Vancouver celebrates 10 years as an official Olympic city

Beau Dure
NBC Sports

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.

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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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