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EDITORIAL: Spell of the Games
As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia heads into its second week, the narrative is sounding awfully familiar.
Remember all those horror stories about costs run amok, facilities unfinished or not up to snuff, unseasonably mild weather, displaced and displeased citizens, stray dogs being dispatched?
Hmmm, rewind the clock four years, and we might be talking about Vancouver. Minus the stray dogs part.
Or eight years ago in Turin, Italy.
Winter or Summer, the script for every Olympic Games seems to be coming from the same writer.
It’s already being composed for Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where slums have been razed to make way for sporting facilities and workers have died building those venues.
But the crazy thing about the Olympics, and the trump card the International Olympic Committee carries in its back pocket, nuzzled up against the vast wealth it amasses by governing the Olympic movement, is as soon as the spotlights illuminate the ever-kitchy opening ceremonies, and the first competitors enter the starting gates, all the collateral drama is forgotten.
When it comes to the Olympics, we just can’t help ourselves falling in love all over again. Especially when the memories of being a host city are still so fresh.
Maybe it’s the sheer volume of Olympic hype and coverage that overwhelms us every couple of years.
Maybe we’re just suckers for the human interest stories and athletic dramas that are played out on the ski slopes, ice rinks and running tracks.
Maybe we’re just looking for the chance to show our patriotism without feeling self-conscious.
Whatever fuels your Olympic spirit, enjoy the ride.
The cynics will be back next time round.