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Approaching 2010: Legacies and Lessons from Athens

Approaching 2010: Legacies and Lessons from Athens

October 14, 2004

John Furlong, CEO to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), has a favourite moment from the 2004 summer games in Athens.

On the last day of the games, Vanderlei de Lima, the lead runner in the marathon, was tackled by a member of the crowd. With the help of other onlookers, de Lima got back on his feet and kept running, finishing third in the grueling race.

"There was a moment," said Furlong, speaking at Spirit of Vancouver event sponsored by RBC Financial Group, "when his dream was almost wiped out, but he realized he had an opportunity and took advantage of it and demonstrated to the world that the Olympic spirit is alive and well, even at the most challenging times. His finish in the stadium showed true class in his incredible finish, and he was an Olympic champion of an entirely different kind." Furlong believes it may have been the most memorable moment in the Games, because it wasn't about the medal but about the power of the human spirit and effort the athlete was able to make at that moment. "If there was anything I could fix about that moment," said Furlong, in his noticeable Irish accent, "it would be, why did it have to be a defrocked Irish priest?" There was a huge amount of negative press and doubt about Athens' ability to stage these Olympics, but now, in the aftermath of what many consider to be the best Olympic achievement of all time, Furlong believes the world owes Greece an apology. It was, he said, an extraordinary achievement for such a small country with limited resources, and with the challenges it faced, Greece deserves absolute respect.

Furlong said the Canadian Olympic committee went to Athens with no agenda except to learn and to see how the logistics had come together to do a great job. He cited several aspects of the games that were staged and executed in a way that Canada can learn from and emulate. "We can learn from the lessons of Greece, and take advantage of their experience so that in 2010, we can get to the finish line in one piece, strong and healthy, and achieve the admiration of the world along the way." The athlete's village was an incredible physical phenomenon, said Furlong - a massive infrastructure made of pure white marble, the village easily housed up to 20,000 people, which, as Furlong pointed out, was as big as 60 per cent of Canadian communities. The atmosphere was communal and friendly and gave the committee a sense of how important the village is to the spirit of the Games.

To manage the logistics of transportation in what is normally a very congested city, Athens implemented "Olympic lanes," meaning drivers could not be in the lanes without a permit pertaining to the Games. The lanes were completely respected and made it very easy to get around to the various venues and events.

Security was not over the top-it was dialed down but professional, Furlong said. He noted that this is one of the great opportunities we have in Canada because our security is considered internationally to be world-class; we can show the world we can do it just as well, for much less money.

Furlong acknowledged there was some disappointment for our own athletes, but this is another lesson we can learn from Athens: "We've got to give our athletes more help, encouragement and support starting tomorrow if we want the best athletes in 2010." Furlong continued, "The Canadian public wants us to do a great job of execution and they want the team on the podium. If we do both, this will be the most celebrated endeavour in this country's history and we can't settle for anything less. We've all got a role to play in making that happen." That role includes not just Vancouver but all of Canada. "The vision is that the country will be more proud, that we will have achieved relevance; that the youth will be determined, active, and inspired; that every child will have experienced what it's like to play; that we will realize the true value of being a Canadian and how lucky we are to be Canadian. It is the vision of a promise kept," concluded Furlong. This content was provided courtesy of the Vancouver Board of Trade. To read more related articles, go to www.boardoftrade.com.


Approaching 2010: Legacies and Lessons from Athens Aproximando-se de 2010: legados e lições de Atenas

October 14, 2004

John Furlong, CEO to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), has a favourite moment from the 2004 summer games in Athens. John Furlong, CEO do Comitê Organizador de Vancouver para os Jogos Olímpicos e Paralímpicos de Inverno de 2010 (VANOC), tem um momento favorito dos jogos de verão de 2004 em Atenas.

On the last day of the games, Vanderlei de Lima, the lead runner in the marathon, was tackled by a member of the crowd. No último dia de jogos, Vanderlei de Lima, líder da maratona, foi derrubado por um membro da torcida. With the help of other onlookers, de Lima got back on his feet and kept running, finishing third in the grueling race. Com a ajuda de outros espectadores, de Lima se levantou e continuou correndo, terminando em terceiro na cansativa corrida.

