On Scene

It ain't over 'till . . .
February 28, 2010
Written by Paul Dixon

Sunday, Feb. 28

So I was listening to the opera on Saturday afternoon (s’truth) on CBC Radio 2 (La Boheme) and Bill Richardson had Michael Farber on as his guest. As in, Michael Farber the hall of fame hockey writer for Sports Illustrated. Turns out he’s as big a fan of opera as he is of hockey. He had been hoping for a Canada-Russia final, with Canada as his pick. Check out his take on the quarter-final game here.

Farber talked about the Olympics as a brand, offering the example that if you built a freestyle moguls course in most people’s back yards they would close the drapes rather than watch. But, tell them that it’s the OLYMPIC moguls course and they’d travel across a continent and pay hundreds of dollars to watch the same event.

Of course he’s right, as confirmed by the zealousness of VANOC and the IOC in extracting maximum dollars from sponsors and the ferociousness shown to anyone they suspect of infringing on their franchise. VANOC passed its projected sales goal for Olympic clothing and trinkets in the first 10 days. It has declined to say how much it has raked in so far. Shelley Fralic of the Vancouver Sun poses the question of the Olympic fashion hangover here.

Farber likes the similarities between opera and sports – the high drama, tension and excitement. The main, as he says, being that opera is scripted “you know who is going to die before you get there”, whereas sports is unscripted, though he did make some remark about figure skating.  

The problem for those responsible for putting together the security package for the Olympic and public safety issues in the broader community is that no matter how detailed a script they prepare, reality will intervene and reality doesn’t read the script. 

The Olympic protest movement, which had caused much concern initially for both VANOC and police, largely fizzled out after the one brief skirmish between a small group of supposed anarchists and police. Doug Ward of the Vancouver Sun offers a good overview on what happened here.

One more hockey game and it’s all over until 2014.   

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