Patriot Hearts: Inside the Olympics That Changed a Country

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D & M Publishers, Feb 8, 2011 - Sports & Recreation - 304 pages
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A riveting behind-the-scenes account of the transformative 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games—an extraordinary story of visionary leadership, love of country and the ability to dream boldly.

When John Furlong emigrated from Ireland in 1974, the customs officer greeted him with “Welcome to Canada. Make us better”—an imperative that has defined Furlong’s life ever since. A passionate, accomplished athlete with a track record of community service, Furlong was a volunteer for Vancouver’s Olympic bid movement when it began in 1996 and then spent the next 14 years living and breathing the Olympics. Furlong and his organizing team, including 25,000 volunteers and many partners, orchestrated a remarkable Winter Games. Patriot Hearts is the story of how they did it.

Working with Globe & Mail columnist Gary Mason, Furlong recounts the lead­up to the Games and describes how he handled seemingly insurmountable setbacks—such as the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, a global recession and the washed­out snow at Cypress Bowl — to achieve a runaway success and, ultimately, a pivotal moment of nationhood.

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An interesting read. As this is a biography one wonders why Mr. Furlong's time as a physical education instructor at Immaculata school is not even mentioned. All his other coaching experiences are treated in great detail. However his time coaching First Nations children is completely absent. A strange ommision. 

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Proud to be Canadian.

Selected pages


Welcome to CanadaMake Us Better
Enter Jack Poole
Flight 2010 to Vancouver
Employee No 1
Calls for My Head
Diving for Pennies
The Power of the Flame
Little Big Man
CypressOur Special Child
The Sun Finally Shines
Owning the Podium
The Closing Curtain
A Final Farewell to Nodar

Tragedy in Whistler

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About the author (2011)

John Furlong was the leader behind the team that organized and delivered the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to positive reviews the world over. Prior to his appointment as CEO of the Vancouver Olympic Committee in 2004, he was the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Vancouver 2010 Bid, clocking more than 1.2 million miles in his effort to promote Vancouver's candidacy. Furlong has been involved with athletics all his life, having competed at the international level in basketball, European handball and squash. He became Canadian Squash Champion in 1986. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, Furlong has five children and ten grandchildren.

Gary Mason is a national affairs columnist for the Globe & Mail, based in Vancouver. Previously, Mason spent 19 years at the Vancouver Sun in various capacities, including a seven-year stint as a popular sports columnist. He has received the prestigious Jack Webster Award for journalism six times and has won two National Newspaper Awards.

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