Thank You, Vancouver

When I first started working at Cartan Tours, a co-worker spoke of measuring a program’s success by the “Games Afterglow” of departing clients.

Thankfully, the airport atmosphere was tribute to the happiness of Vancouver Games travelers.

A record-breaking 39,000 departed a day after Vancouver’s closing ceremony.  Despite the suggested five-hour wait time, people continued the celebration all the way to the plane, enjoying athlete sightings, medalist photo ops and live musical entertainment.

Airport spokesperson Rebecca Catley said the Vancouver Airport Authority had been planning for the day for several years.

“We knew that the day after the closing ceremonies would be busy because we spoke to other Olympic airports,” she said. “I’m sorry we haven’t been able to oblige (the media’s expectation of chaos) but I’ve been very happy. We had a good plan, we were confident with our plan, but you never know. Everybody is in a great mood.”

The spirit was contagious.  As the communications director for Cartan Tours, I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview a few members of the Cartan Games Family in Vancouver.

Downtown Vancouver

From local staff, to senior executives to first-time Games travelers, I soon realized that I was not the only one rooting for Canada this February. The universal spirt of happiness and praise for Vancouver’s organizing committee was overwhelming. We all wanted Canada’s Games to succeed, especially in light of the tragedies they faced early on. I’ll even admit to secretly rooting for their hockey team on Sunday – just because I thought the maple-leaf-covered fans that packed the streets of Granville were delightful.

The Vancouver Sun said it best,

“Tens of thousands of people poured into downtown streets Sunday, as they had each night of the Olympics, to celebrate and cheer not only Canada’s hockey win but merely being Canadian and part of these Games.

There were seniors, babies in strollers, kids holding glow-sticks and middle-aged men and women waving flags tied to hockey sticks. And at the intersection of Smithe and Howe, at 9:30 p.m., there was a full-on street hockey game, complete with nets.

Five hundred people stood and watched and cheered every goal, no matter which team scored.”

street parties

Hockey Fans on Granville Street

Were these the best Games the world has ever seen? Anyone else coping from Vancouver withdrawal? Back in Los Angeles, I’m already started my countdown for London.

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