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Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics from a Foreign Perspective – Part 2: Post Olympics

Mar 12, 2010

by Jennifer Kennefick, VIA Architecture
Link to Part 1: Pre-Olympics

One Olympics down, one to go! And didn’t the first installment go well!! The hosts could not have asked for a better result, with Canada winning 26 medals and 14 of them gold. And to top it all off, on the last day, a fairytale hockey ending, with Canada beating the USA in extra time and Sidney Crosby scoring the winning goal. It was like a scene from a Mighty Ducks film!

So, what happened to all the worries and concerns regarding the lack of snow and the ‘outrageous’ amounts of people?

Snow: No real problems; Whistler had plenty and Cypress had prepared enough in advance to deal with the precipitation shortages!
Crowds: Amazing! So many people, in such a great mood and dealt with so well.

The Olympics really tested the city, tested it to see how it would deal with such an influx of people and exposure. It was tested infrastructurally, socially, culturally, spiritually and I feel that it passed on every level.

A major worry people had prior to the start of the Games was problems and crowds on public transport, which in my experience wasn’t too bad at all. For me, the main problem was the crowds for entertainment events! The queues to get into many of the events and various international houses were crazy! I guess when you think about it, it wasn’t really a bad thing after all! Better to have too many people than not enough!

And like anyone else who said “Sure the Olympics are only here once!” I did my fair share of queuing for various events, and most of what I queued for was well worth it in the end. As a little aside, I have to mention that there was one perk of being ‘foreign’ during the Olympics. I got to skip the queue and forego the cover charge to The Irish House. Sweet!

I was very impressed with the effort around the city by vendors and shop owners, especially here in Yaletown. The streets were lined with stalls, food vendors, exhibits etc. There was really a great buzz around, with people from all over the world proudly wearing their country colours and checking out what the area had to offer.

There is nothing like an international sporting event to bring people and countries together. Everyone wants to see their country do well. The friendly banter both within and across border divides makes for strengthened relationships and for fun! Working in a fairly multi-cultural office, made for lots of banter and for running in and out of the boardroom to watch our various countries competing via live online stream on our big screen!

For me, the last 2 weeks have really reinforced the importance of sport and sporting events in society. They also highlighted that facilities for both playing and watching sports are really important to the success of cities. This is true not only at the scale of an event like the Winter Olympics but also at the scale of the 7 a-side inter-office soccer leagues and friends who go to their local bar to watch the ‘game’! 

The Paralympics start today — I guess it is inevitable that it won’t receive as much attention and press as the main Olympics, and it is not surprising either that most of the tents and country houses are not staying for its duration. But I for one am excited because it means that I can get my hands on tickets and it also means that the Olympic fun can continue for a little while longer, though perhaps maybe not on such an intense level!

One Comment

  1. As a foreigner you hit the nail on the head. This was a story book ending and one that will go down in Canadian history as one of the highlights for centuries to come.

    This first round to the Olympic experience has such an impact on our psyche that I am at a lost to figure out what this second installment will be like. You have captured the spirit of the Olympics quite well from a Vancouver perspective. I have attempted to do the same by creating a Virtual Whistler, which was created to provide visitors, the ability to explore whistler virtually and see where everything is happening. Read the posts and virtually ski the downhill course or walk through the village during the Paralympics.