As the 2010 Games are drawing to a close (where did the time go?) folk are already commenting on the success of the Games.
Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, has raved about the Games in media. Quoted as saying “I have never seen a city embrace the Games as Vancouver has done, it’s really been astounding. I would say Sydney comes at the same level, but you cannot compare Summer and Winter Games. What we have seen here, in the streets of Vancouver, is absolutely extraordinary.” That is praise indeed.
Vancouver and Whistler has shown how a Games can bring a place to life with streets full of excited fans singing, cheering and generally having a good time.
Canadians clearly love being part of the Games and have taken every opportunity to show the world how much they mean. To see the amount of red around the place, the maple leafs visible on almost every street and the smiles on the faces of Canadians is a joy to see.
And of course, it also helps to have success on the field of play and have athletes on the podium and having something cheer.
The Live Sites, where there are big screens in prominent places, are a great way of bringing people together to celebrate. I have witnessed live events in both Vancouver and Whistler and the atmosphere has been incredible. Even if you don’t have a ticket to events there are many ways to get involved in the fun and celebrations, most of which are free, such as skating, zipline, various pavilions.
However, in some, if not most, cases a great deal of patience is required. I am lead to believe that yesterday it was taking eight hours to get into the Canadian Mint to hold the gold, silver and bronze Olympic and Paralympic medals
Some of the best parties are at the Live sites where thousands turned out to watch the action unfolding on-screen, created by sponsors. The atmosphere at these sites when Canadians won medals was incredible. Big screens play an important role out with the venues. The Live sites also have other entertainment to suit all ages.
One issue that is vital in the good nature of the celebration is alcohol, or the lack of alcohol-related incidents. In Vancouver, and the rest of British Columbia, alcohol can only be purchased at government run liquor stores, wine stores, beer and wine stores, pubs, bars, lounges, clubs and some restaurants. And it is my understanding that BC has a law that prohibits the drinking of alcohol in public places, on the street.
To ensure safety, on two occasions (after hockey games) the Police took further action and asked the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for an order to close down stores. The action was sought under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, which allows the control and licensing branch to temporarily suspend or impose conditions on a licence for 24 hours when it is in the public interest to do so.
I have never seen anything that was the result of alcohol and the only time I saw cans or bottles on the street were those confiscated by the Police.
It has been a pleasure to get on a bus or train knowing that there would be no or very little irritation from those who were slightly worse from taking too much ‘juice’.
I have been very impressed with the efforts Vancouver and Whistler have made to include everyone in these Games and London and Glasgow need to take note and look at ways that will excite and inspire us to feel part of our Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games in 2012 and 2014 respectively.