Worst games ever?

When British newspaper The Guardian published a column calling the Olympics in Vancouver “the worst Games ever,” the Canadian media certainly responded.

Here are just a few examples.

“The worst ever?” a Toronto Star editorial questioned. The Star‘s editorial writers answered:

“Worse than the propagandistic Nazi Games of 1936? The Munich massacre Games of 1972? Montreal’s budget-busting 1976 Games? The logistically challenged Atlanta Games of 1996? Give us a break. The Vancouver Games are no disaster.”

Michael Smyth at Vancouver’s The Province wanted to be clear that the Vancouver Games were not perfect, but reminded readers that “every Olympic Games has screw-ups and controversies, not just Vancouver’s.” He then gives VANOC credit for figuring out that the Games are “a television event.” He wrote:

“If you want to talk about success, check the TV ratings: CTV is doing monstrous numbers domestically. And NBC’s Olympic coverage vaulted the network into the No. 1 slot this week in the U.S.”

Bruce Arthur from the National Post wrote of the problems the British media highlighted:

“…no, things aren’t quite going seamlessly. You want to criticize it? Feel free. But you want to judge this the worst Games ever after five days, here’s what you base it on: You base it on the fact that it included the preventable death of an athlete in competition. That’s it. That’s the main criteria. Base your criticism on the fact that yesterday, the IOC again said, “This was a [luge] track that was safe,” cited run statistics as if they mattered, and again failed to admit that somebody is to blame if a kid becomes the first fatality in luge in 35 years because, on the fastest track in history, he made one damned mistake.

“Everything else that has happened here is an inconvenience at best. So many of us have already left that death in the past, to the point that a CTV anchor said Wednesday that “The 2010 Games have had to contend with a few glitches, none bigger than the weather.”

“But if you’re scoring the rest, you want to judge these Games as worse than Munich, where athletes were taken hostage and killed? Worse than Atlanta, where in addition to logistical nightmares — and the fact that they gave homeless people one-way bus tickets — a bomb actually went off?”

In a follow-up to his original column, The Guardian‘s Lawrence Donegan lists a series of headlines from Canadian newspapers that topped negative stories about problems at the Games. He wrote:

“Suffice to say, if Adams [Mark Adams, director of communications for the International Olympic Committee] does not recognise the Games as portrayed by the British press, then he might take time out of his busy schedule to flick through the local papers, which along with celebrating the achievements of the home athletes has been doing superb job in cataloguing the travails of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Even CTV, which paid around £100m to broadcast the Games in Canada, has chipped in, posting a story on its website last night from the Toronto Globe and Mail headlined ‘What’s Gone Wrong and How to Fix It.’ Things must be bad if the Games’ broadcaster is singing from the same song sheet as the out-of-tune British press.”