Whistler’s Most Memorable Moments of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Red MittonsA winter Olympic Games that were 50 years in the making have come to a close but the lasting legacies and mountains of memories will never be forgotten.

Whistler is a place that inspires personal achievement and pushes us to our limits. It is a place where the road to victory isn’t navigated easily but is immensely rewarding. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games offered tough challenges and glorious achievements to the world’s athletic elite. Many athletes were bruised and battered in the pursuit of their passion while the Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Mountain’s alpine skiing courses will be remembered for their demanding nature.

The world comes together during the Olympic Games in ways very few celebrations can achieve. Nation houses open their doors, displays of national pride abound and citizens of countries from across the globe proudly wear their national costumes, colours and smiles. Whistler Village became its own small United Nations with locals, visitors and athletes alike all gathering to celebrate with one another.

Here are the best, most memorable Whistler moments from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games:

  • The Olympic Torch Relay attracts more than 15,000 people to Whistler’s Skiers Plaza.
  • Canada’s first gold medal on home soil is won by Quebec’s Alexandre Bilodeau for an incredible performance in Men’s Moguls – Whistler Village was watching live on giant viewing screens and the cheers echoed off the mountains for hours.
  • The red Olympic mittens created specially for the Games become a huge hit and long line-ups form at the Olympic Store daily as revelers try to, literally, get their hands on some!
  • The long stretch of gorgeous sunshine in the middle of the Games saw people celebrating on outdoor patios, taking in Whistler’s stunning views and getting a face tan while watching the alpine skiing and Nordic events.
  • Petra Majdic of Slovenia wins the bronze medal in the Ladies’ Individual Sprint cross-country skiing race after suffering five broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a training wipe-out. Despite being in agonizing pain, Petra made it through the quarterfinals, semifinals and then ultimately won bronze in the final. She had to be helped on stage at Whistler Medals Plaza by a medic that evening to receive her medal.
  • Switzerland’s Simon Ammann wins both ski jumping gold medals to become the first man ever to land four gold medals in the sport. Simon won the gold in both Normal Hill and Large Hill in Salt Lake City in 2002 and did the same in Whistler in 2010.
  • In true Canadian style, Jon Montgomery chugs beer in Whistler Village after winning Olympic Gold in Skeleton. It was the fourth gold for the country, but the first at an event held in Whistler.
  • The Whistler Live! arts and culture component to the Games brings thousands of music fans to Village Square every day to catch the free concerts by bands such as Barenaked Ladies, Sam Roberts and Blue Rodeo.
  • Whistler athletes make the community proud by giving their all in Olympic competitions. Ashleigh McIvor wins the first gold ever in Ski Cross, an inaugural Olympic event; Maëlle Ricker wins gold in Snowboard Cross; siblings Mike and Britt Janyk compete in alpine skiing events on the mountain they grew up skiing; ski cross athlete Julia Murray, daughter of Crazy Canuck Dave Murray, competes in her first of likely many Olympic Games.
  • Two Canadian women’s bobsleigh teams own the podium, winning both gold and silver in the event. Kaillie Humphries, Heather Moyse, Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown bring it home for Canada right here in Whistler.

While these moments were celebratory and defining, the list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the saddest moment of the Games, the death of young Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. Nodar came to Whistler to pursue his Olympic dream and will live on in our hearts forever.

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