Monday, March 22, 2010

My Paralympics: Random Pics & Reflections

Well, here we are, on the day that the Paralympics wraps up - and the end of the awesome Vancouver 2010 Games. It's hard to believe it's over. But I had a great Paralympic moment on Friday to keep in my memory... This is the pomp and ceremony that kicked off the Wheelchair Curling tiebreaker between Italy and Sweden for 4th place position.
I hadn't managed to get tickets to any of the Paralympic events locally, so imagine my delight to hear on Friday morning that there was a free tiebreaker game that very afternoon. Free? That's my kinda price! Here's the Swedish team acknowleding the fans after their win.
Here are the two teams shaking hands at the end of the match. It was sad to see those empty seats, as even though the event was free, and was promoted on morning news, the stadium was only about 1/4 full, if that. But those that were there had a great time.
After an on-ice consultation with their coach over a difficult shot, a handshake from one of the Italian players.
Another coach consultation, this time on the part of the Swedish team.
I loved the colour of the rocks, and how they sparkled in the lights....
A rock sliding by on the Paralympic logo'd ice...
I wasn't the only one snapping pics....
Team Sweden takes a timeout at centre ice. If you haven't noticed, the teams are mixed; each team had 3 men and 1 woman. Nice to see, as gender seems pretty irrelevant to curling. Oh, and there's no brooms. So no sweeping to fix a rock once it's released. It's all in the release. Though the players weren't beyond yelling (in Swedish or Italian) and what they wanted it to do. Heh.
What a spectacular location, at the Paralympic Centre near Queen Elizabeth Park - the same venue was also used for Olympics as well, of course. How amazing it must have seemed to our visitors to have our mountains just "hanging" there - and on this day it was spring weather, but the snow looked fresh. Lovely. This man was an all-around good sport when he took a moment to dance with a group of kids performing outside for the spectators before the game began.
These are the kids, having a great time.
This was the group leader, she was having as much fun leading the group and they were having following along.
Getting down to kid height...
This scene had it all: mountains, mascot, flags, people - and glorious blue sky. It's a shame that Leo Obstbaum, the creator the look and feel for the games, wasn't able to see it all come together himself. You might have heard his name mentioned on one of John Furlong's tributes, as he died tragically shortly before the games. Here's the story on him and what he created.
One of the aboriginal inspired sculptures against the blue sky... not entirely sure what this one was, but I like him anyways.
This guy is a raven. Love it!
A sign inside the facility. I did not know this!! Cool.
Oh, walking down the street afterwards, I noticed the jacket of this voluntter... Take a close look at the Paralympic logo (you can click on the pic to enlarge it, if you wish). I realized that they had put the logos on pieces of matching fabric with velcro, so that all those jackets could be worn for both the Olympics and Paralympics. Smart.
One last panorama view of Vancouver's mountains from the grounds of the facility. Man, I love these mountains, it's nice to be near them again. I am still stopping dead in my tracks to admire them - it's like they are newly beautiful upon my return to BC after 7 months away.
So, some random reflections as the games wind down:
  • I am still choked about how poor the television coverage was of the Paralympics - yes, it's apparently better than it's ever been, but, sheesh, that was a sprinkling that left me feeling rather disconnected from the daily events
  • I was glad to participate in the Twitterverse's pressure on CTV to televise the closing ceremonies - they got suitably overhwelmed with outcry over the fact that they weren't going to be shown. So, in 15 minutes, I get to watch them - as does everyone across Canada.
  • I can't take any credit for the pressure that people put on CTV to televise the opening ceremonies - I can't believe they hadn't planned to show them in the first place. In the end, their decision to televise only in BC was naive and only raised the ire of Canadians.
  • I guess I felt better when I heard some of those involved in the Paralympic movement feeling positively delighted with the coverage -
  • I want to say I don't get it why the coverage was so poor, but, of course, I do get it, as it's all about money and advertising.... CTV really showed it's colours and lost so much of the goodwill that they had built up over the Olympics with how they handled this.
  • Vanoc did an awesome job of organizing both events with the same team - I understand it's never been this well organized - but I think the next step in advancing the games is requiring the broadcaster to televise both games - the Olympics and Paralympics - equally (average the coverage and advertising revenues across both games folks, it's not really that hard to figure that out).
  • I was left feeling that the coverage would have been better, in the end, if CBC were the broadcaster, but, of course, I don't know that. I just want coverage. And I want coverage to be on the main channel(s), as not everyone can afford premium channels. As a Canadian I expect coverage, period.

OK, enough soapboxing... time to order my pizza and settle into the closing ceremonies. Congratulations to all the athletes - and thanks for the amazing inspiration. GO CANADA GO!


Mabel said...

Funny that the coverage was so low, here in Barcelona I saw bits and pieces of the Paralympics everytime I went to gym: on a sports channel (don´t ask me which one) I saw more or less everything passing by. It was amazing to see people with one leg skiing for example!

Rob said...

Regardless of how much more coverage of the Paralympics their has been in reference to what there has been in the past, there simply needed to be better distribution of that content. CTV simply did not recognize that their was an audience that wants that content and they wanted it live as well as achieved, whether that be on-line or on the TV. I have been keeping an active blog and a virtual 3D Olympics at and if you visit it you will notice that I have been overly positive. I loved these Olympic and Paralympic games but I was and still am rather frustrated to say the least. I WANTED TO SEE MORE PARALYMPIC GAMES. I am lucky because I live in Whistler and get to see the odd event live, but these games are quite captivating and I am saddened to put it mildly that I could not see more of the games.