Games CEO “Ecstatic About the Crowds”
Prince George, B.C. – With one week in the books, Canada Winter Games CEO Stu Ballantyne says he’s ecstatic with attendance at sporting venues so far.
“For the most part it’s exceeded expectations. We’ve had crowds at archery, the archers and the target shooting athletes aren’t used to seeing a lot of people in the crowd and cheering and it’s a very different dynamic for them.”
And then there’s the hordes of people at Kin1 for short-track speed skating.
“It’s a very exciting and dynamic sport. I think the venue is perfect – it’s got the right number of seats for that sport. It’s a brand new beautiful venue and I think the volunteers have done an amazing job to make it friendly for spectators to take it all in.”
However he says he wishes more people would head out to watch the hockey competition.
“I think we’re a little disappointed with the CN Centre and the woman’s hockey because every other sport has had really, really good attendance.”
Otherwise Ballantyne says he’s received nothing but positive feedback with the crowd support.
“Yeah, across the board. I do see a few athletes on the street and I talk to them. Mostly through the mission staff, the 13 teams, all the organizations taking care of these athletes,” he says.
“When you’re dealing with problems like, can we get some more seats, can we do this, can we do that, to get more crowd in, these are good things to have happen.”
And Ballantyne expects the big crowds will spill into week two of the events starting tomorrow afternoon.
“I’m sure snowboarding is not going to disappoint. Freestyle did a great job out at Tabor Mountain and snowboarding will be out at Tabor for a few days. I think the Nordic Centre will continue to attract people.
Then there’s the sports many associate with summer.
“We’re bringing in trampoline, and remember, trampoline was the only gold we earned in London, 2012. Some of the racquet sports, squash, badminton and table tennis. People may not think table tennis is very exciting but it is extremely exciting.”
And then there’s men’s hockey.
“Hockey starts to compete right away (Sunday afternoon). It will be popular. It will grow as the week goes on.”