Furlong is reflecting at the legacy of the Video games this week as Wednesday marks a decade for the reason that Olympic flame landed in Canada, kicking off a long torch relay forward of the two-week-long festival.
Reminiscences across the starting of the relay are bittersweet for Furlong. His highest buddy Jack Poole, chair of the Olympic organizing committee, died of pancreatic most cancers only a week prior to Furlong landed in Victoria on a Canadian Air Pressure jet with lanterns containing the celebrated hearth.
“I take into account at the first day having this fantastic unhappiness but in addition nice exhilaration,” Furlong stated. “In some way, I believe that Jack died on an afternoon the place he felt it was once OK to head. The venture was once now up and operating.”
Beginning on Oct. 30, 2009, the Olympic flame traversed Canada for 106 days immediately. It handed thru each and every province and territory, and in the course of the fingers of greater than 12,000 folks prior to the cauldron was once lit on Vancouver’s waterfront.
From the very starting the organizing committee sought after the 2010 Olympics to be “Canada’s Video games,” Furlong stated, and the relay was once a chance to peer whether or not the rustic had purchased into their imaginative and prescient.
“We would have liked to the touch each and every lifestyles, each and every kid, each and every circle of relatives, each and every trade. We would have liked this to topic to everyone. We would have liked to be a part of their dialog,” he stated.
Furlong nonetheless has a brilliant reminiscence of the day the relay landed in Outdated Crow, a far flung neighborhood of about 220 folks in northwest Yukon.
“Town had just about doubled in measurement. Then we knew it was once recreation on,” he stated.
Regardless of beef up alongside the relay direction, the Video games were given off to a wobbly get started as soon as the flame returned to Vancouver.
Masked protesters smashed retailer home windows, grew to become over newspaper containers and spray painted constructions and automobiles within the town’s downtown core. Surprisingly gentle climate left organizers scrambling to seek out snow for occasions on Cypress Mountain simply days prior to festival was once set to start. Tragedy struck in Whistler, B.C., when Georgian bobsledder Nodar Kumaritashvili suffered a deadly crash all the way through a coaching run.
Furlong fondly recalls how Vancouverites persisted to beef up organizers and volunteers, encouraging them to stay going.
“We simply form of felt like that they had our backs,” he stated.
“Once we have been suffering, when the younger guy from Georgia died and we have been going through a wide variety of demanding situations and adversity and unhealthy climate and the harsh get started we had, the folks of the town have been all cheering us on and doing what they might and including a layer of enthusiasm and spirit to the venture.”
Right through the Video games, Canadian historical past was once made over and over again.
Alexandre Bilodeau turned into the primary athlete to ever seize Olympic gold on Canadian soil, taking first in males’s moguls on the second one day of festival. The rustic’s athletes additionally set a brand new report for medals at a Wintry weather Video games, successful 26 (14 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze).
Seeing an abundance of sturdy performances was once an important for Canadians looking at at house, Furlong stated, noting that individuals didn’t care in regards to the logistics of the occasions, like busses attending to venues on time.
“They cared about turning at the TV and being excited,” he stated. “They anticipated us to do our jobs.”
Vancouver equipped many a bonding second for Canadian sports activities lovers, from Sidney Crosby’s “golden objective” within the males’s hockey finals to determine skater Joannie Rochette’s gut-wrenching, bronze medal-winning functionality simply days after her mom’s unexpected dying.
“It was once virtually a novel Canadian tale in that (the Video games) began out with nice adversity and ended with a profound victory,” Furlong stated. “It’s roughly a hero tale. It’s very particular.”
The ones moments of luck created an enduring legacy, he added.
With athletes successful medals in new disciplines at an extraordinary charge, high-performance sports activities grew into a bigger precedence for the rustic, Furlong stated.
“Now now we have this legal responsibility not to let it move away, not to let it die and to ensure we play our phase in laying the desk for the long run and the use of this for example of the luck you’ll be able to have while you pour it on, put the fitting assets in position, get ready the staff correctly,” he stated.
Canada’s luck persisted on the 2018 Video games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the place athletes set a brand new nationwide wintry weather report via bringing house 29 Olympic and 28 Paralympic medals.
Whilst a number of of the celebrities from the 2010 Video games have moved on from their athletic careers, a recent set of skiers, skaters and sliders are taking their position.
Lots of the ones athletes first fell in love with game looking at the Vancouver Olympics, Furlong stated. Others, he famous, have grown up coaching at amenities just like the Whistler sliding centre or the Richmond Oval, each venues that have been constructed for 2010.
The Vancouver Olympics didn’t, on the other hand, depart all of the nation with a burning enthusiasm to as soon as once more host the Video games.
Calgary held a plebiscite closing November, asking electorate in the event that they sought after to host the 2026 Wintry weather Video games. Just about 305,000 folks voted, with 56.four in step with cent pronouncing ‘no.’
The verdict was once a disappointing one for Furlong, who believes internet hosting the Olympics will have given Alberta one thing to unite round “like a religious carry.”
Nonetheless, he doesn’t suppose Canada is completely out of the operating for bringing the Video games again.
“I believe the following time (Canada) is going to search for an Olympic Video games, we’ll be higher at it,” Furlong stated. “We’ll have advanced extra. The sorts of issues that took place to (the Calgary) bid most likely gained’t occur once more.”
Within the intervening time, the previous head of the 2010 Video games is the use of the 10-year anniversary as a chance to “re-ignite the spirit of the Video games” with a gala, arranged via the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee, in Vancouver on Feb. 22.
Present and previous athletes, and lots of the individuals who helped put in combination the Vancouver Olympics will use the instance to remind every different of what it takes to expand champions, Furlong stated.
Budget raised via the development will move in opposition to supporting Canadian athletes.
“Ten years on, persons are nonetheless excited. Many of those younger athletes are actually champions for the following era,” Furlong stated.
“We’ve got this new roughly magnificence, this graduating magnificence of leaders who’re going to be able to take the next move and lead Canada into the following Olympic bid, on every occasion it’s.”
This record via The Canadian Press was once first printed Oct. 30, 2019.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
Observe to readers: This can be a corrected tale. A prior model had the unsuitable date for the cross-Canada Olympic torch rally
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