Sports fans gather at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa to watch Summer Olympic Games coverage from Rio de Janeiro.

Bear Mountain the place to be to watch Rio Olympics

Langford resort's Fan Zone a hopping place during big games

To borrow a phrase from the movie Cool Runnings, the West Shore is feeling very Olympic these days.

One of the hubs for that Olympic spirit throughout this year’s Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro is the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa, where the Fan Zone is giving spectators a chance to cheer on Canada’s brightest stars.

Led by the Langford-based women’s sevens rugby side, which suffered its first loss in three outings at the Games on Sunday morning, 22-0 to England, teams and individuals who train on the West Shore and around the region have been in the spotlight for TV viewers as part of the Rio Ready events at the Langford resort.

The Fan Zone kicked things off in style on Friday, with a meet and greet featuring numerous Victoria-area Olympians and Paralympians.

Kyle Hamilton and Malcolm Howard – both members of Canada’s gold medal-winning men’s eight rowing team in 2008 in Beijing – recall how they weren’t able to participate in the opening ceremonies, with their first race being the next morning.

“Rowing starts either the Saturday or Sunday right after [the ceremony]. Opening ceremonies are essentially six hours in an oven,” Hamilton explained.

“I remember we all got together in the hotel and watched the opening ceremonies and did our own little thing … it’s a pretty unique feeling when the Olympics start,” Howard said.

Stacie Loutitt, a two-time Paralympian in sailing, also didn’t get a chance to participate in the opening ceremonies in 2008, with the sailing events taking place 200 miles away from the host city, but was there in 2012 in London.

“It was amazing … you’re with your comrades and you’re all in your gear … there’s a lot of buzz,” she said.

All the athletes agreed that feeling the support from home means a lot when the pressure builds towards the pinnacle of their sporting lives.

“In certain ways it’s easy to miss it, you’re very insulated and in your own little bubble. But when you catch glimpses of it, it’s really kind of humbling,” Hamilton said.

“After we won [in Beijing] and seeing the CBC article that had page after page of comments of people just being excited for the win … it was an amazing feeling.”

The Fan Zone will continue at Bear Mountain throughout the Olympics, concluding with the closing ceremonies on Aug. 21. Visit bearmountain.ca/event/rio-ready for more information on Olympics-related happenings.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

In and out in 60 seconds, two suspects get away with $10,000 worth of jewelry after break-in at WestShore Gold and Silver

Langford business broken into just down the street from West Shore RCMP detachment

New survey finds 4.7 million women over 15 were victims of sexual assault in Canada

Some 1.2 million men (eight per cent) report having been sexually assaulted since age 15

Greater Victoria residents recognized for International Volunteer Day

Thousands of people volunteer throughout the community every year

$1,500 bursary created in memory of late Ducan musician returns for second year

Young Vancouver Island musicians in financial need can apply by Dec. 15

Victoria career fair highlights opportunities in film industry

Reel Careers in Film and Media fair set for Dec. 7 at Camosun’s Interurban campus

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: The longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island has been cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Most Read