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Games could become 'worst in Olympic history': The Guardian

In a story with the headline "Vancouver Games continue downhill slide from disaster to calamity," a writer from The Guardian suggests that if problems continue, these Games could become the worst ever.

"It is hard to believe anything will surpass the organisational chaos and naked commercial greed of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta or the financial­ disaster of the 1976 Games, which bankrupted Montreal," wrote Lawrence Donegan Monday from Vancouver for the U.K. news outlet, "yet with every passing day the sense of drift and nervousness about the Vancouver Games grows ever more noticeable."

Donegan cites continuing problems at Cypress mountain that led to the refunding of 4,000 tickets to one of the snowboarding competitions, as well as power outages in the concession stands. The writer quotes the head of communications for VANOC:

"'Cypress is like your special child,' explained Renee Smith-Valade, who sounded more like a social worker at the end of her tether than the head of communications for VANOC. 'Your special child that is bright and talented and good-looking and causes you all kinds of worries. But they are still your special child.'"

Donegan goes on to say that it may not have been wise for the IOC to grant the Games to a city with such a fair climate and that organizers shouldn't be blamed for weather-related problems. But he also points to what could be considered organizational-related problems, such as transportation issues that caused "...Gordon Campbell, and the chiefs of the four host First Nations to miss the singing of the Canadian anthem at Friday's opening ceremony," or the hydraulic glitch that lead to the cauldron's erectile dysfunction during those same ceremonies.

Donegan also mentioned the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili and the luge-track safety questions that followed.

"Most worryingly of all for the organisers in Vancouver," concludes Donegan, "VANOC has failed to quell the growing sense that the 2010 Winter Olympics will be remembered as something substantially less than a triumph."

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