July 25, 2003 Features & Images » Feature Story

First Person: Steve Podborski 

The Games of our lives

Page 4 of 7

You cannot imagine doing it – you only dream about it, but then it can become real because funding for the facilities means that athletes can train to reach their goals.

Pique: Are you hoping that your kids will compete in the Games?

Podborski : When you have a guy like me around all the time going in the Olympics is just something you can do. It is not something that is impossible to achieve.

It is just something that you can do and I think that sort of goes through our neighbourhood. That’s why I think it is so important to have athletes in the community so that people don’t think it is only super humans who do this. We are real people.

I’d be delighted if my kids competed. I think sport is an excellent way to find your way through life with fewer potential downsides than many other choices.

Pique: What will the Games bring to this community and what challenges do you see being associated with the event for Whistler?

Podborski : When we first started five years ago Whistler was really, really pumping along with great snow years and everything was great and people would say "Why would we want these Games?" I would remind them that in 1985 Whistler was effectively bankrupt.

There were big holes in the ground and the town had to go to the provincial government and say, "Please bail us out," which they did.

I remember that. I was here.

It is not like 15 years ago we would have been unhappy to have the Games. We would have been dying to have the Games as things can go wrong and we have seen that recently with all the challenges the resort has faced.

The Olympic Games aren’t just a small thing; they are a big thing. You become part of this pantheon of cities. You can talk to people and they can name Olympic cities.

Whistler has a lot going for it and we deserve to go there and we can hold a fabulous Games.

But it is more than just the mere practical tourism benefits that are a good thing. What it will do is help Vancouver and Whistler realize that we are great. We are not just a good place – we are great.

Canadians, for whatever reason, seem to think that we can’t, aren’t or won’t be the best and I personally don’t believe that at all.

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