"There was a moment," said Furlong, speaking at Spirit of Vancouver event sponsored by RBC Financial Group, "when his dream was almost wiped out, but he realized he had an opportunity and took advantage of it and demonstrated to the world that the Olympic spirit is alive and well, even at the most challenging times. "Houve um momento", disse Furlong, falando no evento Spirit of Vancouver patrocinado pelo RBC Financial Group, "em que seu sonho foi quase exterminado, mas ele percebeu que tinha uma oportunidade e aproveitou e demonstrou ao mundo que o O espírito olímpico está vivo e bem, mesmo nos momentos mais desafiadores. His finish in the stadium showed true class in his incredible finish, and he was an Olympic champion of an entirely different kind." Sua finalização no estádio mostrou verdadeira classe em sua incrível finalização, e ele foi um campeão olímpico de um tipo totalmente diferente”. Furlong believes it may have been the most memorable moment in the Games, because it wasn't about the medal but about the power of the human spirit and effort the athlete was able to make at that moment. Furlong acredita que pode ter sido o momento mais memorável dos Jogos, porque não se tratava da medalha, mas da força do espírito humano e do esforço que o atleta foi capaz de fazer naquele momento. "If there was anything I could fix about that moment," said Furlong, in his noticeable Irish accent, "it would be, why did it have to be a defrocked Irish priest?" "Se houvesse alguma coisa que eu pudesse consertar naquele momento", disse Furlong, em seu notável sotaque irlandês, "seria, por que tinha que ser um padre irlandês destituído?" There was a huge amount of negative press and doubt about Athens' ability to stage these Olympics, but now, in the aftermath of what many consider to be the best Olympic achievement of all time, Furlong believes the world owes Greece an apology. Houve muita imprensa negativa e dúvidas sobre a capacidade de Atenas de sediar essas Olimpíadas, mas agora, após o que muitos consideram a melhor conquista olímpica de todos os tempos, Furlong acredita que o mundo deve um pedido de desculpas à Grécia. It was, he said, an extraordinary achievement for such a small country with limited resources, and with the challenges it faced, Greece deserves absolute respect. Foi, disse ele, uma conquista extraordinária para um país tão pequeno com recursos limitados e, com os desafios que enfrentou, a Grécia merece respeito absoluto.

Furlong said the Canadian Olympic committee went to Athens with no agenda except to learn and to see how the logistics had come together to do a great job. Furlong disse que o comitê olímpico canadense foi a Atenas sem nenhuma agenda, exceto aprender e ver como a logística se uniu para fazer um ótimo trabalho. He cited several aspects of the games that were staged and executed in a way that Canada can learn from and emulate. Ele citou vários aspectos dos jogos que foram encenados e executados de uma forma que o Canadá pode aprender e emular. "We can learn from the lessons of Greece, and take advantage of their experience so that in 2010, we can get to the finish line in one piece, strong and healthy, and achieve the admiration of the world along the way." "Podemos aprender com as lições da Grécia e aproveitar sua experiência para que, em 2010, possamos chegar à linha de chegada inteiros, fortes e saudáveis, e conquistar a admiração do mundo ao longo do caminho." The athlete's village was an incredible physical phenomenon, said Furlong - a massive infrastructure made of pure white marble, the village easily housed up to 20,000 people, which, as Furlong pointed out, was as big as 60 per cent of Canadian communities. A vila do atleta era um fenômeno físico incrível, disse Furlong - uma enorme infraestrutura feita de mármore branco puro, a vila abrigava facilmente até 20.000 pessoas, o que, como Furlong apontou, era tão grande quanto 60% das comunidades canadenses. The atmosphere was communal and friendly and gave the committee a sense of how important the village is to the spirit of the Games. A atmosfera era comunitária e amigável e deu ao comitê uma noção da importância da vila para o espírito dos Jogos.

To manage the logistics of transportation in what is normally a very congested city, Athens implemented "Olympic lanes," meaning drivers could not be in the lanes without a permit pertaining to the Games. Para gerenciar a logística de transporte em uma cidade que normalmente é muito congestionada, Atenas implementou "pistas olímpicas", o que significa que os motoristas não poderiam estar nas pistas sem uma licença referente aos Jogos. The lanes were completely respected and made it very easy to get around to the various venues and events. As pistas foram completamente respeitadas e facilitaram muito a locomoção aos vários locais e eventos.

Security was not over the top-it was dialed down but professional, Furlong said. A segurança não era exagerada - era reduzida, mas profissional, disse Furlong. He noted that this is one of the great opportunities we have in Canada because our security is considered internationally to be world-class; we can show the world we can do it just as well, for much less money. Ele observou que esta é uma das grandes oportunidades que temos no Canadá porque nossa segurança é considerada internacionalmente de classe mundial; podemos mostrar ao mundo que podemos fazê-lo tão bem, por muito menos dinheiro.

Furlong acknowledged there was some disappointment for our own athletes, but this is another lesson we can learn from Athens: "We've got to give our athletes more help, encouragement and support starting tomorrow if we want the best athletes in 2010." Furlong continued, "The Canadian public wants us to do a great job of execution and they want the team on the podium. If we do both, this will be the most celebrated endeavour in this country's history and we can't settle for anything less. We've all got a role to play in making that happen." That role includes not just Vancouver but all of Canada. "The vision is that the country will be more proud, that we will have achieved relevance; that the youth will be determined, active, and inspired; that every child will have experienced what it's like to play; that we will realize the true value of being a Canadian and how lucky we are to be Canadian. It is the vision of a promise kept," concluded Furlong. This content was provided courtesy of the Vancouver Board of Trade. To read more related articles, go to www.boardoftrade.com.