U.K. press slams Canada's hosting of Games
Some British media are slamming Canada as being a bad Olympic host, with much of the criticism focused on its role in the death of the 21-year-old Georgian luger.
A headline in the Daily Mail reads: "Canada's lust for glory is to blame for this senseless tragedy." It's a reference to the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed in a crash during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre in B.C.
"Canada wanted to Own The Podium at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. This morning they can put their Maple Leaf stamp on something more instantly tangible: the nondescript little box carrying the lifeless body of Nodar Kumaritashvili back to his home in Bakuriani, Georgia," wrote Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail.
"Made in Canada, it should say. Made by the perversion of the Olympic movement for national gain; made by a culture of worthless aggrandizement and pride."
Samuel also accuses Canada of cheating, complaining that Canadian luge competitors practised more than 300 times on the luge course while other countries' athletes had a lot less access.
Lawrence Donegan, of the Guardian, picks up on the same theme and points fingers at Canada for limiting access to facilities.
"More immediate questions may be asked by the Canadians of themselves, who, in pursuit of their own Olympic dream … appear to have forgotten that national characteristic for which they are best known: politeness," the article states.
"In the run-up to these Games, the hosts — or at least the Canadian Olympic Committee — seemed to have mislaid their manners. Money has been poured into training, while a hard-edged approach — albeit one within the rules of the Olympics — has been adopted in dealing with other teams, most noticeably in granting them only limited access to facilities such as the sliding track."
In another article, Donegan also suggests the somewhat cold response by some Canadian lugers to the death of Kumaritashvili is "another blow against [Canada's] reputation as the kindest, gentlest member of the Olympic community."
In the British Times, sports writer Simon Barnes defends Canada from blame for the tragedy, but takes aim at the country’s Own the Podium slogan.
"Their highly unpleasant Own the Podium program, in which they seek to exploit home advantage to the last nanosecond has alienated the world they are supposed to play host to," he wrote.
"Home athletes always have an advantage: getting ugly about it is neither necessary nor appropriate."
One article in the Telegraph states that: "Canada has been trying so hard to please, it hurts."