International Papers

Canadian Gold

Vancouver, B.C.’s successful bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics gave the Canadian press something to cheer about after a tough few months. The Toronto Star sighed, “Between SARS and the news of one mad cow, this country has taken a beating in the world press lately. It’s nice to have some good news.”

The Toronto papers were magnanimous, though everyone agreed that the International Olympic Committee’s decision effectively puts paid to that city’s Olympic dreams. The Toronto Sun admitted, “Realistically, this … means there’s no point in Toronto pursuing the 2012 Summer Games or any Olympic bid for the foreseeable future.” Giving up on the games might actually be good for T.O., though, since the “city council must revitalize Toronto without relying on the longshot of a successful Games bid. And that could prove to be a huge benefit if it finally focuses council on growing Toronto through … sensible initiatives.” The Star said, “Greater Toronto Area is left to play cheerleader, rather than host. But it’s a role that all Toronto residents should happily accept.”

In Montreal, where the 1976 SummerGames left a disastrous financial legacy, the Gazette declared: “Many Montrealers still react with a shudder of terror to the idea of hosting another Olympics. Nobody here needs to be reminded that we are still paying for the 1976 summer Games.” Still, the paper added, Montreal taught subsequent Olympic cities a lesson, and there’s little chance their “horrendous example” will be repeated in 2010.

The Vancouver Sun reported that activists who had opposed Vancouver’s Olympic bid will now form a panel of experts “to monitor the impact of the Olympics on everything from social housing to economics to the environment.” The Sun’s editorial encouraged “the naysayers” to come on board. “Those who have spoken against the Olympics might have legitimate concerns, but the war against the Olympics is over. While proponents of other priorities can still make their concerns heard, it would serve everyone best if they choose to work with, rather than against, the organizing committee.” An op-ed sought to calm the doubters by invoking the Olympic spirit:

At their heart, in a place inaccessible to those who perceive them only in terms of jobs, the money they spin and ways to exploit them for political and economic gain, the Olympics still represent athletes prepared to test themselves against the best in the world in a climate of friendship, tolerance and mutual respect.