I am now back in Vancouver and my first observation in the city is that the Olympic branding has already been taken down. In some places you would never have known that the Olympics have been here. Last time I was here Granville Street had the Lantern Forest and it has gone already. Other places have closed down, such as some of the pavilions. However, some are still open or will re-open for the Paralympic Games, which is really good because it allows visitors to those Games experience some of what went on during the Olympics.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Athletes Village here in Vancouver and it is quite the place. Up in Whistler the Village was laid back in a winter resort environment (even if there was no snow!!). After the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over, Cheakamus Crossing will become one of Whistler’s Games legacy, providing affordable and environmentally and sustainable housing for full-time Whistler residents.
In Vancouver the Village complex on False Creek will become highly sought waterfront homes. I have been told that the penthouse on the top of the building Team Canada stayed in is on the market for over $6m. There is no doubt that the views from the south side of False Creek are stunning, looking to the water, the city and beyond to the mountains but six million dollars!!! During the Games I visited a condo on the other side of False Creek, it looked directly to the Athletes Village, and it was not much bigger than my wee flat back in Scotland. You pay for the view.
When I was in the Village yesterday I attend a wee soiree for the Village volunteers, which was held in the athletes dining area. There were many people there but I only knew a few faces from Whistler. I had the good fortune to meet the Man in Motion, Rick Hansen. We chatted for a few moments, he signed my newsletter and was kind enough to allow me to have my photo taken with him.
During the evening there were a couple of speeches from VANOC, praising the work of the workforce, in particular, the volunteers. And not for the first time, I heard it said that the “Canadian volunteers” are the best, for coming from all over Canada to help make the Games so successful. I have yet to hear anyone from VANOC publicly thank those of us who have traveled far and wide from out with Canada, at our own cost, to come to Vancouver to be part of these Games, which is very disappointing. I feel our role should be recognised too. Yes, we have been well rewarded with a fantastic uniform and a variety of thank you gifts but a verbal thank you from VANOC to us would have been much appreciated (by me anyway).
I am therefore suggesting to anyone reading this that is involved with the volunteering aspect for London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, please ensure any speeches include due recognition to all volunteers, from home and overseas. Without us it would be difficult to put on a successful Games. Rant over!