As we enter the Vancouver Olympiad, we should stop a minute and ask what it is all about.

The Winter Olympics is one of the biggest marketing promotions in the world.  So who does it benefit?  Why do we do it?

Are the Olympics a chance for people all over the world to get together and celebrate the family of man?

To wonder at the diversity of our activities and achievements?  To compete and reward the fastest, highest, strongest (Citius, Altius, Fortius) competitor?

Or are the Olympics just an excuse for continuing tribalism?  Or are they a wholesome celebration of nations?

If the Olympic are celebrating human achievement and brotherhood why is all the advertising that is inundating us all about OUR Canadian team members?

We are waving our flags!  We will be counting the medals we win!  Cheering!  Singing our anthems!

And why do they keep score by country?  Why are the “teams” organized by country ?

What do countries have to do with it at all?  Are the Olympics just simulated warfare?

If we eliminate the tribalism, is there enough left for us to cheer about?

I have been most interested in the stories from the Olympics of athletes showing the spirit of the family of man.

My favourite story is the Canadian sailing racer, Lawrence Lemieux, who pulled out of a race to rescue a distressed competitor from the water in the Seoul Olympics.  Although he ended up finishing 23rd, officials awarded him second place.  That’s what we should celebrate.

But for the spoiled superstars who missed their medals because they only gave it 110%, we ask – why didn’t you give 120%?  Or 150%? You better be good at your sport because you suck at math.

These questions floating around in our brains won’t stop us from watching the drama and tension, the euphoria of victories, the crashes of spirits when victory eludes.  It is better than any other contrived reality show on TV.

And a glorious showcase for one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  You go, Vancouver!

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