2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver a Success despite Setbacks

Snowboard Men's SBX - Day 2

Vancouver, British Columbia, on Canada’s Pacific coast, hosted the XXI Winter Olympic Games February 12–28, 2010. The Vancouver Games encountered a number of challenges, including rainy, not snowy, weather and a tragic luge accident that killed an athlete from the country of Georgia. Because of these problems, some observers called the Vancouver event the “Glitch Games.”

The world’s best skiers, skaters, snowboarders, hockey players, and other athletes, from more than 80 countries, turned in outstanding performances in the 15 winter sports events. Winter Olympic sports fall into three main categories: ice sports (including figure skating, ice hockey, luge, and speed skating); alpine skiing and snowboarding; and Nordic (including cross-country skiing and ski jumping). Each event has at least two medal events—men’s and women’s; some, like alpine skiing, consist of multiple medal events, such as for different distances or courses. TV viewership was expected to reach 3 billion, and the Games promised record-setting Internet participation (75 million visitors were expected to access Vancouver2010.com). At the conclusion, the USA, Germany, and Canada placed gold-silver-bronze in the overall medal race. Canada’s Olympians won the most gold medals at 14, while Germany’s earned 10, and American and Norwegian athletes were awarded 9 apiece.

The last Olympic Games held in Canada were the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. Vancouver was elected the host city for 2010, in a close vote over PyeongChang, South Korea. From the opening ceremony’s Olympic cauldron malfunction to the not-so-wintry weather, the Games appeared to be in trouble. But Olympic officials in Vancouver remained optimistic, and the workforce that included about 25,000 volunteers lived up to their theme: With Glowing Hearts.

Image © Photo by Streeter Lekca/Getty Images

Related Links

  • Vancouver 2010: With Glowing Hearts
    The official Web site of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics: from skating to skiing to Skeleton—photos and highlight videos, country medal counts, individual athlete bios, event schedules and spectator guides, and more.
    (Source: www.vancouver2010.com ; accessed February 26, 2010)
  • The Big Picture
    A truly awesome photo gallery from the first 8 days of the Vancouver Winter Olympics—the next best thing to having been there.
    (Source: www.boston.com, February 19, 2010)
  • Olympic Games
    The official Web site of the Olympic movement, hosted by the International Olympic Committee: revisit past Olympic Games (both Winter and Summer) and find out about upcoming Olympics, including the Paralympic Games.
    (Source: www.olympic.org; accessed February 26, 2010)
  • Vancouver 2010: A Human Legacy
    This article tells the story of the approximately 55,000 people whose work before, during, and after the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver made it all possible.
    (Source: www.olympic.org; accessed February 26, 2010)

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Summarize What are the three major categories of Winter Olympics sports events?
  2. Make Inferences How is the challenge of hosting an Olympic Games like a sporting contest in itself?
  3. Form and Support Opinions Should a sport that proves to be dangerous be banned from the Olympics?

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