“Canadians should lighten up over the Winter Olympics – Britain is next”

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Opinion piece in the Guardian, the paper that’s leading the critical charge against the Vancouver Games. Is ridicule really part of the Olympic ideal? If so, Stephen Colbert’s arrival in Vancouver should be the difference maker for us all. At least he’s funny!

Malfunctioning ice penises: Vancouver 2010 opening ceremony. Photo: Sandra Behne/Bongarts/Getty Images

Vancouver needs to stop being so touchy about criticism of the 2010 Games. Ridicule is all part of the Olympic ideal

“Piss off Brits,” concludes a furious email typical of the Guardian’s Vancouver Olympics mailbag, “and stop producing so many ugly women.”

“I am deeply disappointed at the tone of this article,” fumes a response to my colleague Martin Kelner’s intentionally amusing article about the unintentionally amusing opening ceremony, “and the tone of many Brits or expat Brits enjoying the hospitality of our country.” To which the only appropriate reply is: do lighten up, Canada! Sorry for coming over all capital letters about it, but Olympic hosts are SUPPOSED to be teased. You basically pay billions of dollars for the world to laugh at you. Deal with it.

It’s not like the merriment gets in the way of the sport. It’s the après-sport, if you will – something that happens around the edges, but in its way as much a part of every Games fortnight as the competition itself. Treating anything reverently bar the sport is creepy. Even the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron de Coubertin, appeared to tacitly understand that the Games were war by other means, for all their facile message of world peace.

This is why Australian comedians Roy and HG scored such a hit with their nightly TV show during the Sydney Games, and it is why Vancouver is made for the latest stunt from the brilliant Steven Colbert, whose gift for debunking sacred cultural events is becoming second to none.

Read the whole article here.

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