Maxed Out 

As Kermit said, it’s hard being green

By G.D. Maxwell

Ski jumping is to skiing what rocketing over the Grand Canyon on two wheels is to motorcycling… spectacle.

Yeah, yeah, it takes skill; it takes talent; it’s a sport, whatever that means. And, most important of all, it’s an Olympic ™ sport.

But the sad fact is, if it wasn’t an Olympic™ sport, it would probably have been relegated to its rightful place in the pantheon of outdated sports.

Ski jumping, like so many other Olympic™ sports, are simply historical anachronisms, woefully out of place in any modern concept of sport and, one suspects, retained only as make-work projects for the two or three companies in the world licensed to build the overpriced facilities needed to carry them out. I suspect if some industrious investigative reporter scratched deeply enough she might find a member or two of the Olympic™ Family™ involved in the firms that make the things.

All of this is important, of course, in light of the startling, night-follows-day announcement recently that the Calgary Olympic™ Development Association has decided to pull the plug on the formerly world-class, Olympic™ ski jumping facilities built for the 1988 – wow, talk about your ancient history – Calgary Olympics™.

The announcement from CODA came hard on the heels of the 2010™ Vancouver Organizing Committee musing about weaseling out of its everlasting legacy to build and fund permanent ski jumping facilities in the Callaghan valley.

There are at least several conclusions one might draw from these developments.

One may conclude Olympic™ organizing committees, development associations and other bodies bearing august-sounding names and having something to do with the fatuous five-ring circus have serious difficulties with the meaning of simple English words. Or, one may conclude they simply lie through their teeth. Or both.

One may, equally easily, conclude the permanence of a legacy, at least in Olympic™ speak, is transitory. A temporary or vapourous legacy, if you will.

Or, one may simply conclude ski jumping is a ridiculous, expensive, facility-intensive sport that is of little interest to anyone other than the dozen or so athletes who want to pursue it – and the several dozen people making at least part of their living administering it – and ought to be re-examined in light of today’s reality, that is, in light of what people in the 21 st century actually do when they strap skis onto their feet.

Either way, it makes a mockery of the International Olympic™ Committee’s and, closer to home, VANOC’s marketing noises about holding greener, more eco-friendly, yea, even more sustainable Olympics™.

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