The Greenest Olympics Ever..Well, Almost!

The 2010 Winter Olympics, now being held in Vancouver, Canada promises to be the most eco-friendly Olympics ever held. Take a look at some of the measures undertaken during its preparation:

  • free public transport to all its venues, in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • all new buildings, including the athlete’s village has been built to meet top green standards for energy and water.
  • the Media Center has a living roof of 400,000 native plants that capture and reuse rainwater. It also has seawater heating and cooling and an on-site water treatment plant.
  • The athletes’ village will be turned into a mixed-used sustainable community of stores, housing, daycare and community center after the games. You can see a slide show of the village’s green features here.

Green: 2010 Winter Olympic medals are made from recycled electronic parts

The Vancouver Olympic Oval -its roof is from wood salvaged after pine-beetle infestation

However, despite the organiser’s noble intentions, they did not contend with Mother Nature itself. The unusually warm and rainy weather at one of its venues, Cypress Hills (for skateboarding and freestyle skiing) has resulted in insufficient snow, causing the organisers to bring truckloads of imported snow from British Columbia as well as using helicopters to dump snow at the affected site.

Truckloads of Snow Imported into Vancouver from British Columbia

Cypress Hills, a main venue, literally green as a result of scant snow.

Despite its eco-efforts, some environmentalists  wonder whether this will be the greenest Olympics ever,  given the carbon-emitting truck-and plane-loads of snow that had to be carried in to skiing and snowboarding venues. Don’t blame Vancouver – the Winter Olympics isn’t exactly that without enough snow,after all!


Its tragic when young athletes who participate for their passion in sport end up losing their lives. As a doctor, the tragedy takes on an added dimension as, accident or not, a life has been lost, despite valiant prompt action by the medical staff. On 12th February, Georgian Olympian Nodar Kumarittashivi died during luge practice after suffering from head injury. Our condolences to his family. ABC News has a video of the incident here.

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