The Canadian women’s ice hockey team won the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics when they beat the US 2-0 yesterday. Well done! But few expected the whole team to re-enter the rink some 30 minutes later for a victory party that featured champagne, beer…and cigars!
The victory celebrations prompted the IOC president to launch an enquiry soon after, but officials do not expect any official censure. After all, these were a group of youngsters toiling hard for 4 years to reach the pinnacle of success and they had to let off steam.
But many felt that the party was going overboard. OK, even the Formula One drivers indulge in champagne on the victors’ podium. But cigars? Its an undisputed fact that these are the harbingers of many lethal diseases! What kind of message are these athletes sending out to the youngsters? Some observers felt that it was ok to party once they have changed out of their team jerseys and doing it away from the glare of the media. But youthful enthusiasm knows no barriers. However, the team did issue an apology much later.
After all, who could blame them for their attention-seeking behaviour when the IOC President had earlier threatened that if womens’ hockey did not improve and become more attractive, it would be axed at the next Games?
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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.
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.
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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