Of security, salmon and rats with good P.R.
Olympic security is what it is these days. In less than two decades it has gone from a smiling volunteer nodding at the gate in the chain-link fence to squinty-eyed rent-a-cops (or real cops) scrutinizing everyone from head to toe and double- and triple-checking Ids. Plus pat-downs and bag searches.
Such is modern life and quiet co-operation is the only way to go.
But what about the bears? Did anyone realize that the erection of security perimeters around each and every Olympic facility, a must for every Olympics now, also keeps out the large wildlife?
Take the Whistler Sliding Centre, where bears used to be regular visitors. Alex Gough said she remembers pulling up from a training run a few months ago, whereupon a bear ran across the track behind her, thanks very much, and Canadian veteran Jeff Christie had his own bear story.
“I was at the start line and looked down and right there in Turn One was this big, black thing. It stood up and put its paws on the edge of the track. It was my time to go and I said to the starter, ‘I’m not going. I’m dressed all in red. I’ll look like a giant salmon.’ So I waited a while.’’
The bears have been fenced out, but some of the smaller visitors abound and Canadian singles racer Meaghan Simister said she had noticed “some of the Europeans trying to pet raccoons.’’
This does not exactly sound like a growth industry, either. Some of those damned raccoons will rip your hand in half if you give them a chance. At least the ones who hang out in my carport are like that and they’re all related. They’re just rats with better P.R. and Davey Crockett had the right idea: Make hats out of them.