Vancouver_mascot_with_babyJanuary 3 - Britain's lead Government department responsible for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics judged last year's Winter Games in Vancouver a success despite transport issues and the volunteers not being given enough food, according to official memos.

The free downtown live sites were "a huge success," the security plan worked well, and the passionate Vancouver public spirit triumphed over the obstacles, reported officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in memos obtained by the Vancouver Sun under Britain's Freedom of Information act.

But volunteers were underfed and drivers became lost to poor signage, the memos also noted, which the DCMS claimed did not represent the views of the Government and had not been vetted for accuracy. 

The officials from the DCMS who attended the event claimed that the Vancouver Olympics had faced some "challenges/issues" in the areas of transportation, marketing, signage and volunteers. 

They claimed that links between the airport and the city, and the city and venues were not always managed properly, leading to problems with VIPs.

"Some VIPs came by charter to other domestic terminals - no services provided," the memos said.

"Volunteers at airport had no language skills."

It was also claimed that some bus drivers were uncooperative with Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee officials and that others lacked basic tools, such as maps and radios, which led to them getting lost in the city. 

The DCMS officials also complained that the quality of the buses used for the Games was not as high as they could have been and this caused some delays.

But their overall assessment of the Games - the last ones to be held before London 2012 - was positive. 

They said the city successfully overcame initial criticism of many transportation arrangements, including long line-ups up and down Cypress Mountain, the freestyle skiing and snowboarding venue.


The volunteers, widely known as "Blue Jackets" were widely praised and described as "very personable and loyal".

However, during the Games, they felt the volunteers were "not adequately looked after (only one meal a day, few warm areas, 'last to know' about Games results, some had long commute)."

The officials had different views on the success of the merchandise and marketing programme, some claiming that there was a shortage of products while others deemed the red mittens campaign as "a great success". 

But they complained the colour scheme of the Olympic look and brand was "pale and too complex."

They also said there was no coordination of street dressing or signage, which could have reflected the brand, and that there was "very little Paralympic merchandising."

There was also "big issues with size, location and quality of signs," it was claimed in the memos.

They said signage around the city and information about events were insufficient, causing traffic problems for drivers.

They said the signage was designed by locals, without international visitors in mind.

"International spectators [were] not very well catered for," with the assumption that they "knew where they were going."

They also claimed there was too little countrywide participation in the Games, with marketing efforts concentrated in British Columbia.

The memos, though, claimed that if the Olympics and Paralympics in London next year matched Vancouver then the Games will be judged a success.

"Ensure the city and people embrace the Games," the memos concluded.

"If we can go some way to creating the same passion within London and throughout the UK as was witnessed in Vancouver, the Games will be a resounding and memorable success."

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