VANCOUVER (CITYNEWS) – They were known as the “Blue Jackets” or, more affectionately, the “Smurfs” and were a fixture during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver a decade ago.
More than 60,000 people, most of them Canadian, applied for 25,000 volunteer positions during the Games.
For one group of dedicated individuals, reflecting after 10 years, just being involved with the Olympics was an opportunity of a lifetime.
“Wherever you went, you were passing people and everyone was so excited,” volunteer Rosalind Lecomte said.
Each volunteer was required to fill 13 shifts during the Olympics and seven during the Paralympics, with each lasting between eight and 10 hours.
Duties ranged from parking cars to greeting international guests. Perks included meals, commemorative pins, and, of course, the coveted blue jackets.
“It’s this thing that you watch on TV growing up and then all of a sudden you’re in it,” Jenny Hippel told CityNews Vancouver while donning her blue jacket. “You’ve got your uniform and everybody is around, so excited.”
Others said the experience was once in a lifetime, and one they would not forget.
“It was phenomenal, I have a lot of friendships, even to this day.”
And although it’s been 10 years since Vancouver hosted the Winter Games, the memories are still so vivid for those who dedicated their time to be part of a lasting legacy.
“The night that the women won their hockey tournament, and we came out of a pub, I can’t remember where, and it was just wall to wall people streaming through the streets,” Barry McMeekan said.
For volunteer Davide Tortora, being in Vancouver for the Olympics made him fall in love with the city that welcomed him.
“This city has this power, right? You come here, and it’s like ‘Oh wow, everyone has my same passions, I love what they’re doing here. It’s beautiful.”