Volunteers share amazing memories of Vancouver Olympic games

Princeton’s Vivian O’Connor poses with French figure skaters Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur, who finished 14th in the 2010 Olympics. “They were so darned nice,” she said.                                Lyle Thomas, now Princeton’s CAO, was personal envoy for the Latvian Skeleton team and got to hold an Olympic silver medal.

Princeton’s Vivian O’Connor poses with French figure skaters Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur, who finished 14th in the 2010 Olympics. “They were so darned nice,” she said. Lyle Thomas, now Princeton’s CAO, was personal envoy for the Latvian Skeleton team and got to hold an Olympic silver medal.

A decade ago this month, Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Approximately 25,000 volunteers were recruited to run the games, and at least two of those people came from Princeton.

Ten years ago Princeton turned out to cheer the Olympic torch

“I was working in Alberta around Calgary when the 1988 Olympics happened,” said Lyle Thomas, who is now Princeton’s CAO. “I felt the urge to get involved then and I didn’t. I let it pass by and I always kicked myself for that. When Vancouver was awarded the Olympics I decided that was a no-brainer. I had to apply.”

The road to qualifying for a position was lengthy and extensive.

“Once you were accepted there was a year of training.”

Thomas travelled to Vancouver once a month to receive instruction in driving, etiquette, cultural expectations and communication.

He was assigned a coveted position, personal envoy for the Latvian Skeleton team, and had a front row seat for all practices and competitions.

Latvia’s Martins Dukurs won silver, and was just edged off the top of the podium by Canadian Jon Montgomery.

While getting to hold the Olympic medal and celebrate with the athletes he attended to daily was thrilling, Thomas’ best memory is simply the joy he felt being part of the event.

“I think it was just an overwhelming sense of pride in our country,” he said “It was just about being part of something Canadian and just the national pride you felt because there is no question in my mind that Canada did a great job of putting together those Olympics.”

Related: 2010 Winter Olympics have led to a decade of Canadian confidence in sport

Vivian O’Connor was an Olympic driver.

“I volunteered because I wanted to meet people from all over the world.”

O’Connor worked 10-hour evening shifts for the two weeks of the games.

“We drove anybody with credentials to specific drop off points, or so we were told to. In reality I took my people wherever they wanted to go.”

She handed out Canada pins to anyone who wanted one, and asked everyone to sign her Canada flag.

“The nicest people were the workers for the International Olympic Committee,” she said.

“I took the President of the Greek Olympic committee to the airport. He was a sweet guy, was here with his daughter. He gave me a bottle of the best wine ever. It was a present from the Russian Olympic Committee, but he didn’t drink so he had promised himself he would give it to whomever drove him to the airport when he left.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
Resident, staff member of Kelowna long-term care home test positive for COVID-19

First case of the virus among care home residents in Interior Health

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

(Randy Mills/@poohbah431111 - Twitter)
Motorcyclist suffers potentially life-threatening injuries after collision in Kelowna

The 26-year-old male was transported to Kelowna General Hospital after the collision last night

32228 Buffalo Drive, Mission
Kelowna neighbourhood to compete for best holiday lights

Residents can vote on the Kettle Valley Holiday Light Up Contest until Dec. 6

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News staff)
Kelowna break-in suspect arrested over weekend

The incident happened on Nov. 28 at approximately 4:40 a.m.

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Emergency crews respond to crash just before midnight on Trans-Canada Highway east of Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Two pick-up trucks collide head-on on Trans-Canada Highway near Salmon Arm

Police report drivers survive crash late on Nov. 29, taken to hospital

The missing snowmen were found down the road Monday after being removed from their rightful places Sunday, Nov. 29. (Contributed)
Missing snowmen go for an evening stroll in Okanagan

Large Mrs. Snowman cutout apparently went for a walk

A Summerland municipal employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Summerland Review file photo)
Summerland municipal employee tests positive for COVID-19

Employee now self-isolating and recovering at home

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism widespread

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lauren Shular shows the Apexico Tshirts she designed and is selling
UBC Okanagan student says ‘if can’t go to Mexico – head to Apexico’

Apex family have designed fun Tshirts that are flying off the cabin shelves

Most Read