They’re called “Olympia machines” — electric versions of the old Zambonis — but, like many brilliant “green” ideas, they’re expensive and don’t work:
The electric Zambonis â€” part of Canada’s attempt at a green Vancouver Olympics â€” failed multiple times this evening, causing a massive delay in in the middle of the Men’s 500-meter speedskating event.
The Canadian-built electric ice resurfacers used at the Richmond Olympic Oval are supposed to help the environment but it cost the second half of the 500M speedskating pairs after one ice-resurfacing machine couldn’t properly clean the ice. Then a second machine failed. Then they brought in a third and it, too, screwed up the course.
With speeds of up to 40 MPH reached on the ice, the rutted and uneven surface was considered too dangerous to skate on. It was eventually fixed but American Shani Davis, prepping himself for a gold medal run in the 1,000-meter, decided to withdraw.
Three electric Olympia machines were used, and none did the job. Now those things, along with their batteries, will probably end up on a scrap heap somewhere, and the Vancouver Olympics organizers are airlifting in a good ol’ gas-powered Zamboni from Calgary so there are no more long delays at the rink. “Carbon neutral” indeed. I can feel it getting warmer outside already.
This reminds me of the brilliantly conceived eco-friendly solar-powered outdoor toilets on which Seattle spent at least $140,000. But the panels got covered in snow, cutting off power to the batteries, which then froze and had to be repaired and/or replaced and the cost skyrocketed.
Yeah, let’s put the greenies in charge of the whole world!