My Olympic Experience Essay

1293 words - 5 pages

Attending the Olympics is a pursuit both aggravating and exhilarating. This paradox characterized my experience of the games. There will always be more exciting events to attend, but that does not diminish the intense allure of the biggest party in the world, whether or not there is anything to enjoy in it. The Vancouver Olympic events both sporting and cultural were characterized by agonizingly long lines, hyper-dense crowds, and expensive, often unobtainable tickets. While the list of free activities offered in the lower mainland warranted its own guidebook, those partaking in these events deserved a gold medal in waiting. Regardless of ennui in waiting, there was an undeniable excitement and fervor in the air. The streets of Vancouver were filled with national pride. Everyone was adorned in red and white and reeked of booze. With no where to go, nothing todo, the crowd took to chanting, ‘high fiving’, and forming a directionless swaggering march through the streets. While I had an excellent time partaking in the patriotic, near jingoist marching, the real highlights of my Olympic experience came from the observations of others. Media coverage of the Olympics was ubiquitous. Asides from the standard coverage of sporting and cultural events, there was coverage of absolutely everything that happened in the lower mainland. Both accredited, unaccredited and amateur media asked and answered everything to do with the Olympics. Everyday I would scour the internet, finding nuanced reporting and analysis of the games. The high definition live television coverage of the games gave me front row seats that others paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for. My Olympic experience was then two part, my adventures in the circus and my explorations in the ether. The Olympics, for me, was paradoxical in nature, the further I was from the games the closer I was to the experience.

Prior to taking this course my knowledge of the Olympics was limited at best. I knew nothing of the games history as I could hardly name the last few places to host the games. I knew nothing of the IOC, nothing of the urban implications, of the preparations, and little of the sports. My conceptions of the games were a global sporting competition, which occurs every four years. Regardless of my ignorance, I held my ear to the wind, and learned. Very quickly I realized that the Olympics had very little to do with sport. As an urbanist, I realized that the Olympics were characterized by rapid development, branding and marketing, tourism, and the whole gamut of urban issues, including gentrification, and homelessness. At this point the Olympics became exciting! The Olympics are not a sporting event, rather they are are an urban and global phenomena with far reaching and deep implications. Within the Olympics exist both micro and macro economic and social activities. Governance of the Olympics is a regime both pluralist and elitist in nature. Now it seemed that the further I explored the...

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