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‘Be guided by vision’ tops RMOW list of recommendations

Municipality to release final Winter Games report in early July

As the Russians steamroll ahead, preparing Sochi for the 2014 Olympics, they will likely turn to Whistler for advice on how to host an event as massive as the Winter Games.

And when they do, Whistler will be ready with a comprehensive guide on the Sea to Sky Olympic experience, including what worked and lessons learned.

The draft document, entitled Living the Dream, was presented to Whistler Council two weeks ago. The final version should be out in the community by mid-July, confirmed Jessica Delaney, senior communications officer with the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Living the Dream was prepared by the municipality's 2010 Olympic Games office, under the supervision of Jim Godfrey. The office officially closed with Godfrey's retirement on Wednesday, June 30.

Top of the list of Whistler's 10 recommended best practices was "be guided by your vision."

"The Games are not an end in themselves, but a powerful catalyst for achieving positive social, environmental or economic change," reads the report.

Other recommendations from the Games office to future Olympic hosts include "plan and then plan to adapt," "create lasting legacies," "engage local partners" and "invest in creating atmosphere."

"Community members and staff are ambassadors," "share the community store far and wide" and "celebrate athletes when and wherever possible" also were listed among key takeaway lessons from the huge event that overtook Whistler in February.

But the report also looks at ways Whistler can continue to draw from the Games into the future. Five areas for Whistler to zero-in on include arts and culture, sports tourism, community pride, partnerships and leveraging global exposure.

The report says that with the right support, arts and culture has the potential to not only build a stronger community but to contribute in a significant way to the economic viability of the resort community.

The new sporting venues, like the sliding and Nordic centres and the athletes' centre, also provide Whistler with a unique opportunity to enhance and expand sport tourism, according to the report.

And all of Whistler's partners should make sure to leverage the intense media presence during the Games to continue to increase global awareness.

"As Whistler moves forward on its journey towards sustainability, it is clear that the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have accelerated that journey and are the culmination of the dream," according to a passage in the 57-page report.

"For years to come, Whistler will be forever changed by these Games and should seek to harness the inspiration to create a stronger, more sustainable community."

The Whistler community will be able to see the final report when it is posted on the municipality's website later in July.