An unfortunate incident got me thinking about some of the inconveniences I might face in the mêlée that will be remembered as 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Ever since the Atlanta summer games, when unexpectedly, the story became transportation instead of sport, the logistics of moving people around at an Olympic Games has had to become a solemn promise, set in stone, by every city bidding on an event. Vancouver made the promise and I'm counting on them to deliver. For my daily commute to and from the Vancouver Olympic Centre, near Main and 33rd (right beside the Nat Bailey Baseball Stadium) I'm counting on a couple of hours on the lowly transit bus, the novel sea bus and the heretofore untested rapid transit line running along Cambie. I think it goes under False Creek - but I'll let you know more about it later. I do see, from my handy "Official Spectator Guide" that the Olympic Villiage is one of the stops on this line, and the folks staying there can take the "Olympic Line Streetcar" from there to Granville Island. That should be cool.
But I have faith that the transportation system will surpass the expectations of the pessimists. I know that's not saying much, but last February when I went to Van to work the 2009 World Juniors, I rented a car to go back and forth to the the Vancouver Olympic Centre and I paid $14.95 per day for that cute little red sub-compact. This year, for the same car, the best price I could find was $72.00 per day (Canadian dollars) and rising. So, VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee) has found ways to discourage the use of cars and encourage the use of the public transportation system. Plus, if you are a volunteer, your accreditation gets you a free ride on all public transit, and if you have a ticket to an event, the date on the ticket is inscribed in very large numbers, so all you have to do is flash your ticket and if the date matches, you ride for free that day. That's not too shabby. From the beginning VANOC has boasted the "green" games, and public transit can help meet that goal. I'll play.
So, the transportation is not my worry of the day. I'm prepared for delays. But a couple of days ago, somehow, I cricked my back and started through the process.... should I wait or should I go. To the back-fixer, I mean. I waited thinking, well, it might get better then I started to imagine the dollar signs blocking the irises of the google-eyed chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists between Whistler and Abbottsford. Like every other industry in the lower mainland and the sea to sky corridor, these medical professionals have been given a goldmine of an opportunity. Then I started to pity the poor, unsuspecting Olympic tourist who slipped in a puddle or twisted while jumping off the Oly Streetcar. Where on hearth would they find someone to fix their back so they could enjoy the rest of their costly adventure? I made my decision quickly. I would GO! And off to my smiling chiropractor went I to get bonked and twisted and popped, hopefully back into forgetting about my back.
I hope that the athletes, and in particular, the curling athletes bring a crew of health-care professionals with them. It is always hush-hush when a curler is injured. We usually play through the pain. And maybe this time, through the rain. Do you think I should take a rain coat?
The Streetcar from the Olympic Village to Granville Island