World media weigh in on gaffe-plagued Games

A sampling of the criticism that has appeared in some of the world's major media outlets about the way the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games have gone so far.
New Yorkers Margaret Conklin and Adam Levine, in yellow slickers, wait out a delay in the rain as fog shrouds the bleachers at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver prior to the women's snowboard cross competition on Tuesday. The start of qualifying was delayed by fog. Bad weather, equipment failures and the death of an athlete are just some of the problems Olympic organizers have faced in the first few days of the Vancouver Games. ((Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press))

Commentators writing in media outlets around the world have unleashed some harsh criticism of the way the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games have gone so far. Here is a sampling of some of their comments.


"Ohhhhhhhh, Canada. The elephant is laughing at you. Between a fatality on the luge track, the incessant rain, the delays on the ski hills and those scary protests in which crazies wear masks and break windows at fancy department stores, you seem unfit to host the Games — much less Own the Podium."

Jay Mariotti, writing for


"Despite the best and sometimes infuriating efforts of networks and producers to ration and carefully goose the drama, this tumultuous long weekend in Vancouver reaffirmed that the Olympics are, at heart, an unmanageable event. Where else could you see a tragedy like Mr. Kumaritashvili's death followed so closely by the unintentional comedy of a Spinal Tap-like malfunction to the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony?"

— Jason Gay, writing for the Wall Street Journal


"The difficulty for those organizing an Olympics is this: they're determined to build facilities that test the best in the world; yet at the same time, they need to be aware that the IOC doesn't want the Games to be elitist. So, there can be a large variable in standard between the best and worst in any event. If that balance goes wrong, then a track that is testing for the very best in the world could end up being dangerous for others."

— James Pearce, blogging on


"These are the Olympic Games. You ought to be able make a mistake in a game and not lose your life. And I wonder if it had anything to do with those exposed steel girders that the kid slammed into. So, don’t blame the kid, for God's sakes."

— Late-night talk show host David Letterman, commenting on officials' reaction to the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training accident on Feb. 12.


"Note to Canada: that was you getting fired. Because, I mean, look at it: what's the one thing you should know how to do at this point, in terms of athletic preparedness? We're not asking you to produce a gripping television series or a memorable historical figure. Just keep the ice smooth, Canada. That's all you had to do. And you had, like, eight years to plan for this."

— Steve Almond, writing on  about a lengthy delay at the men's 500-metre long-track speedskating event because of problems with ice resurfacing machines


"The team behind the London Olympics are leaving nothing to chance in order to avoid the sort of disasters befalling the Winter Games in Vancouver. They are already exploring what the weather might be like when the torch is lit in the new Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012. They cannot afford gaffes and calamities on the same scale as those of the past few days in the Canadian city, for judgment would be swift and damning, industry experts said."

— Kevin Eason, sports correspondent for Britain's The Times