July 25, 2003 Features & Images » Feature Story

First Person: Steve Podborski 

The Games of our lives

Page 2 of 7

For me the Olympics represents this chance for all the best to get together and be celebrated properly.

Pique: When you talk about celebrating the athletes are you talking about celebrating how they have stayed true to their dream through years or hard work, preparation and competition?

Podborski : I think to a large degree that is true. I think that the opening ceremony and lighting the flame are icons. They are things that point to the best things in humanity. Certainly nothing is perfect in this world but the Games represent the hope that we can get there.

The striving of the athletes is humanity striving for its best. And this is not something that happens just today – you don’t just get up and say I’m going to do my best today. You have been doing your best for years and years of your life and of your family’s life. In some ways this (odyssey) is almost identical to us winning the Games themselves. I mean we spent half a decade or more on this one and if you count the other bids we made before this one we have spent many, many decades trying to get the Games in Vancouver and Whistler. We have finally succeeded. It is a gold medal and it was a tough win, and every medal is.

The Games can be seen, and I think they should be seen, as an iconic symbol of the best of what the communities can be and that is why it is so important to protect it and to do it right.

In our case our vision was that many of the most important parts of it were on the athletic side and the sporting side. If we had villages that were close to the events, if we had venues that were properly designed and the right size for the spectators and for the Olympic family and the athletes, then that would make sense to the rest of the world and the IOC members.

If we had a vision that included things like employee housing and turning the villages into places where people could live afterward, and a vision where the venues would be funded so little kids who have never been near a long track oval or a ski jump could go both before and after the Games, if all those things were included in our vision then that would be worthy of an Olympics and in the end that turned out to be true.

It is easy to have these big visions but the reality is can you apply these to the kid next door? And that is what has happened here.

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