Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tenth anniversary edition of Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics out now

VANCOUVER, Feb. 11, 2020: A decade of local political debate, protests and fevered anticipation. Two years of global economic upheaval. Seventeen days of Olympic glitches and Olympic glory. The price? More than $6 billion. Maybe as much as $9 billion. 
Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics by Bob Mackin is the story of how the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada came and went. 
The 10th anniversary edition of the only independent e-book about Vancouver 2010 is available now for $10 Canadian. Click here to order. 
Canadians celebrated coast-to-coast-to-coast the record 14 gold medals won by their Olympians in Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler in February 2010. The politicians and sponsors who staged the mega-event were quick to declare it a grand success. 
Governments involved in the Games of the Great Recession were not so forthcoming about full cost details. They were focused on selling the benefits. Vancouver, always striving to be "world class," got new transportation, convention and recreation facilities. The diversion of spending put a strain on hospitals, schools and courts. 
British Columbia's auditor general never did a final tally. Canadians got to celebrate and show national pride. But did taxpayers get value for money? The auditor general did not go looking for waste and corruption after the Olympic cauldron was extinguished. 
The athletes are under intense pressure to follow the rules, or else. The suits in the boardrooms? Not so much. During the Games, the Westin Bayshore hosted the biggest gathering of the most-tainted sports executives in history, such as FIFA's Sepp Blatter and senior government officials from Russia and Qatar. The Vancouver Games featured heavy involvement of SNC-Lavalin, which built the $2 billion Canada Line, worked with the Ministry of Transportation on the $600 million Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion and became the 64th sponsor of the organizing committee, VANOC. 
The world's biggest winter sports festival was ultimately a vehicle to expand B.C.'s real estate and tourism industries. A decade later, it is obvious that it was a boon for both. But Vancouver became one of the world's most expensive cities, with higher rents and higher taxes. It also became a destination for money laundering in casinos and housing. Luxury skyscrapers changed the skyline. Homeless tent cities also proliferated around the region.
The athletes of 82 nations who came to the place where sea meets sky and competed in the most-expensive Winter Games before Sochi 2014 did not all go home. 
Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died on opening day in a crash at the extreme Whistler Sliding Centre, sparking questions about whether Games officials really did all they could to ensure safety. 
It was the most-dynamic period in British Columbia history an the Olympics were at the foreground or background of every major government and political decision. The scandal, the controversy, the tragedy and the comedy. Broken promises and false expectations. Canada's greatest party. 
This is a cautionary tale of what happens when a boom goes bust while preparing to welcome the world. And what happens when the world comes after the party is over. All seen through the expert observations of a journalist who went along for the bumpy ride. 
This is more than a story of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It is about fear and greed. Unity and division. Celebration and anguish. Life and death. 
It is Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics. 

The 10th anniversary edition of the only independent e-book about Vancouver 2010 is available now for $10 Canadian. Click here to order. 

For media inquiries, click here to contact author Bob Mackin. 

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