German Athletes complain about Olympic Village

The German eagle in a cardboard version - befitting the architecture of the Olympic village?It may not exactly be “The House that Pain built“, but then the Olympic Village in Whistler is also not likely to appear as the last track on a Killing Joke-album. (And “The House that Pain built” of course is still MacKinnon Residence in Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, QC, but that’s a different story altogether). Still, Whistler has German athletes complaining, as German newspaper „Die Zeit“ reported yesterday.

The Olympic Village is compared to a boy scout-summercamp. German athletes told reporters that the living standard was rather poor, compared to European standards: bad housing, food served on paper plates and with plastic cutlery.

The German team criticizes the conditions in Whistler, getting more and more worked up. Hermann Weinbuch, one of the official coaches, said it’d be bad that athletes and coaches were living so far apart. Regarding food and the way it’s served he said that it really left “a lot to desire”. Yet the biggest problem according to Weinbuch’s book are still the drafty tents. “You can really catch a cold here, easily.”

His colleague Werner Schuster from the German ski jumpers likened the Olympic village to a boy scout-summer camp. “The standard of living is quite low. Five or even six people need to share a bathroom, and the walls are paper-thin “, explained Schuster. He admits to have had issues with all that at the start. “But now I kinda like it. And I think it’s an experience for the athletes. It’s a different ambience than a hotel with four stars, because you really have to sort everything out for yourself “, Schuster continued.

Thinks Whistler is "an experience for the athletes": Werner Schuster.

Thinks Whistler is "an experience for the athletes": Werner Schuster.

During the Winter Games in Salt Lake City and Turin, some of the athletes were not accommodated in the Olympic Village. Because travelling to the games would’ve been long and cumbersome, the Deutsche Skiverband (German Skier’s Union) had booked private quarters near the event locations for athletes, coaches and other personnel. That’s a privilege that only our Alpine-ace Maria Riesch enjoys right now, along with the other ski racers as well as their advisors, trainers and their entire technical crew.

One user comments in the „Die Zeit“-forum: ”I was in Whistler two years ago. It’s a totally artificial village with everything that people under 25 need in order to have fun – if they’ve got rich parents, that is. Everything was so expensive there – so it really baffles me why the Olympic teams are housed in tents and cardboard-architecture.”

On the other hand, this anonymous user admits that we Germans have this knack of projecting our architectural and construction needs on other nations. And I guess he’s right: In Germany, everything is built to last for eternity, most architecture is really heavy masonry or even concrete, wooden houses are totally exotic (you have something like that in your garden, but you don’t live there). Maybe that’s one of the typical German quirks, to build any house like a u-boat pen. But it’s a nice one. F*** off, Katrina. Our masonry is as heavy as our music.

Suffers from "Whistler-shock": German coach Weinbuch.I still remember when my wife was first exposed to Canadian architecture in 2005 (talking about individual houses, now). It was up in Belvedere in Lennoxville, where a couple of friends of mine back from the old Bishop’s days were living in one of those little houses (the white one with the green windowframes to be exact). Involuntarily, as we pulled up the driveway, my lovely wife Silke alluded to Star Wars: “They live in that thing? They’re braver than I thought…”