VANOC CEO Pushes For Vancouver 2030 Winter Olympic Bid

Former CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games John Furlong Thursday urged the business community to back a bid to host again in 2030.

John Furlong was Chief of Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee and will now guide future Canadian Olympic bids (Furlong Press Photo)

John Furlong was Chief of Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee and will now guide future Canadian Olympic bids (Furlong Press Photo)

Inspired by the 10th anniversary memories of the 2010 edition, Furlong discussed his vision for a second Games in front of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

“I think what’s really special about Vancouver is that we have a very powerful legacy from the Games,” Furlong told Global News.

“We don’t have a city that’s annoyed or angry or felt… betrayed by what took place in 2010 and we have these wonderful venues.

“We have the admiration of the world and we have a reputation with the IOC that’s pretty well stellar.

“So you think about all of that and it’s almost staring you in the face that this is an opportunity.”

Vancouver earned the right to host the 2010 Olympics after defeating rivals from PyeongChang and Salzburg in 2003.  The Games were generally considered a success and are warmly remembered by Canadians who have been consuming online tributes on social media during this 10th anniversary period of the Games.

But Furlong insists that the opportunity is now, and can’t wait.

“I think the timing is actually very, very good,” Furlong told The Canadian Press.

“We have the venues. We could effectively be the only city ever to use exactly the same footprint.

“We have this opportunity. Eventually, these venues will get tired and get old and the timing will go away.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not set a timetable for awarding the 2030 Winter Olympics but the governing body has already entered into a serious dialogue with three bids including Sapporo in Japan, Salt Lake City and a region surrounding Barcelona in Spain.  It is possible the IOC could select a host as early as this year, and could allocate the 2034 edition at the same time.

Last year the 2026 edition was awarded to a joint Milan-Cortina project from Italy after a Calgary bid was voted down in a city-wide plebiscite.

Calgary 2026 rendering of upgraded McMahon Stadium with Olympic overlay

Calgary 2026 rendering of upgraded McMahon Stadium with Olympic overlay.  Plans were abandoned after the bid was defeated in a city-wide plebiscite.

But Furlong says those in British Columbia are more willing to support a bid than their Provincial neighbours in Alberta

He said “the public are telling us they had a great time.”

“They liked what happened. They believe that the infrastructure was well-done and successful.”

A recent poll revealed 68 percent believe hosting the 2010 Games was worthwhile and 82 percent are satisfied with Games-related infrastructure projects that included light rail and highway upgrades.

Furlong outlined next steps, which include approaching potential provincial and federal partners to understand their commitment and possible funding.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said Thursday he liked the idea of a Games in 2030, calling it “fun”, but ultimately he said the decision should be in the hands of the citizens.

He told reporters that there should be a referendum to approve a 2030 bid just like there was for 2010 when 64 percent of voters checked ‘yes’.

On Wednesday the Hamilton, Ontario city council agreed to move forward with a proposed 2030 Commonwealth Games bid, and will need to seek similar federal funding from Ottawa.  It is unlikely both projects will receive the required level of support in the same year.

A Vancouver 2030 Games would mark the third Winter Olympics in Canada, including a Games in Calgary in 1988.  Montreal hosted the Summer Games in 1976.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.