Athletes Village Offers Food, Fun and Medical Assistance
Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George Civic Centre is a world unto its own during the Canada Winter Games. It is the official Athletes Village, a place where athletes are fed, can have fun and medical attention if needed.The Main Gymnasium at the Civic Centre has been turned into one mega cafeteria, capable of seating 700 people at one time. “The largest group we’ve had was 1650 in one hour” says Lana Keim, Chair of the Athletes Village and venue lead.
“It’s a very efficient operation” says Keim, who says there are 22 Red Seal Chefs in the kitchen along with 72 staff with 65 brought on specifically for the Games. We’ve had lots of great compliments about the quality of food and the efficiency of the service, they’ve been able to manage allergies and preferences and special orders, they’ve just been outstanding in their service to the athletes.” While most meals are special ordered for the athletes by their coaches, Keim says there is one food item that’s a hit with these young competitors “Pizza, they all like pizza.”
(at left, TeamBC Hockey player Nolan Kneen, figure skaters Hannah Dawson from Hawkesbury Ontario and Cory Circelli of Vaughn Ontario wait for bagels)
Upstairs, the second floor of the Civic Centre has been transformed into a medical centre where pulled muscles, sport injuries, and a variety of minor illnesses can be treated. Compete with command centre that link BC Ambulance Service, St. Johns Ambulance and the venues, the medical team is linked to the activities, and can respond quickly. “We have had eleven ambulance calls over 14 Days” says Rob Stewart who had worked with Vanoc during the 2010 Olympics, and is the Chair of Medical Services for the Games. One of those calls was this morning, when a person suffered acute respiratory distress.
Stewart says there have been 1,000 visits to the medical treatment area which is called the Poly Clinic. “There’s actually more medical done here than all the venues combined” says Stewart.
Joanne Archer is an RN ” Our aim is to deal with minor injuries and illness to mitigate the impact on UHNBC. Our aim is not to be an emergency unit or acute care facility. We see roughly 50 to 70 injuries a day for therapy. Some of them are acute, and many are actually older injuries that have flared up a little bit with the type of activity.”
(at right, therapists treat a couple of patients in the Therapy Room )
And then there’s a space that’s all about relaxation and unwinding.
Elyse Elmslie is the lead for the Athletes Lounge. In setting up the area in the Prince George Library for the athletes, she says the Canada Winter Games turned to UNBC’s Residence group for ideas. The space for athletes includes big screen t.v.’s, video games, comics, even a nerf gun fight night “We have a games night, a casino night coming up tonight with prizes the athletes can win prizes, we’ve had daily yoga, we’ve also had movie nights and all sorts of passive events such as board games. What we’ve been going for is trying to create the basement hangout kind of atmosphere, away from all the hype and excitement. and just kind of relax and defuse after a competition.”
Below, left, some Nova Scotia athletes dance along to “Walk This Way” in the Athletes lounge:
Overall the Athletes Village and the City of Prince George have been a hit says 17 year old trampoline athlete Nathan Shuh from Elmira Ontario, “I’m blown away by the people in Prince George, they have been so friendly, so hospitable, it has been a fantastic experience.”