February 24, 2010 / 5:04 PM / in 8 years

Games sparks euphoria in Canadians, says Vancouver boss

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The Vancouver Winter Olympics has sparked euphoria among Canadians and celebrations across the entire country, Games chief John Furlong told reporters on Wednesday.

<p>Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride stand in front of the Olympic cauldron at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 23, 2010. REUTERS/Lyle Stafford</p>

Furlong, reviewing the Games a few days before Sunday’s closing ceremony, said he believed the Olympics had changed Vancouver as a city and the people who live in it.

”There is a certain confidence and contentment here,“ he said. ”People are living this with us. It is something that will last and it’s bigger than just Vancouver.

”People are celebrating over the whole of Canada and that’s something that’s new to us.

“There’s euphoria here. People want to feel good. The city is feeling good about itself.”

Furlong said Games organizers’ had been taken by surprise by the number of people coming into downtown Vancouver to see the Olympic flame.

“We’ve had from 2,000 to 12,000 people at the cauldron late at night. That’s something we did not expect,” he said.

Furlong said the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training accident before the opening ceremony on February 12 had marred the Games and organizers had had to cope with problems of lack of snow and transportation failures early on.

But he said he felt his organization had responded well and noted that daily meetings with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to discuss problems had ceased after the first Monday of the Games because there were no serious issues.

Furlong said the Olympics would close on Sunday with a “warm, happy, fun-filled” closing ceremony in which Canadians would poke fun at themselves.

Editing by Ed Osmond.

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