Sunday, February 28, 2010

What Awaits Vancouver on Monday

Except for the gold medal hockey game, cross country skiing finals, and the closing ceremonies, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games are complete. The Games appear to have been a success in spite of tragedies, including the death of a Georgian luger and the death of the mother of a Canadian figure skater. Oh yes, don't forget the numerous crashes, unfinished races, and disqualifications. The tenths of seconds behind, the coaching errors, and missed signals. But for every event, three individuals or teams stood victorious at the medals stands, and that is what most will remember when we think of the Vancouver Games.

For just over half a month, Vancouver has been the center of the universe. We've gotten to know the city, its attractions, its people, and its culture. What a spectacular setting, a cosmopolitan city steeped in natural beauty, a non-stop photo op. The athletes who prevailed in Vancouver will be celebrated for days and years to come. Yes, the Paralympic Games will be held in Vancouver March 12-21, but without near the fanfare or spotlight of the Olympics. The permanent sporting facilities and momentoes built for the Olympics and in honor of those who participated will remain as a lasting tribute to the Games. No doubt, all of the media attention will boost Vancouver's tourism for at least the next year and beyond. But still, Monday's coming.

So what should the citizens of Vancouver expect on Monday? The colour that is the Olympics in progress will vanish as quickly as it appeared. Gone will be the hundreds of bright festive country and sponsor jackets, the pins, the crowds, the stages, the banners, and the sounds. The cold of winter will look black and white, once again, after days of brilliant color. The contrast is almost indescribable, but it is something that residents living in Olympic host cities understand oh so well. The excitement, the chaos, the non-stop activity, crowds, celebrations, and the sports and other celebrities on the streets ... all are replaced in an instant with a deafening hush. Come Monday ... the world's biggest party on the world's biggest stage will be over.

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