Saturday, February 26, 2011

Golden Boy?

All this month, as Vancouver has lamely tried to relive and recapture the "spirit" of a certain mega-event that took place last year, I have tried to choke down the bile in my throat by studiously avoiding any mention of civic displays of Olympic nostalgia in these posts. Schadenfreude, however, is a completely other story. I have to admit that I emitted a chortle of glee the other day when I read in the Vancouver Sun that the IOC is investigating statements made in Furlong's recently published memoir, Patriot Hearts, that Furlong and members of Vancouver's bid team offered help to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luhzkov in preparing their bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics in exchange for Russia's three delegate votes for Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics bid. Three votes turned out to be precisely the margin by which Vancouver won out over Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Furlong claims he did nothing wrong, just as he insists cultivating close ties with Norway's and Ireland's IOC reps during the bid process was completely above board. As, apparently, was flying IOC member and FIFA head honcho Sepp Blatter (himself of highly dubious moral integrity when it comes to World Cup bid and sponsorship scandals) by helicopter to Jack Poole's Mission estate. But given earlier revelations this month by the CBC of email correspondence from Furlong that VANOC knew of the potential dangers of the Whistler luge track on which Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili lost his life the opening day of the Olympics, one wonders if some of the golden glow around Furlong isn't starting to fade.

Not that this won't all blow over very soon. I'm sure Globe columnist Gary Mason (and co-author of Patriot Hearts) will come out with guns blazing in defense of Furlong--just as he's recently led the cheerleading around the apparent real estate miracle condo king Bob Rennie is effecting at the troubled Athlete's Village. But for the moment I relish the inspiriting boost to my own Olympic cynicism that these revelations have provided.


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