Tonight, the XXI Winter Olympics comes to a close in Vancouver concluding Canada's second Winter Games and third overall. The organizers, or officially known as VANOC, made a good effort to put on a World class event despite the unusal weather. This final post, in conjunction with the Vancouver Games, will talk about how these Games will be remembered in Olympic history.
The competition was full of excitement, emotion, and tragedy. For the first time in Winter Olympic history the United States won medals at the Nordic Combined events while Canada finally won their first golds ever on home soil. Also, the US Bobsled team won it's first gold medal, ending a sixty-two year old drought. Short-track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno surpassed former Olympian Bonnie Blair in the most medals won at an Olympic Winter Games with eight medals. The Ladies Figure skating came with emotion when Canadian Joannie Rochette lost her mother two days before the competition and finished with a bronze medal. Finally, tragic struck hours before the games began when a Georgian luger was tragically killed in a horrific crash on his last training run. May he rest in peace.
Like any other city that hosts a World event, whether being the World's Fair or the Olympics, it transforms the city permanently. Economically, the city faces huge amounts of debt while repeating the benefits of higher employment. In Vancouver, the Games provided thousands of jobs to at risk individuals and trained them in a variety of skills such as carpentry. They built hundreds of podiums and put in many hours of intense labor building World class facilities. Also, when the Olympics conclude, the housing used for both athletes and Olympic officials will be turned into affordable housing for the city's poor. Socially, some of the venues will probably be used for training future Olympians, World class events, and even for the public's enjoyment. It's not for sure what exactly Vancouver's plans are for the future of it's venues. Finally, the World was introduced to one of the most diverse countries in the World with a variety of different culturals that called Canada home for hundreds of years.
In an interview with NBC Daytime host Al Michaels, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell believed that this Olympics has inspired a whole new generation of young athletes. Also, he credited the Games of bringing billions of dollars into the British Columbia province and attracted millions of visitors from around the World to experience BC. Campbell and the organizers wanted all of Canada to become involve with these Games and were able to bring in 25,000 volunteers to Vancouver. It reflected how the citizens of Canada continued to support the Olympic movement.
Also, some portrayed these Games as the weather Olympics because mother nature showed up as a serious competitor. Vancouver experienced one of the warmest months of January and February on record that created multiple problems. Weeks leading up to the Games, many snow events lacked natural snow and over 4.4 million pounds of snow were trucked into the venues. The first week alone, the weather, consisting of heavy fog and slush delayed nine events and provided not the ideal conditions for the competitors. Finally, the Vancouver Olympics will go down as the warmest host city in Winter Olympic history. Will Sochi, Russia, the host of the next winter games, have more ideal weather for the Winter Olympics?
The future of the Winter Olympics looks strong as the torch is passed from Vancouver to Sochi, Russian, the host of the XXII Winter Olympics. It will be the Russian Federation's first ever Olympics in a diverse city of 400,000 inhabitants located between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains, on the Russian Riviera. Currently, all of the venues will have to be built and the budget is around $20 billion. Already, the Russian government committed $12 billion to venue construction. Finally, looking eight years down the road, three cities have seriously started the bidding process for the XXIII Winter Games; Annecy, France, Munich, Germany, and Pyeonchag, South Korea. A final decision by the I.O.C will be made in July 2011.
On behalf of billions of fans, I would like to say a sincere thank you to Vancouver and it's citizens for putting on a World class event. The Olympics were enjoyable to watch along with learning the history and cultural of the United States' northern neighbor. It shows how hospitable the Canadians were to the rest of the World and it reflects on why this was their third Olympics in Canandian history. Goodbye Vanouver, and the World will miss you. Thanks again.