Vancouver 2010

Vancouver celebrates 10 years as an official Olympic city

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Ten years ago, the Vancouver Olympics opened with a succession of spectacular sights and Canadian heroes.

While most Winter Olympic ceremonies are held in the crisp air with the threat of snow — or worse, freezing rain — the Vancouver Games opened indoors in BC Place. 

The ceremony’s producers had to deal with the aftermath of a tragic incident earlier in the day. Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luge slider from Georgia, died in a training accident in Whistler, prompting a scramble to acknowledge Kumaritashvili’s death while still giving a fitting welcome to athletes and supporters who had been waiting for this moment for so many years.

The first tricky part went without a hitch, with snowboarder Johnny Lyall flying through the Olympic rings and a set of explosions. The lighting of the cauldron did not go as smoothly, with one of the four arms not rising up and leaving speedskater Catriona Le May Doan stranded with a torch. Le May Doan would end up getting another chance in the closing ceremony.

Then the Games headed toward the slopes, sliding track and arenas.

Ten years later, here’s how the Olympic venues are in use:

BC Place (ceremonies): The home of the CFL’s BC Lions and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.

Rogers Arena (ice hockey): Known as Canada Hockey Place during the Games for sponsorship reasons, the arena is the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors, along with plenty of concerts and UFC events.

Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (ice hockey): The University of British Columbia’s home hockey arena.

Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre (curling): Converted into a community recreational facility called Hillcrest Centre.

Richmond Olympic Oval (speedskating): Also converted into a recreational facility but also used to host various spectator events, including hockey, basketball, fencing, volleyball, and indoor track and field.

Pacific Coliseum (figure skating, short-track speedskating): The former home of the Vancouver Canucks hosts a variety of events, including Olympic sports events such as the recent 2020 Olympic volleyball qualifiers.

Cypress Mountain (snowboarding, freestyle skiing): Plagued by warm weather that forced organizers to bring in snow by truck, the ski resort has a healthy 119-inch base as of Feb. 12.

Whistler Creekside (Alpine skiing): One of the top ski resorts in the world continues to host snowboard and Alpine competitions, often well into April.

Whistler Sliding Centre (bobsled, skeleton and luge): The track is a frequent stop on World Cup circuits and hosted the 2019 bobsled and skeleton world championships.

Whistler Olympic Park (Nordic events and biathlon): Open for cross-country skiing and offering biathlon lessons. The World Cup cross-country circuit stopped here in January. The ski jumping World Cup tends not to come to North America, but the ski jumping facility still hosts competitions such as last year’s North American championships, and Canadian jumpers train here as well as in fellow Olympic site Calgary.

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Michael J. Fox and the Olympics

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Michael J. Fox has attended at least two Olympics, making appearances at the Winter Games in his native Canada — Calgary 1988 and Vancouver 2010.

Fox was 26 years old in 1988, three years after he starred in “Back to the Future” and one year before “Back to the Future Part II” came out.

He reportedly flew to the Calgary 1988 Winter Games by private jet to watch skiing and a Canada-Sweden preliminary round hockey game.

He left the Canada-Sweden hockey game, tied 2-2, with 31 seconds left “because his bodyguards feared if he left when the game ended he would be mobbed by admirers,” according to United Press International, citing the Calgary Sun.

”It’s driving me crazy to leave here with only 31 seconds to go,” Fox said, according to the report. ”The game was simply incredible, and I hate to leave.”

The game ended in a tie. Canada went on to finish fourth in the hockey tournament in Calgary.

Fox returned for a more publicized visit to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. He was featured in and narrated a Canadian TV intro for Olympic hockey (video here).

He was seen at the U.S.-Canada men’s and women’s hockey gold-medal games in the final week of competition.

During a break in the action late in the women’s final, the Rogers Arena [then called Canada Hockey Place] speakers began blaring Huey Lewis and the News‘ “Power of Love.” Several seconds into the song, the arena’s large video screens cut to a shot of Fox in the crowd.

