Greater Victoria Rio-ready with Olympic fan zonePosted on August 4, 2016
Nearly half of the Canadian team in Rio hails from a B.C. community or trains in the province
Olympic spirit is expected to be high in Greater Victoria with the national teams for 10 sports calling the region home.
To help galvanize fan support, Bear Mountain in Langford has created a fan zone where people can watch the CBC Television coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic games.
“Not only did we build the facilities that our athletes trained on to be ready over the last five years, as a community, we’ve gotten ready to help get behind them,” said Dale Gann, director of business development at Bear Mountain.
The fan zone will provide a place for people to gather to watch local athletes take on the world. It’s also full of memorabilia, including items from Vancouver Island athletes who have competed at previous Olympics.
Bear Mountain is the year-round training ground for Canada’s mountain bike team.
Rugby is another sport that will feature athletes who have been training in Langford. Canada’s women’s rugby 7s team will be part of the debut for the sport in Rio.
“They are from all over the country, but they have moved here, some of them, with their families,” said Gareth Rees of Rugby Canada.
“I think it’s special for us in the Victoria area and the lower Island area to look after them and celebrate what they are going to achieve down there.”
There may be a high concentration of Olympians who train on Vancouver Island, but people across B.C. won’t have trouble finding local athletes to cheer for.
Nearly half of the Canadian athletes in Rio either hail from a B.C. community or train in the province.
The climate in the region doesn’t hurt, but athletes also choose to train in B.C. because of the facilities available, said Wendy Pattenden, CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific.
“A lot of the legacies from recent games, whether it is 2010 or even way back, the Commonwealth Games, have left a lot of world-class sports facilities in British Columbia.”
Story by: Meghan Thomas