Vancouver – Paralympics Finish

Vancouver finished hosting the 2010 Paralympic Games yesterday, and VanOC Chairman John Furlong is already on his way to the country of Georgia, to be part of the memorial for the Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili , killed just before the Olympic Games began.

How did hosting the pair of Games work out for British Columbia? We’ll talk about that a little this week, but Vancouver is endeavoring to return to normal as the tens of thousands of volunteers are still hard at work to make that happen. If you are still in the City, things will be calming down!

That spirit of volunteerism really set this pair of Games apart. They may even have money left at the end, instead of being over-budget, like just about every previous Games were. That’s a fabulous testament, and means that sports in BC will get lots more support.

In the Paralympics, Russia finally came into its own, after a dismal showing in the regular Olympics. They had a much smaller Paralympic team than the USA, (which was even larger than Canada’s), but those Russians were amazing.

Russia gained a total of 38 medals, 12 of which were Gold. Germany was next with 24 and 13 Gold. Then in third place was Canada with 19 and 10 Gold. In fourth place was Ukraine with 19 and 5 Gold. In fifth, was the United States with 13 and 4 Gold.

But, it was the United States which won the coveted Gold Medal in sledge hockey, with Japan the silver medal and Norway beating out Canada (in the last 4 seconds of the game!) for the bronze medal. This was only the fifth Paralympic Games to have sledge hockey. Canada had won the gold in 2006 in Turin after finishing fourth in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Canada won silver in 1998 in Nagano, Japan and bronze in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway but went home empty-handed this time, (after both able-bodied Canadian teams won Gold in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver). Canadians had hoped to sweep all 3, but had to settle for just the 2 earlier Gold medals.

Canada’s Lauren Woolstencroft earned an amazing 5 Gold Medals in Alpine Skiing (visually impaired class) at the Paralympics. She’s such an inspiration, and it’s wonderful that she can bring these medals with pride to her home, Vancouver, BC! Brava!

I wish the world had seen all these amazing athletes. Please try to push for better media coverage when the Games return in Summer in London 2012 and in Sochi, Russia for Winter 2014.

Bravo! Brava! to all in Vancouver BC who did such a splendid job. Now you and the tourists who come to your beautiful city can enjoy the enduring First Nation Art work and many wonderful memories from the Games of 2010.

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