WHISTLER — The 2010 Paralympics, breaking new records in attendance and visibility around the world, closed out in a flash of colour and patriotism Sunday night as athletes from around the world gathered under a basketball court-sized Canadian flag and wished the Games goodbye.
John Furlong, the president of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, left the ceremony halfway through to catch a flight to Georgia, where he is attending a memorial for Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luge athlete killed Feb. 12 in a training accident.
But before he left, he told the cheering crowds that the Paralympic and Olympic Games had ignited a country.
"We now know that sport success is in our nation’s highest interest; that through sport we are a stronger nation, a better nation," he said. "We found something special here in British Columbia. And while the world noticed our patriotic celebration and excitement, we at Vancouver 2010 felt it." Vancouver Sun