Although the paralympics are still happening, it's safe to say that the official Olympics hangover has lifted and I'm able to look back on those two weeks analytically and with the hindsight I need to form an opinion on how 'our city' came across. Years ago, when I was a cynical teen (rather than the cynical adult I am now), I was convinced that when 2010 came, something unspecified and dramatic would happpen, it just seemed impossible that an event of this magnitude could go perfectly without incident, whether it be a terrorist attack or protests or riots. When February 2010 came, I realized with the wisdom that comes between age 19 and 24 that chances are, nothing too horrific will happen. Despite a few sad stories like the death of the luger and a few over-the-top protests (did smashing up the Bay do any good for anyone?), the events as a whole seemed to be a success. Although I didn't make it into Vancouver during the Olympics, I did have a chance to visit this week and I agree with Alex's comments about the great hospitality and the 'buzz' in the air as everyone is getting along. What I wonder is that when the Paralympics are over, will the hospitality fade? I've never run into any major problems downtown but in my experiences the Vancouver I've seen isn't an overly friendly city, and it'll be interesting to see if our 'best behaviour' from the Olympics will last and the city's attitude will change shape because of it.
As far as the word-of-mouth and media coverage that I experienced, I found the comments about the opening and closing ceremonies to be the most intriguing. For the most part, it seemed like those that I've spoken to were watching the ceremonies with a pad and pen next to them, ready to write down any blunder or mis-cue or criticism. Sure, there were problems with the ceremonies and maybe it's a testament to my lacking Canadian pride that I didn't really care about them either way, but some people seemed to take these events so seriously. Could it be that since the Olympics didn't have any 'major' controversies (not to undermind the tragedies that did occur), people were nitpicking? Sure, the musical choices for the closing events were terrible and in some cases unfitting, but nobody seemed to stop and ask themselves why it matters so much. Whether or not people around the world think Canada is lame or not doesn't really affect my day-to-day life and while it's always nice to be liked, I sure didn't take these ceremonies as personally as some. And as it came up in the class discussion, lots of people had a problem with how Canada was portrayed as beaver-loving syrup-sucking hockey fanatics, saying that this doesn't truly display who Canada is. But what I haven't heard is an alternative, and it begs the question: how DO we truly display who Canada is? Until we can figure that out then we have to embrace these stereotypes and allow that to be what we're known for, our sense of humor.