We’re still almost four years out from the 2010 Olympics, and significant budget concerns have started to emerge (cf. some of Vaughan Palmer‘s recent columns in the Sun). But I’m not going to write another “I told you so” rant.
My perception of the whole affair is coloured by my involvement in designing the original bid Web site (now replaced). I did this partly against my better judgement, and I can’t say much about the experience because I’m probably under some sort of non-disclosure agreement. Suffice to say that my better judgement was increasingly skewed towards the “no” camp as the project progressed.
But there was one experience that stands out for me, and it was apart from my professional activities. The night of the referendum, February 22 2003, I was picking up my daughter from a choir rehearsal in Kerrisdale. Of course this part of town is probably one of those in which many people actually stand to benefit from the games. I overheard a fellow emoting to his friend about the referendum and questioning how anyone could possibly vote against. I immediately stepped in and said that I’d voted “no.” He was aghast. But when I tried to engage him in substantive debate on the issue, all he could really come up with was a tag line from the Olympic campaign. Not even a tag line, a word. “Think of the legacies,” he insisted, gesturing wide with his arms, his tone evoking a world in which, after February 2010, we Vancouverites might awake each morning to find a glass of chocolate milk on a fluffy white pillow waiting on our doorsteps (rather than an abandoned luge track somewhere up Howe Sound for which we are still paying).
Marketing puzzles me, because so much of it seems to be counterintuitive, if not just plain stupid. But the application of this one word was brilliant. It worked. And so “legacies” we will have: besides mounting debt, we’re not quite sure yet what they might be.