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What were the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics?

The 21st Winter Games, which opened in B.C. Place Stadium 10 years ago on Feb. 12, were a decade of local political debate, protests and fevered anticipation. They were two years of international economic upheaval. They were 17 days of Olympic glitches and Olympic glory. The price? More than $6 billion. Maybe as high as $9 billion.

Canadians snapped up the $10-a-pair souvenir red mittens and celebrated coast-to-coast-to-coast the record 14 gold medals won by their Olympians in Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler in February 2010. The politicians and sponsors who staged the mega-event were quick to declare it a grand success. But was it really?

The Auditor General never did a post-Games report, to find waste and corruption and to determine whether taxpayers got value for money. The organizing committee’s board agendas and minutes, bookkeeping and correspondence remain locked away from the public eye until the fall of 2025. How much were executives paid? Who got the big bucks contracts and how were they chosen? Sorry, those are also secrets guarded by the Vancouver Archives, even a decade later.

But George Orr’s documentary, Chasing the Dream: The Real Story Behind Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Games, and Bob Mackin’s e-book, Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics, attempt to answer the big question. Was it worth it?

For instance, the Games were the catalyst for tourism and real estate booms. Vancouver has more luxury skyscrapers than before. It also has more homeless camps.

Was there a winter sport tourism legacy? B.C.’s biggest post-2010 annual sporting event is the Canada Sevens world rugby tour stop every March at B.C. Place, organized by several former VANOC executives.

On this edition of Podcast, a special edition devoted to the 10th anniversary of the Vancouver Olympics, listen to part two of host Bob Mackin’s interview of George Orr. His Chasing the Dream will air Feb. 13 on CHEK TV.

Also hear Mackin’s commentary on the Vancouver Games. What they meant then and what they mean now.

And join him on an “audio time machine,” to go back and hear some of the sounds of the Vancouver 2010 phenomenon. Starting with the day the city changed, when the IOC made Vancouver the 2010 Games host on July 2, 2003.

Click below to listen or go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe. 

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