While my first instinct as a Canadian is to defend the Games, the truth is that the event has indeed seen several high-profile problems. Is it the worst ever? I'm not sure. But it's been far from perfect.
I've kept track of the issues I've noticed since the Games began. Here's a list of a dozen serious problems that I think we'd all agree have marred the games so far:
- Despite the numerous guarantees all over their flyer, lazy Dominos Pizza guy failed to deliver Wayne Gretzky to the outdoor cauldron in 30 minutes or less.
- The biathlon has featured slower than normal times, as competitors are unable to resist the urge to stop and take a few shots at Ben Mulroney.
- The controversial decision by skiing officials to replace the traditional Men's and Women's Downhill with the far more challenging Men's and Women's Uphill.
- Due to communications breakdown, nobody remembered to tell the American hockey team that they're not supposed to be good.
- While the opening ceremony does traditionally feature elements which celebrate the host nation's shared cultural identity, the two-and-a-half hour musical tribute to "Why we all hate Toronto" seemed excessive.
- Despite vows that the new figure skating scoring system would prevent judging controversies, eyebrows were raised when the men's event was won by Swedish legend Gillis Grafström despite him not attempting a quad and also having died in the 1939.
- Both Canadian and American women's hockey games have been difficult to follow due to shoddy Vancouver scoreboards which do not have enough space to display triple digits.
- Stringent drug testing lead to a scandal in the curling competition, when it was revealed that some teams were falling slightly short of the sport's strict minimum blood-alcohol level.
- Frustrated American fans have been forced to endure delayed coverage, such as NBC broadcasts from that afternoon, MSNBC highlight packages from the previous day, and Rick Reilly jokes from 1993.
- Apparently forgot to tell the Russians that there's an Olympics this year.
- Over halfway through the Games, the much-hyped Canadian men's hockey team has failed to win even a single medal.
- In hindsight, it's probably a bad sign when the guy in charge of operating the opening ceremony hydraulics system has a resume that includes "Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, 2004-08".