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We would be remiss if we did not also congratulate the course preparation volunteers at Cypress in this regard. What a brutal task in brutal conditions! Another fantastic job done!
I worked as a volunteer Team Leader at the Whistler Sliding Centre for most of the days of the Olympics and although I did make my contribution it felt somewhat small compared with many of the other volunteers. I was very impressed with all the volunteers but especially the "Club 99" volunteers. Some I met were having to get up at 5 a.m. every day so that they could catch a bus from their homes to the Olympic bus for the trip up to Whistler to begin their duties - often working all day in the cold, snow or rain and always with a "Can Do" attitude. Many of these volunteers would be working until late in the day or evening where they would then have to travel back to Vancouver, arriving home late and going to bed to grab a little sleep in order repeat the process all over again.
We were also very impressed with the number of volunteers we met who traveled to Whistler from cities and towns right across Canada, the USA and overseas - all this to help out and enjoy the Olympic experience. Many of these people paid for their own transportation and accommodation and many took vacation time out from work to be an Olympic volunteer.
Yes, we think these and all the volunteers deserve a medal!
It was certainly heartwarming to hear visitors commenting on how friendly and helpful all the volunteers were.
One day during the Paralympics I had the opportunity to work in line control at Creekside to offer assistance to both guests and some of the Paralympians. Some of these athletes took the opportunity to tell me how impressed they were with the volunteers, staff, mountain operations, the overall organization and the spectators. Many of them stated that they couldn't get over the crowds that came out to see the events and that they had to get used to the cheering!
As Park City's Bill Malone stated, "You will never be the same after you've seen the Paralympics." And Bob Barnett stated, "And so we are - transformed - wiser, humbler, inspired." Truer words were never spoken!
As the International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven stated during his speech at the closing ceremonies, "The best Paralympics ever."
Did my family and I feel proud for all of us Canadians? You betcha!