meter of snow. The trademark Olympic red mittens have been seen around Capitol Hill, perhaps partly due to the Canadian Embassy doling them out at a reception last week to celebrate the beginning of the Games.
Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine, is said to be a fan of the cozy mittens, which retail for $10 but are being snapped up on eBay for more than double the price.
Vice-President Joe Biden was seen wearing his mittens throughout his stay in Vancouver last week. Biden is at the heart of yet another apparent Games embarrassment — a mentally ill man with fake credentials came close to approaching him at the opening ceremonies before two RCMP officers stopped him.
The Denver Post’s Kiszla predicts Vancouver’s Games could make dubious history.
“The gold medal for most inept host of the past generation has long been hanging heavily from the neck of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, known for runaway greed, transportation snafus and two deaths in a terrorist bombing,” he wrote. “But Vancouver has established itself as a contender to steal the prize that no Olympic city wants to own.”
Fans reach for a puck as it flips into the stands in the second period of a preliminary round men’s ice hockey game between U.S.A. and Norway at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday. Americans have joined the criticism of the Games.