Canadian athletes and officials to welcome the world’s best competitors to their home away from home Vancouver, BC — Eight Canadians have been named volunteer honorary mayors to welcome athletes from around the world to their home away from home at the athletes’ villages in Whistler and Vancouver during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The honorary mayors — two per village per Games — will be the face of British Columbia and Canada at the brand-new athletes’ villages. As leading models of sustainability in North America, the villages will house more than 6,500 athletes and team officials arriving in 2010, as well as be the workplace for an estimated 5,500 workforce members. The mayors will officially open the villages in February and March, officially welcome all national teams and dignitaries, including heads of state and members of the Olympic Family, as well as join athletes at informal social gatherings in the village living room in Vancouver and around the nightly bonfire in Whistler.
"Each of the men and women named today as village mayors for the 2010 Winter Games will add an inspirational presence in these homes away from home for the athletes and officials who will start competing here in less than 70 days. They were selected based on their background in sport, their dedication to community and their unwavering support for the 2010 Winter Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements," explained John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
"These mayors understand the thrills, as well as the pressures, of competing on the world stage — many of them have competed and won medals at past Olympic and Paralympic Games," continued Furlong. "They know the importance of creating a warm, inviting and stress-free environment where the world’s best winter athletes can successfully focus on fulfilling their dreams and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow Olympians and Paralympians in one of the friendliest countries in the world."
Olympic mayoral duties at the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver in February 2010 will be shared by:
- Rick Hansen: As Canada’s Man in Motion, this Richmond, BC, resident raised $26 million while completing an around-the-world journey to highlight the potential of people with disabilities, participated at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games in the wheelchair exhibition, won six Paralympic medals between 1980 and 1984 and shared the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s outstanding athlete of the year.
- Tricia Smith: An Olympic silver medallist and seven-time world championship medal winner in rowing, the resident of Vancouver, BC, is also vice president of the Canadian Olympic Committee and a lawyer for the Court of Arbitration in Sport. She was Canada’s chef de mission at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil.
Their counterparts in Whistler during the Olympic Winter Games will be:
- Anna Fraser Sproule: A former freestyle aerial skier, she competed at the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games and was the 1986 World Cup title winner. A broadcast colour commentator for freestyle skiing, which included covering three Olympic Winter Games, she now resides in Whistler, BC, and was a board member of the Vancouver 2010 bid corporation.
- Alan Kristmanson: A member of the Canadian national men’s basketball team from 1987 to 1992, the resident of Whistler, BC, competed at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games where Canada placed sixth. He is currently golf director at the Whistler Golf Club.
Paralympic mayoral duties at the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver in March 2010 will be shared by:
- Dr. Douglas Clement: An internationally recognized sports medicine clinician and researcher, the Vancouver, BC, resident is professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia where he has taught and practiced sports medicine for over 20 years. He is also a member of the Order of Canada and will share mayoral duties with his wife, Diane.
- Diane Clement: In 1956, Clement competed for Canada as a sprinter at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia and won a bronze medal two years later at the Commonwealth Games. She is a bestselling cookbook author and was a board member of the Vancouver 2010 bid corporation.
Their counterparts in Whistler during the Paralympic Winter Games will be:
- Marni Abbott-Peter: A four-time Paralympian, the British Columbian, who currently resides in Germany, won three gold and one silver, as well as three world championships in wheelchair basketball. She also acted as Team Canada’s flag-bearer at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games and is a certified coach now in her sport.
- Patrick Anderson: A three-time Paralympian, also in wheelchair basketball, the resident of Vancouver won silver in Beijing in 2008, as well as gold at the 2004 Games in Athens, 2000 Games in Sydney and the 2006 world championships. The jazz musician is also a national team athlete representative for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
It’s a great honour to be chosen to represent Canada as a village mayor at the 2010 Winter Games," said Hansen. "As a competitor at past Games, I know how important it is for the athletes and officials — our guests — to have a welcoming place to stay while competing. It’s our role as village mayors to make sure the thousands of athletes who will be here will indeed feel this is a real home away from home for them where they can be inspired to reach their dreams in 2010."
Both athletes’ villages during the Games will be on par in population and services offered with a small Canadian village or town. They will also represent a microcosm of the world’s many cultures, languages and experiences and be a safe and relaxing place where lifelong friendships are made.
The villages, which are both located near competition venues and the heart of the city and resort, will each offer a café, village store, banking, post office, tourism information office, and village living room where athletes can work out, relax in the games centre and listen to live music in the lounge or watch the Games live on TV.
They will also house 24-hour polyclinics where athletes can receive primary and emergency medicine and trauma care, a full range of therapy services, dentistry, nutrition, and optometry services among others. Multi-faith centres are also available with separate rooms for formal religious services and ceremonies, as well as individual meditation and counselling. All services are provided by VANOC’s workforce, both paid and volunteer.
Note: Media availability today at 2:00 pm (Pacific Time) with John Furlong and mayors:
The media availability will take place at VANOC headquarters, located at 400-3585 Graveley Street, Vancouver, BC.
Note to Photo Editors:
Images of the mayors for the athletes’ villages at the 2010 Winter Games are available as high resolution downloads from the media centre image gallery at www.vancouver2010.com.