In Vancouver, for instance, the city spent almost a decade expanding and upgrading highways and public transportation for the 2010 Winter Games. The provincial highway from the city up to Whistler-Blackcomb, the gargantuan ski resort that hosted several events, was widened and modernized, making it less of a white-knuckle ride in the winter months. And in part to prep for the Games, the resort installed a gondola between the two mountains -- the world’s highest, longest such transport -- that ever since has conjoined Whistler and Blackcomb for skiers who want to hit both mountains in a day. The arenas in town are multi-sport public venues now, and the new monorail line has fed a flourishing corridor of local businesses between the city center and the airport.
“It felt like the city was transformed,” says Jordan Wade, a Vancouver-based filmmaker and self-proclaimed Olympics nut who has been to the last five Winter and Summer games, covering stories as a video journalist. “Vancouver had this tag as a ‘no fun city’ -- like a slogan that it was given in the ’80s -- that it was never able to shake it until probably 2010.”
Wade says the Olympics brings a cosmopolitan frisson that overcomes a city or area during the games. That sense of the world converging in one place can continue crackling for months afterward.