A roar ensued. Watch the video here at 1 hour, 40 minutes, 57 seconds, and listen closely for the crescendo, though the broadcast feed did not show Fox on the screen.

“It was really strange to see Canadians waving flags,” Fox said of Vancouver 2010 while at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. “They don’t do it very often.”

Fox returned for the men’s gold-medal game on the final day of competition in Vancouver, a game also won by the Canadians. Here’s video evidence of his appearance at the 1:14:10 mark.

Fox then migrated to BC Place for the Closing Ceremony, where he followed fellow Canadian actors William Shatner and Catherine O’Hara in a skit.

He rose from underneath the arena floor stage, surrounded by an electronic display of the Canadian flag on the floor, and introduced himself, “My name is Mike,” eliciting a standing ovation.

Here’s his speech:

Not only was I born in Canada, I was raised in British Columbia.

It’s true I’ve lived in the States for almost 30 years now, but I know I’ll always think of Team Canada as my home team.

I mean, hey, if I have a bad hair day, I wear a toque. If I’m extra hungry, I put some back bacon in my poutine. And if I’m watching the U.S. and Canada play hockey, I’m sorry, I’m wearing a maple leaf on my sweater.

But it doesn’t really matter where you live or where you’re born, Canada is a big tent, and if you’re good at something, we will claim you.

Even you, the Olympic athletes, curlers and cross-countrys, bobsledders and biathletes, skiers and skaters, you’ve come to Vancouver, you spent time among us, you’ve competed on the world stage here in Canada, and that makes you Canadians, too.

Canada is my home, and now it’s your home, too.

MORE VANCOUVER 2010: Stephen Colbert at the Vancouver Olympics

Stephen Colbert and the Olympics

Stephen Colbert
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Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert signs off of “The Colbert Report” on Thursday, ending an impressive run as one of TV’s most recognized hosts.

Colbert is also a friend to the Olympics, particularly to US Speedskating leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. He promoted US Speedskating on his show, and thanks to the Colbert Nation, helped the organization recoup funding when it lost a major sponsor, leaving a $300,000 hole.

Sports Illustrated put Colbert (in a skinsuit) on its cover for their efforts.

Colbert had Olympic medalist speed skaters including Joey Cheek, Dan Jansen and Katherine Reutter on his show. You may remember Colbert autographing Reutter’s thigh (video here) and racing Shani Davis (video here).

Colbert then traveled to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics as the assistant sports psychologist for the US Speedskating team.

“The players relate to me because I provided them with cash,” Colbert joked in an NBC Olympics interview with Bob Costas on the late-night broadcast on Feb. 17, 2010. “That’s not the kind of bond you can get by being competent.”

At the end of the interview, Colbert crawled into the fireplace on the NBC Olympics set in the international broadcast center.

Colbert also hosted his show from Vancouver and had Costas come on and ride a fake moose named “Ebersol.”

Colbert also was at the Richmond Olympic Oval for Davis’ victory in the 1000m. He spent part of his time in spectator seating reading an issue of “Cat Fancy” and “Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies” and spreading condiments on a sandwich with a skate blade.

Two nights later, a second Costas-Colbert interview aired on late night. Colbert was dressed in a full Mountie outfit. Colbert paid respect to a nation of people he previously called syrup-suckers, iceholes and Saskatchewiners and rode the moose, which by then had migrated to the NBC set and was renamed “Colbert.”

This year, Colbert had on Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. He accused White of hair doping (video here).

A photographic look back at Colbert and the Olympics from Getty Images:

source:
Stephen Colbert, dressed as a Mountie, with Johnny Weir.

source: Getty Images

source: Getty Images
Colbert with members of the Night Train four-man bobsled that would win gold at the 2010 Olympics.
source: Getty Images
Colbert taking a skeleton run in Lake Placid, N.Y.

source: Getty Images

source: Getty Images

source: Getty Images

source: Getty Images

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