It’s worth an open discussion, with eyes on all sides of the story
Jayde Atchison (She/Her) // Opinions Editor
Hannah Bontinen // Illustrator
One of my core memories from when I was 17 years old was the moment I was standing in BC Place stadium, shoulder to shoulder with the crowd around me, as the world’s top athletes strolled into the centre of the room, holding their flags and representing their nations with smiles spread across their faces. I was lucky to have snagged seats with my family for the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Other than participating in a few sports growing up, I have never been someone that follows sports or keeps up with the medal count of the Olympics. I will not go out of my way to watch anything, but if I’m invited to an event that revolves around sports, food and friends, count me in. I love the spirit and excitement that comes with watching sports, especially when people are just excited to cheer on the people from their country. Even though I have never heard of their name before, it does give me a weird sense of pride hearing they grew up in a district not far from my own. It is the most fleeting form of hopping on the bandwagon and I will plead guilty to the act.
When the 2010 Olympics were hosted in Vancouver, I remember a large divide in how people felt about the whole affair. We had sports (and party) enthusiasts that were all for the chaos and sportsmanship that the city was subjected to, but we also had people that hated the crowds, the tourists, the noise. I can see the frustration of simply trying to get to work and the streets being closed off for events, causing delays to the day. I can also see the excitement of a whole new group of people visiting the city, making more opportunities to meet people from all over the world.
With the rumours circulating about Vancouver potentially being the host for the 2030 Winter Olympics, it is sparking the debate once more about whether we should ignite that flame again (or torch, if we want to use Olympics lingo). Pushing the bid for another Vancouver Olympics are the Four First Nations. This would bring an opportunity to have the first Indigenous led Olympics and showcase a partnership with the Indigenous communities and the athletes around the world. While there is still the debate of whether resources should be put towards other avenues in Vancouver, this would undoubtedly be a historic moment for everyone involved.
My memories around the preparation of the 2010 games were the improvements to the Sea-to-Sky, the completion of the Canada Line, and Olympic-sized facilities that made it possible for younger athletes to access for training once the games were over. Aside from the transit upgrades, I do recognize the downfalls that the Olympics brought to the city.
We brushed the houseless population under the rugs, displacing them momentarily until our guests were gone, then pretended like nothing happened and left things to “go back to normal”. The city spent a lot of money to make these enhanced upgrades, which was felt by the people left behind to pay for them.
For very selfish reasons, I would love to see the highest performing athletes under the same roof again, and hope that COVID restrictions would be gone by then so that there would be ample opportunities to mingle with people outside my typical Hinge feed. However, if I remove myself from the equation I think it’s more important to look at a study of the CO2 emissions, the taxes we were left with, a more appropriate and long lasting solution for our houseless population and the rental increases that could happen from Vancouver being another hotspot destination (as if our rental prices aren’t ridiculous enough already). If the bid is up for debate, a serious investigation is needed to be able to see the entire picture, and not just the juicy “lots of job opportunities and more housing!!!” that we have heard over the last 12 years.
I am all for creating new core memories surrounding the baddies on and off the ice, but with everyone within Vancouver in mind.