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 for more information on Olympics-related happenings.

Just Posted

Saanich Police looking for information relating to suspicious death

The body of a man was found on Crease Avenue just after 9 a.m. on Saturday

250th Free Little Library installed in Victoria

Greater Victoria now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

Urbanists hope to see Victoria’s unused rooftops, parkades, parking lots become usable green space

Downtown Residents Association says city dwellers should have access to parks

For the love of fibre: fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Cemetery tour explores Metchosin’s early history

A tour with grave consequences for those wishing to explore Metchosin’s history takes place Aug. 25

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read