Sordid history of ‘The Big O’

Now that Morgan Hurd and the rest of the world survived Worlds Montreal, let’s talk about the Big O. It’s been called the “greatest white elephant of a stadium ever built“.

And it’s still under construction though the 1976 Olympic debt was finally repaid some years ago.

The roof has broken and been repaired many times over the years. Chunks have fallen.

Inside it’s a massive, confusing maze of dead end concrete space. The only way to get around efficiently is by bicycle or golf cart.

Judges and media had only 2 slow elevators to get to the field of play. After a week I finally found a random set of stairs and used those instead. It’s very easy to get lost.

Many have commented on how few washrooms are available in a complex that size. Eventually some Men’s toilets were switched to serve the ladies.

I was relieved there weren’t more problems.

So … I’m sure the City at various times considered tearing down The Big O. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t. It’s weirdly beautiful. And there are plenty of attractions nearby that I enjoy. Especially the new Gymnastics facility in the tower. A Gym was proposed way back in the late 1970s. The INS Gym will be a great resource in future.

If interested read more in The Guardian – The 40-year hangover: how the 1976 Olympics nearly broke Montreal

The Montreal Olympics left the city with a C$1.6bn debt, a string of corruption scandals, and a creeping sense of economic and social decline. Forty years on, how did the city survive?

On 17 July, with Queen Elizabeth, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 73,000 people looking on, the Greek athletes who traditionally led the Parade of Nations came up the ramp toward the Olympic stadium to find their way almost blocked by construction workers.

Out of sight of the cameras and the throng inside the stadium, the staff were frantically wielding shovels and brooms to clear away the building debris left from the manic push to complete the facility on time. In the final scrambling months before the Games, 3,000 labourers had worked in teams 24 hours a day to make it possible for the Olympics to begin at all. They barely succeeded. …

The Olympics can no more run a deficit than a man can have a baby

(Mayor) Jean Drapeau, in 1970

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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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