Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exclusive: B.C. sport shakeup

A new era in British Columbia sport will begin March 1 when Scott Ackles is announced as the chief executive officer of the B.C. Sport Agency.

It is part of an overhaul in the province's sport system in the wake of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Ackles was the general manager of Vancouver's 2005 and 2011 Grey Cup festivals and replaces interim B.C. Sport Agency CEO Cathy Priestner Allinger, the Own the Podium blueprint author and VANOC executive vice-president of sport who was named last August to head of Vancouver's 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

Ackles effectively becomes the most powerful executive in amateur sport in B.C. Former VANOC sport vice-president Tim Gayda has left his post as Sport BC CEO to be a consultant. Gayda's position will not be filled.

Sport BC and the B.C. Sport Agency will be working in concert for the betterment of sport in the province. The B.C. Sport Agency takes over management of programs that were under the wings of 2010 Legacies Now, such as the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund and First Nations Snowboard Team. The former 2010 Legacies Now group rebranded as Lift Philanthropy Partners.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The story of how the 2010 Olympics came and went

A decade of political debate, protests and fevered anticipation. Two years of economic upheaval. Seventeen days of Olympic glitches and glory. The price? More than $6 billion. This is the story of how the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, came and went.

Canadians celebrated coast-to-coast-to-coast the record 14 gold medals won by their Olympians in Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler. The politicians and sponsors who staged the event were quick to declare it a grand success. But was it?

Governments involved in the Games of the Great Recession were never forthcoming with all the costs, but were constantly selling the benefits. Vancouver, constantly striving to be “world class,” got new transportation, convention and recreation facilities. The massive spending diversion put a strain on hospitals, schools and courts.

The athletes of 82 nations who competed at the biggest, most expensive Winter Olympics in history didn’t all return home. Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died on opening day in a crash at the extreme Whistler Sliding Centre, sparking questions about whether Games officials really did all they could to ensure safety.

It was the most dynamic period in British Columbia history and the Olympics were at the foreground or background of every major government decision. The scandal, the controversy, the tragedy and the comedy. Broken promises, false expectations and Canada's greatest party.

Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics by Bob Mackin is a cautionary tale of what happens when a boom goes bust while preparing to welcome the world. All seen through the expert observations of a journalist who was along for the bumpy ride.

This is more than a story of the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. It is about fear and greed, unity and division, celebration and anguish, life and death.

It is red mittens and red ink.

Available NOW as an e-book from for $8.99. Click here.

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