Bear Mountain Golf Resort is Rio Ready.
From Aug. 5 to 21, Langford’s high-profile resort transforms into a support hub for West Shore residents to gather and cheer on Canadian athletes – many of whom train in Greater Victoria – as they compete on one of the biggest stages in the world.
“A lot of people don’t know there is a lot of Olympic athletes training here in Langford and in the Victoria region,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young, speaking Friday at a spirit rally to introduce Fanzone and kick off the countdown to the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. “We are big supporters, the residents of Langford are big supporters of the athletic programs we have … (showcasing) our Olympic hopefuls.”
Young spent time on the Mainland during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. He said the opportunity to experience the pinnacle of amateur sport firsthand encouraged him to bring a piece of that to Langford, which now is home to multiple high-level training facilities.
Not only is Bear Mountain the high-performance training centre for the Canadian Mountain Biking Team, Golf Canada announced in 2015 it would locate its national team training centre there as well.
Construction is ongoing on new indoor and outdoor clay court tennis facilities on the site, supported by Tennis Canada and Tennis B.C. And down the road in central Langford, Rugby Canada calls Westhills and the adjacent area home.
“We’ve been trying to support sports and recreation in Langford, and building these great facilities we have out here (is part of that),” Young said. “A lot of the great athletes are training here now (at) Bear Mountain, at City Centre Park with the rugby sevens Olympic teams … These athletes have worked very hard over the last four years and they are representing Canada.”
Former Olympic athlete Silken Laumann, on hand for the announcement, said while she will be spending time on Hornby Island on vacation during the Olympics, she plans to tune in as much as possible and hopes to get to the Fanzone herself.
“I think our Canadian Olympians are such great ambassadors, such great young people who give back to the community, who are involved in their communities, who are our neighbours, who are our teachers,” she said. “They are regular Canadians who have had extraordinary dreams and have gone for it. I think we feel connected to them as Canadians.”
Now with social media, she said athletes competing overseas are much more aware of what friends and family are doing back home and will be able to see their supporters at Bear Mountain firsthand. Photos of Canadian crowds will be sent to the athletes as the events transpire.
“I just would love to see the Fanzone be a big success and have hundreds and hundreds of people out here every night cheering our athletes on,” Laumann said. “It’s such a lift for our athletes to have that.”
For more information and event times visit bearmountain.ca/event/rio-ready.