Friday's edition of the Vancouver Courier is their Newsmaker of the Year edition. I was grateful to be asked to contribute a few words on what issue or event was the "top" story of the year. The paper's own online poll showed that the public agreed that the winner was the Olympics. Here below is my view.
2010 will always be remembered as a year Vancouver shone, thanks to our staging the Olympic & Paralympic Games.
It could have been a less successful occasion though. For months leading up to the Games the majority of the public held the view it was an elites-only event. VANOC never endeared itself with its secretiveness, and the city imposed extraordinary gag laws to prevent ambush marketing.
For weeks citizens were warned to avoid the downtown core, and many locals happily took vacations to avoid the predicted urban chaos. Black-hooded thugs promised to face off with police in riot gear, and our ski venues scrambled to find snow after El Niño made an unwelcome visit.
Then something incredible happened – the people took back their city.
Masses queued up for hours for a glimpse of the Olympic medals, or for 30 seconds harnessed in the air flying across Robson Square. Thousands attended free concerts in Richmond, Surrey & Yaletown, and the ice rink beside the art gallery teemed with wannabe Elvis Stojkos.
Canadians from all across the country thrilled at the success of our athletes, and unmasked a patriotic fervour never seen here before. We finally proved to ourselves that many of us could gather downtown without trashing the place, at least as long as we involve families and close liquor stores by 5pm.
Ours was never a more vibrant and happy city than during those weeks. As one American journalist opined, “Vancouver, you were golden.”
Who would argue with that?
- post by Mike. We are preparing a special project – a photo book – to be released in the New Year that will be a collaboration with other notable figures in the social media scene who covered the 2010 Games. More news will be coming on this in January.