The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ended with a bang, when the country that gave the game of hockey to the world was on top of the world. On home ice.
Canadians celebrated coast-to-coast-to-coast the record 14 gold medals won by their Olympians in Vancouver and Whistler. The politicians and sponsors who staged the event were quick to declare it a grand success. But was it?
The Games of the Great Recession were a party worth at least $6 billion, though none of the governments really kept track of all the costs. There were benefits. Vancouver, always striving to be "world class," got new transportation, convention and recreation facilities out of the deal. The massive spending diversion put a strain on hospitals, schools and courts.
The athletes of 82 nations who competed at the biggest, most expensive Winter Olympics in history didn't all go back to their home countries. Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died on opening day in a crash at the extreme Whistler Sliding Centre, sparking questions about whether Games officials really did all they could to ensure safety.
This is more than a story of the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. It's about fear and greed, unity and division, celebration and anguish.
It is red mittens and red ink.