Catching the Olympic Spirit

by

I  lived in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games so I can imagine the swell of pride that the city of Vancouver, BC is feeling hosting the Winter Games.  Watching the transformation of a city into an Olympic host is a years-long production filled with amazement, frustration, overwhelm and challenge for all involved and impacted.  The opportunity to see it all come together and walk through the streets surrounded by people speaking different languages yet knowing by the tone of their voices that they are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event makes one feel incredibly proud.

I’ve always loved watching the Olympics, and now that I’m an adult working in the event industry I marvel at the logistical coordination that must take place to bring something of this magnitude life.  Building new venues, providing infrastructure to accommodate everyone and hiring people to work the events themselves– it all seems like an overwhelming task. 

Even with all the planning and organizing, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.  No matter how much you plan for the unexpected, you aren’t always able to turn a challenge into an opportunity.  During the Opening Ceremony, when the fourth leg of the caldron didn’t rise up for the lighting of the inside torch, my heart stopped.  And while it took what must have seemed like forever to those on the stage, the producers made a very quick call to move forward with three.  Had the announcers on NBC not been so quick to point out there was a problem, I doubt that the majority of the audience would have noticed.  They would have been captured in the moment that was the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies, still in awe of the show, and anxiously awaiting what would happen next. 

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