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Olympic venues: It happened here

 


Courtesy Tourism Vancouver


British Columbia

The venues from the last Winter Olympics in 2010 are still fresh in Vancouver and Whistler, and many have been converted to public use.

“All the stadiums used are still in use for different things,” said Amber Sessions, manager, travel media relations for Tourism Vancouver.

Sessions noted that the National Hockey League Canucks play in the Olympic hockey arena; Vancouver’s Canadian Football League team uses BC Place, site of the opening and closing ceremonies; and the Richmond Olympic Oval, home to the speed skating competition, is now a public recreation facility with several skating rinks and ball courts.

“Cypress Mountain, site of the freestyle skiing, is one of three local mountains,” she said. “Visitors and locals go up there after work and during the weekend to ski and snowboard on the same courses.

“The most iconic site is the Olympic Cauldron. There was one inside one of the stadiums, and an exact replica was built on the waterfront near all the hotels and with the mountains behind. It is one spot a lot of people still come and get photos.”

About half the games were held in nearby Whistler, which, “two years after the 2010 winter games, continues to bask in the Olympic afterglow,” said Mary Zinck, coordinator of media relations for Tourism Whistler.

Like Vancouver, many of Whistler’s sites have been converted to public use. Visitors can ride bobsleds and luges on the Whistler Sliding Centre course and combine skiing and target practice at the Whistler Olympic Park, used for biathlon competitions.

The medals plaza has been transformed into the Whistler Olympic Plaza, which features an open grass lawn, a performance pavilion, outdoor performance spaces and public art.

www.tourismvancouver.com
   |   www.tourismwhistler.com

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Although Colorado Springs has never hosted the Olympics, it is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and is one of the committee’s three official training centers.

In addition to a wide array of training sites, the center has a visitors center with a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Rotunda, a U.S. Olympic Store, and Olympic memorabilia and interactive kiosks.

The outside sculpture garden has four bronze sculptures and a 12-foot-tall Olympic Ring Wall. The rooftop terrace has an Olympic flame display and a panoramic view of the entire complex.

“It is open year-round, and all tours are free,” said Chelsy Murphy, public relations manager for the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. “You get a really up-close and personal look. I am intrigued they will let groups get so close to the training athletes. The sports range from fencing to swimming to boxing. You get a real insider’s look.”

Murphy said the center, which draws 140,000 visitors a year, should see even more visitors this year with the London Olympics.

“It seems like in Olympic years, it is more top of the mind. It is a great way to experience the Olympics from far away,” she said.

www.visitcos.com   |   www.teamusa.org

 

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