The Olympic Book of Five Rings (I)

Most eyes were glued to television sets last Friday night. The world’s eyes descended upon Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics that evening. The wait was finally over and all that preparation for the Opening Ceremonies, done. It was time.

Being present for them was something else. I missed it. I was in my office while all the galavanting and hydraulic lifts were off doing their things. Then I walked into the aftermath of the opening ceremonies. The umbrellas, the wide eyed faces clutching their souvenir Aboriginal drums made out of cardboard, it was all so exciting and new. The Olympics are here in Vancouver!

For the past week the city has been in a hustle to get everything in order. All their ducks in a row, so to speak. You see, something went very wrong in their plan, the proverbial wrench,  the Keepers of the Land. The Keepers of the Land as I affectionately call them are the Four Nations that were represented in the Opening Ceremonies. Since some of the venues were on their land, you had to get their blessings.

I have never seen Canada so gung ho on their own heritage and culture before. It’s almost as if they were compensating so much for how little they’ve showcased it in the past. Was it an attempt to convince the world that that is how the real Vancouver is? Aboriginals have never been so pimped out in the history of Canada, or at least my history of Canada. Not one thing that is involved with the Olympics is without some native imagery or culture.

By the way, has anyone seen any homeless persons?! Where did they go?! Where did they ship them all off to?! I’ve got two hunches. First one is their new pied-à-terre is up in some big warehouse where they’re at least feeding them and what not, bare minimum though. Or two, they bought them bus tickets and told them to hit the bricks as long as those bricks weren’t 100 miles of Vancouver. Seriously though, where are they?! Still see the famous Mr. Spoons guy who has moved from Commercial Drive to Downtown, can you blame him?! He makes crazy money.

Speaking of making crazy money, let’s talk Aboriginals and some authenticity. Did you know that the VANOC purchased the licensing rights from The Four Host Nations and then proceeded to outsource the production of ‘authentic’ Aboriginal crafts to China?! Yup, your Authentic Aboriginal Olympic Art that you just purchased, not so authentic. It’s an accurate duplicate of what would be actually be authentic, and cost you just about the same amount. Funny, that.

These are the Keepers of the Land, are you mad?! You don’t think they have a connection to All That Is? You’ve seen Avatar right? Something like that. They’re connected to the Tree People, the Stone People, the Water People, it is a deep rooted connection of all their anscestors before them. I have no doubt in my mind that whatever juju that the Keepers of the Land possess, they made sure and let the land know who they were dealing with. The mega corp of mega corps, VANOC.

Before you jump down my throat for this reason or that reason, I do have to say that the Olympics is big business. They have Chief This Officer and Chief That Officer, just like the mega corp’s. What it comes down to is what it always comes down to, the almighty buck. Why pay $10 to have it made locally when you can have them mass produced for $1.67 and push the markup to extremes?! Makes good business sense, and remember, that is what the Olympics is,a business. Brands and corporations throw themselves at the Olympics to seek out presence in the world as supporting and making the Vancouver Olympics happen.

Let me enlighten you on a tid bit of information:

As president of the IOC from 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage rejected all attempts to link the Olympics with commercial interests. He felt that the Olympic movement should be completely separate from financial influence.[75] The 1960 Winter Olympics marked the beginning of corporate sponsorship of the Games. Brundage saw this as an unwelcome development.[75] He resisted any efforts to commercialize the Games, but as the decade of the 1960s continued the revenue generated by corporate sponsorship swelled.[76] By the Grenoble Games, Brundage had become so concerned about the direction of the Winter Olympic Games towards commercialization that if they could not be corrected, then he felt the Winter Olympics should be abolished.[77] Brundage’s resistance to this revenue stream meant the IOC was slow to seek a share of the financial windfall that was coming to host cities, and also slow to control how sponsorship deals would be structured.[75] When Brundage retired, the IOC had $2 million in assets, eight years later the IOC coffers had swelled to $45 million.[75]


I understand, I do. However, my moral compass points me in the direction to the people and occupants of Vancouver that were promised the world delivered in a basket. And now, the money is being shipped off to someone else and VANOC comes out with a lot of merchandise sales. That should cover some incidentals.

Did anyone notice the number of incidents of something going wrong since the torch hit the streets of Vancouver? Protestors the day of the Opening Ceremonies, the malfunction of the torch that Wayne Gretzky was about to light, the tragic falling of a young man pursuing his dream. All this before the games had begun. I’m not saying that the games are hexed, but I’m definitely not saying they aren’t. Even the way in which VANOC and IOC handled the tragic passing of the Georgian athlete, callous. True to form.

The very next day Google runs a ‘sketch’ of a luge athlete at the top of their search site and everyone is up in arms. It was removed quickly. Same day, protestors get tussled up by the riot police. A few extreme apples hiding amongst the peaceful stirred a ruckus. Who ever taught someone that breaking shit was a good way to negotiate? It’s embarrassing.

The temperature is above normal, so it’s not cold enough to manufacture snow. Instead we have truckloads of snow being imported in, the downhill skiing events have been delayed due to ‘slush’. There is an upset in the balance and it always has a way of correcting itself. It’s usually in hindsight where our mistakes transform into lessons.

The Olympics are truly a time to celebrate the dedication and commitment of all the world’s best athletes. However, the land has had blood spilled on it, the new moon is upon us and there’s no telling what kind of juju was released upon these games.

But hey, the city of Vancouver is the one of the nicest places in Canada. And most of you are just visiting or watching on television, so you won’t have to stick around to deal with the truths that come out after. The truth always surfaces. I do hope when everything is said and done, the knowledge gained is the fuel to convert it to wisdom. I really do.