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It has been almost 500 days since the Olympic flame was extinguished in Vancouver, thus bringing an end to an unforgettable XXI Olympic Winter Games. Today in Durban, Vancouver Organising Committee Chairman John Furlong and IOC Coordination Commission Chairman René Fasel closed another chapter of the Games by delivering the final presentation for Vancouver 2010 to the 123rd IOC Session.
By all measures, the Vancouver Games were a great success. The local Organising Committee set out to “touch the soul of the nation and inspire the world by creating and delivering an extraordinary Olympic and Paralympic experience with lasting legacies,” Furlong told the Session. Mission accomplished: The Games united Canada from coast to coast, brought greater global awareness and respect for Canada’s aboriginal community, and left many lasting sports, social, human and infrastructure legacies.
One of the greatest legacies from the Games was a renewed interest in volunteerism thanks to the 50,000 “blue jackets”, who donated their time and effort to help make the Games a remarkable experience for everyone involved.
The Games also brought much in the way of infrastructure to Vancouver. From the Canada Line metro to the Sea to Sky highway, and from the Convention Centre to renovations at the airport, the area continues to benefit from the work undertaken to stage the Games.
Canada’s Own the Podium programme was a clear success, resulting in the most gold medals (14) ever won by a single country at an Olympic Winter Games. This not only inspired a new generation of athletes in Canada, but also led to an increase in funding for sport in the country.
Waste-free and carbon-neutral, Vancouver 2010 set a new standard for environmental sustainability, while Legacies Now (renamed LIFT) created a great number of social legacies, including affordable housing and an acceleration in the growth of not-for-profit organisations.
“Rarely in my many years within the Olympic Movement, have I ever seen such passion, such energy, such willingness to come together around such a unifying project as the Games,” said Fasel. “Canadians joined forces to welcome the world and show the best that Canada could offer. I am sincerely convinced that this renewed pride and confidence that Canadians have in themselves is undoubtedly one of the greatest legacies that the Games have left to Vancouver, British Columbia and the whole of Canada.
“The Olympic Games have once again shown their tremendous catalysing effect and their potential to produce long-lasting change when they support a clear vision that is shared by all the partners involved in their organisation.”