After Olympics some have an angle

Vancouver 2010 Games

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Games are now behind us and it’s time to see where Canada stands among its international peers. Canada hopes that these Olympics have helped sell the country’s culture, people and potential to other countries in the world in many ways. If a country has a more positive impression about Canada now, then it is more likely to do business with it in the form of stronger government relations, increased imports and/or exports with Canadian companies and increased travel to Canada.

These are figures that are very difficult to properly calculate when looking at whether an Olympic Games were a profit or loss. Regardless, since these Olympics were a success on the whole, even though it had some bad aspects, it is likely that a majority of countries will have a more favourable view of Canada than they did before these Games. However, there are three countries that have shown a clear and transparent agenda.

Russia has been very critical of these games and has had more bad things to say about them then good…a lot more bad in fact. Sure they may be bitter about not winning many medals, only 15, which is very bad for a winter climate country with over 100 million people, but there is more at play here. The next Winter Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia and for Russia to talk down the Vancouver 2010 Games it lowers the bar for the 2014 Sochi, Russia Games. After all, it is easier to look good beside someone ugly than it is beside someone beautiful. However, this viewpoint that is in the Russian media does not get to people who are not Russian and so, the Sochi 2014 Games may look better to Russians but not necessarily as good to those outside of Russia.

The UK has a similar angle in this. They are set to host the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, a much bigger event on a grander scale, in a larger city. However, they also looked to pounce on mistakes in an effort to lower the bar for two years from now. In the beginning of the Vancouver Olympics the British media said it was the worst Games ever and blasted VANOC (the Vancouver Olympic Committee) for the tragic death of the Georgian luger and the bad weather, among other issues. At first it did seem a little bad for those reasons, although the British media were very presumptuous in their opinions as it was right at the start of Games. However, by the end they started singing a different tune somewhat since the Games came together quite nicely. They weren’t as positive as other countries but, were more positive and accurate than the Russian media.

The US also had an angle in this. However, it was very different from both the Russians and the British. The American media and people had very good things to say about the Canadian Olympic experience and really stood by the organizers. Even at the start when it got off to a shaky start, the US media did not blast VANOC or dwell on the negatives. In fact, they treated the Vancouver Games almost as well as they treated the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

They seemed to take pride in the Vancouver Games more than they did in the Torino Games of 2006 and the reason appeared to be that they felt connected to Vancouver and Canada as a North American neighbour and close friend. This was evident in the way they admired various Canadian athletes and how they covered negative stories like the fencing of the cauldron. Even when they had a chance to be bitter at the end when the US men’s hockey team lost to the Canadian team, they were very gracious and were happy for the winning side even though it was their own side that lost in that game.

This is very beneficial for US-Canada relations and can have a noticeable impact on travel between the two countries. Trade between the two nations is already very deep and intertwined so it is tough to expect that to rise, but it does reduce the odds a bit that an issue such as a trade conflict within a particular sector or industry will arise, which is always good. It will also bring the people closer to one another because Americans saw that although there is some uniqueness between the two peoples, they are still very similar in many ways and perhaps more Americans know that now. At the same time, Canadians see how well they were received by Americans and that is very important to them.