As I read (and weep) about the ending of the Paralympic Games today I have been thinking about my time out in BC as an Olympic volunteer. I have tons of memories, good and not so good; made many new friends; taken over 4,500 photographs (which I am still sorting out); added to my pin collection; and many pieces of Olympic memorabilia – red mittens and Canada scarf (regretting that I didn’t buy the hat to match :(); a cow-bell and bear bells; a set of Petro Canada glasses (that didn’t break in transit back to Scotland!); and the gifts given to the volunteers by VANOC and the IOC. We were given a couple of pin badges, glass coasters, a commemorative coin/medal, a stunning Birks Olympic key ring (which I plan to change to a necklace) and a Swatch watch when we finished our last shift. All unexpected and very much appreciated by me.
Gifts from VANOC and IOC
I miss my colleagues and friends in the Village at Whistler and I hope they all had a great Paralympic Games, and I hope to see them again sometime.
I don’t however, miss the food in the workforce dining area. It was some of the most unpleasant food I have ever tasted and was pleased we could use the meal vouchers at McDonalds. I am sorry if that is too critical but I believe it is important to feed your volunteers properly, after all they are giving freely of their time and working hard to help deliver a successful Games. Yes, the gifts are welcomed but the every day care of the volunteers is crucial, and food is a vital component.
In the coming weeks the Villages in both Vancouver and Whistler will be dismantled and the work completed to turn them into the homes that people have bought.
I was pleased to have been able to visit the Vancouver Village. I didn’t get the opportunity to see inside the buildings due to the preparation for the Paralympics but the outside and surrounding area are very impressive. The condos on False Creek in Vancouver will have magnificent views of the city and beyond to the mountains.
The houses in Whistler are situated in a lovely rural setting, surrounded by the mountains and trees.
The homes in Vancouver and Whistler are a lasting legacy of these Games and not many folk will be able to say that they had Olympic/Paralympic athletes staying in their homes. One day I hope to go back to Whistler to see how they area of the Village has been developed.
I also hope when I do return in the winter I will experience a Whistler winter and see the snow rather than the grass in the valley.
I have posted a few photos of both Villages here if you are interested.
Whistler Village (with snow!!)
It’s over to you now London in 2012. You have a hard act to follow, and I don’t mean Beijing. Will the UK unite like Canada did? Will the streets of London buzz like Vancouver and Whistler? Will it rain for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games!? Only time will tell.
And then we move onto 2014, a year of sport, when Sochi hosts the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Glasgow will host the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup will be held at Gleneagles, Scotland. Bring it on!