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Friday, August 29, 2008

Was Beijing's Olympic model Montreal?

I know I'm in the minority in my analysis that the Olympic Games were a failure for the regime, but based on the latest news that the tourist dollars just didn't show had me thinking about the Montreal Games in 1976.

I was too young to remember the Games themselves, but the legend of a city bankrupting itself over them lasted for years afterwards.  Did Montreal really get whacked as badly by the Olympics as the legend goes?  Or was it myth?  I'm curious to know.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on August 29, 2008 in Canadian History, International Politics | Permalink


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The Olympics did have a negative impact on the city but remember the provincial government had taken over much of the control of the games by 1975. What impacted the city more, and probably never recovered from was the election of the PQ in November 1976.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-29 9:00:43 AM

We've finished paying the Olympic stadium last year...


The Stig, speaking like a real Anglo, is clearly a fan of the centralisation of powers.

Montreal have never been so popular, bouillant, flourishing and creative than since the avenment of the PQ on the political scene. Since this era, 80% of the population of the province of Québec can now use it's own language at work. How's that for a "recovery".

Posted by: Marc | 2008-08-29 11:03:23 AM

We've finished paying the Olympic stadium last year...
Posted by: Marc | 29-Aug-08 11:03:23 AM

31 years after it was finished, well almost finished. What's it being used for now Marc. Are the Expos and Alouettes still playing there? Is the roof still collapsing during auto shows?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-29 11:18:27 AM

Oh but I do agree.
Our staduium is useless in today's reality and I also agree with Maguire's analysis that the Olimpics bring more troubles than advantages to a city.

But one thing for sure concerning the Olympic Stadium: This year, it will serves as a scene for the conquest of the Grey Cup by the Allouettes.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-08-29 11:28:48 AM

I also agree with Maguire's analysis that the Olimpics bring more troubles than advantages to a city.
Posted by: Marc | 29-Aug-08 11:28:48 AM

Montreal is the poster child on how to not run a summer Olympic Games. Other cities such as Sydney, LA, Barcelona were tremendous successes. What made them different from the Montreal Olympics? That's easy to answer, Quebecers weren't running them.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-29 11:53:26 AM

The Montreal olympics were interesting, at least. They were a showcase for many new technologies in amateur sport. The were also a showcase for the American team. Montreal was the last opportunity to pit the west against the east. The Soviets were there, and the Cubans, and everyone viewed the games as true international competition. After Montreal the boycotts started, and we've been left with many hollow victories in a lot of sports.

Much of the debt and cost overuns were the result of corruption in the local and provincial government. If my memory serves me, Rene Levesque cleaned up a lot of that corruption. I'm not saying I'm a fan of Levesque, but any politician that takes on a corrupt system and survives deserves some respect.

Posted by: dp | 2008-08-29 2:06:18 PM

dp is right all the way.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-08-29 2:29:52 PM

They were a showcase for many new technologies in amateur sport.
Posted by: dp | 29-Aug-08 2:06:18 PM

Anabolic steroids mainly. Look at some pictures of the East German womens swimming team. Most of them looked like Hulk Hogan.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-29 10:00:01 PM

Ah! I remember it well. The Montreal Olympics brought us the Lottery in Canada. No longer did we use the Irish Sweepstakes. Thus did the Federal Liberals bail out Montreal (to avoid Mayor Drapeau his pregnancy) and La Belle Province. I even paid ten dollars on that lottery and won seventy-five.

Posted by: dewp | 2008-08-29 10:53:39 PM

I forgot all about the olympic lottery. Ten bucks was a loy of money back then. I'd say around $60 in today's dollars, sound right?

The East Germans should have won a gold medal for gender bending. Montreal was the first competition that had sex testing. Isn't it amazing that after 30 years we still haven't solved the doping problem?

Posted by: dp | 2008-08-29 11:08:13 PM

...i was there in '76 in the military being a guard at one of the schools the athletes practiced at.

Problem is, the local government didn't allow us Anglo's to have bullets. Only the 22's had bullets.

Funny eh, who said politics and sporting events didn't go hand in hand.

Yes, the Olympic stadium finally got paid off, less roof no?

Good ol' unions almost killed the Olympics, that I remember.

As well toilets plugging at the village buildings.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2008-08-30 10:01:58 PM

...just for the youngin's - 22's were the Van Doo's, the Froggie version of RCR's


Posted by: tomax7 | 2008-08-30 10:03:10 PM

...or the Pickles.

Hehhehehe. Me being a pigeon.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2008-08-30 10:03:46 PM

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