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The dream has finally come true for Whistler.


As International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge announced that the 2010 Winter Games were coming to the resort, more than 5,000 people screamed their approval in Village Square.

Athletes wept with excitement, as did hundreds of bid supporters, volunteers and staff.

"I couldn’t help it I had tears in my eyes for the whole presentation," said Whistler’s Jeff Hume, a speed skier for the national team.

"I will be 30 years old in 2010 and I will be in the prime of my career so I am looking forward to it. I’m going for gold."

Supporters hung out of hotel and condominium windows waving flags and lowering banners as a giant Canadian flag was passed across the heads of thousands gathered in front of a stage and giant TV screen in Whistler’s Village Square.

As the final moments approached a hush fell over the crown. People hugged their neighbours, their children, even their dogs.

"For the 2010 bid staff this dream has been part of our everyday lives for the past two years," said the 2010 Bid Corporation’s director of community relations for Whistler Maureen Douglas.

"For others here today this has been a dream for more than 40 years. It was dream that got Whistler started and it is the reason that brings us here together today."

Garry Watson has been championing Whistler Olympic dream for 42 years.

As the IOC announced the winner his face told the story of his chase for the dream — hope, shock, elation and finally that smile that said ‘at last’.

"I am just ecstatic," said Watson.

"I think it is a matter of pride and we can now demonstrate what we are and what we do. We will put on the best Winter Olympic Games ever."

But there are concerns in the community as well.

Locals, who don’t want to be named in fear of retaliation, are already facing uncertainly over lease renewals for small business and accommodation.

But Whistler Chamber of Commerce president Brent Leigh said solutions are being sought to help.

"…There is nothing in history… that would suggest that you could sustain or maintain or increase rents in anticipation of an Olympics in the future," said Leigh.

"So what we hope is that landlords will examine the medium-term and understand what that means and realize that we are all here for the long-term and affordable rent is an important part of sustaining small business in Whistler."

Hosting the 2010 Winter Games may be seven years away but many in the resort are already getting a head start in planning for the event.