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Olympics analyst, academic to give a talk Monday

September 13th, 2009 · 4 Comments

I don’t post too much in the way of upcoming events, but this talk seems especially useful as we head into the Olympics frenzy for the next six months. I won’t be able to go due to a previous commitment, but anyone who does and wants to post comments afterwards would be most welcome.

I’d be interested in hearing what she has to say. I’m sure that, given my previous posts, some people now have me categorized as being totally in thrall to Olympics boosterism. But, in fact I am equally dubious of the unsubstantiated claims of people who keep saying the Olympics will do so much for the economy of the city and province. It would be really interesting if someone (I don’t think it will be this woman, but maybe) would analyze how much more it cost to build the many Olympics-related projects in the Lower Mainland because of the way all the pre-Olympics construction drove up materials and labour costs. A small part of the gigantic Olympics-machine effects, but a point I’m curious about.

One more note before the announcement. Simon Fraser University is also going to be putting on events analyzing the impact of the Olympics and their legacies in the week of Oct. 19, which I will post future notices about.


For immediate release   –  September 12, 2009

Professor Helen Lenskyj, noted researcher and one of the most outspoken critics of the Olympic industry, will give a lecture at UBC’s Green College on Monday, Sept. 14th, at 5 pm.

Lenskyj has written three books about the Olympics whose focus has been on the negative impacts of the Olympics on host cities and regions. Her topics range from criminalization of homelessness and poverty, gentrification, and environmental degradation, to the suppression of free speech and assembly. In context to Vancouver’s upcoming Winter Games, Lenskyj notes that little has changed for the better since she published her first book nine years ago. “They [the problems] are playing themselves out again in Vancouver and Whistler.”

Her talk on Monday (Sept. 14th) will kick off a thematic lecture series ‘The Olympic Games in Myth and Reality,’ focused on the impacts of the Olympics. The Green College speakers’ series runs most Mondays from Sept. 14 to Dec. 7.  Later topics include:  Olympic image-making and the media; private profits and public debt; Olympics on unceded Indigenous land; impacts on the poor and homeless; Olympic security and civil liberties; environmental damages and corporate sponsors; the Olympic industry as part of corporate globalization; and corruption in the International Olympic Committee.

Lenskyj is a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and will also speak at the Whistler Public Library at 6:30 pm on Sept. 12 at a meeting hosted by Whistler Watch and the Council of Canadians. Lenskyj’s most recent book “Olympic Industry Resistance: Challenging Olympic Power and Propaganda,” was released in 2009 and deals with the emergence of organized resistance to the Olympics. A large part of the opposition to the hosting of the Games arises due to the lack of transparency that surrounds the initial Bid and continues through the pre-Games preparations. Lenskyj notes that, “It’s very hard for residents to be fully informed and therefore have a position (on the Games). Most people are kind of waiting until it’s over to see what unfolds.”

Monday, September 14, 2009, 5 – 6:30pm
Lecture FREE and open to all
UBC’s Green College Coach House – 6201 Cecil Green Park Road (north of NW Marine Drive).
Map at

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