…And it’s all Mukmuk’s fault

On February 15, The Guardian, a United Kingdom news source, published an article that warned of the Vancouver Olympics’ potential to be referred to as the “worst Games ever”.

Teresa Grant, a Global Stewardship student at Capilano, said of the article, “they only made that comment so that the soon-to-be London 2012 ‘mistake free’ Olympics are portrayed better.”

The article cites incidents such as the lack of snow, the failure of hydraulics at the Opening Ceremonies, and it questions the safety of a luge track, following the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. The article did not address the aspects of the Games that were not sports-related.

But is this an accurate representation of the Olympics? The Courier asked you to find out.


With multiple Livecities, an O-Zone and a Celebration Site in Surrey, VANOC worked hard to make sure there no one was bored during the two weeks of the Olympics. The Canadian music scene benefited from these events, as the industry received nightly showcases of talent.

Richard McCrae, Social Justice Coordinator for the Capilano Students’ Union, attended Sam Roberts’ performance at LiveCity Yaletown. “The music was great, but the crowd clearly wasn’t entirely Sam Roberts’ fans,” he said. “It seemed like a lot of people were there because it was a free show.”

They sure decorated the city. Everyone in Vancouver definitely knew the Olympics were happening,” said Sarah Vitet, another student at Capilano, before adding, “then again, everyone in Vancouver already knew the Olympics were happening.”

However, McCrae says that he doesn’t think that “any organization should have cultural monopoly over a city, there’s ... a lot of different ways that people can express themselves that don’t necessarily fit with VANOC’s idea of how Vancouver should be presented to the world.”

There were multiple opportunities to support non-VANOC endorsed events, including the well-attended Made in Vancouver Festival. Put on by I Heart Van Art, the festival was an opportunity for people to experience local talent in different areas, including music, dance, and visual arts. Supported by local artists, the festival aimed to “ensure that visitors get to have a true Vancouver experience,” according to their Facebook page.


Mayor Gregor Robertson has been quoted as saying that he wanted Vancouver 2010 to be the greenest games in history. CocaCola, as well, advertised their green initiatives in their pavilion in LiveCity Yaletown. Visitors to LiveCity did question the authenticity of the Olympics’ green initiatives, particularly as CocaCola was distributing glowing Coke bottles made from Styrofoam, which is well-known to be bad for the environment.

I think it’d be nice [for Vancouver to be the Green Capital],” says McCrae. “I think Vancouver has the potential but I’d be surprised if it happened.”


Grant said something the Olympics did well was inspire and encourage patriotism in “even the most Olympic pessimistic people.”

Beside the influx of red clothing and other Canadian merchandise throughout the city, the appearances of Vancouver’s Hug Squad, “an ever-expanding group of ‘Love-Activists’” who offer “free hugs to anyone who passes by at any one of our events,” also encouraged optimism.

I think that there has been some shocking realizations about our commitment to equality and social justice and what we can do for the minority and marginalized people in the country,” McCrae said of the Olympics, “There’s also just going down the street and seeing someone wearing a Canada flag as a cape.”


Vancouver 2010 had three official mascots: Sumi, Miga, and Quatchi. VANOC declared Mukmuk to be a ‘mascot sidekick’, yet he is the only real (and also endangered) animal of all the 2010 mascots. Mukmuk is a Vancouver Island marmot, and a species that had less than 75 members in 2001. On February 24, Mukmuk supporters gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery and rallied to help get Mukmuk official mascot status. Such status had not yet been obtained as of press time.

McCrae said he is indifferent on Mukmuk’s mascot status. “I think that if you’re going to have a rally during the Olympics there are a lot more important things to rally, than MukMuk.”

Vitet diagrees. “Mukmuk is the smallest and the cutest and the only one I would consider supporting in any way. Mukmuk is the only one that isn’t super ugly.”

Vancouver 2010 made history as the hosts of the first Opening Ceremonies to be held indoors at the Olympics. Canada also won its first gold medal on home soil. Vancouver 2010 was the first Olympics to have a Legal Observer Program – a program created by Pivot Legal Society and the BC Civil Liberties Association – where volunteers attended protests and events and ensured that the police were not abusing their authority and overstepping civil liberties.

There are other aspects of the Olympics to be covered – for example, the anti-Olympic movement had a fairly negative portrayal in the media, despite a successfully executed “Tent-City” sit-in where citizens occupied an empty lot for more than a week, living in tents to bring attention to the pressing issue of homelessness in Vancouver.

What kind of event of this scale would not come with flaws?” asked Grant. “I think the simple fact that people rushed to the buy every piece of red clothing within a hundred mile radius is evidence enough that these Olympics did not suck.”

The Olympics were inescapable, I basically just let myself get washed away in the whole thing and observed what happened,” said Vitet.

To each their own – the Olympics happened... and now we’re back in class.

//Samantha Thompson
assistant news editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: