The ultimate Olympic experience 

Whistler resident to take part in ‘iconic and magical mega-productions’ of the opening ceremonies for second time

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Jodi Westbury is just one Sea to Sky resident who has been tapped to step onto the world stage during the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics. But Westbury is no stranger to the Olympic spotlight.

Nearly 22 years ago, during the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games, Westbury was one of hundreds of volunteer performers who kicked off the festivities. A dancer in her last year of high school at the time, she and other members of her dance troupe auditioned and were chosen to be part of a "futuristic, modern jazz number" at the ceremonies that bookend the Olympic Games.

"It was amazing, there was just so much energy! I think the one thing that really struck me was there's a lot of lead-up to the actual performance, and obviously a lot of work that goes into the preparation, and it's over so quickly," Westbury said. "So I think you really have to enjoy all aspects of the journey towards the Games, because they go by in a heartbeat!"

In February Westbury will be able to say she is one of the lucky few Canadians who has experienced the Winter Olympics up close and personal - twice. Westbury had been coming to Whistler as a weekend visitor for years, but finally moved to the community from Calgary three years ago to work for Tourism Whistler, as director of marketing services.

About a month ago she found out she has again been picked to be part of the Olympic experience. But this time around, she won't be dancing around the stadium. For the 2010 Olympics, she'll be acting as an athletes' marshall, leading a team into both the opening and closing ceremonies.

"It was an amazing experience in Calgary in '88 and I just wanted to come as close as I could, once again," she said.

But that doesn't mean she expects 2010 be a repeat performance of '88.

"I mean, it'll definitely be different just because I'm in a different place in my life and it's a very different Games. But I expect it to be wonderful and exciting in different ways. I think that a lot of amazing parts of it, like the people that you meet along the way and the experience of actually being involved in the Games, that'll be true to the experience I had in Calgary."

Amongst all of the negative publicity Whistler has received for anti-Olympic sentiments, Westbury is proud to represent the community, and the rest of the country, at the Games.

"...With Whistler, there's just been a very long lead-up to the Games and lots of work has been put in by a great number of people and I think it's time for us to start enjoying it a little bit more."

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