Paralympics set attendance mark

BOB MACKIN , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:55 PM ET

WHISTLER - The 2010 Winter Paralympics were not sold out, but International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven said it set a ticketing record nonetheless.

VANOC sold 230,000 of 250,000 tickets available. Of that, 30,200 tickets were used by schoolchildren through the Ticket to Inspiration $5 ticket program.

Craven said 50,000 viewers a day watched action online via ParalympicSport.TV.

In 2007, VANOC budgeted $92.8 million for the Paralympics. The federal and British Columbia governments spent $52 million.

VANOC chief executive John Furlong said it was successful on several levels. Canada finished third after being sixth at Turin 2006 and Paralympic sports found new converts in Canada. He said Canadians inspired by Terry Fox and Rick Hansen were conditioned to recognize and celebrate the athletes’ ability over their disability.

Furlong left the Sunday night closing ceremony early to travel to Georgia to grieve with the family of the luger who died in a training crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Feb. 12.

He is attending a Tuesday afternoon memorial for Nodar Kumaritashvili, the 21-year-old who died on the opening day of the 21st Winter Olympics.

Reflecting on the decade-long job of heading the organization from bid stage to Games-end, Furlong said: “I regret not a second of it, but I say to anybody who wants to take on something like this they have to be ready to realize that it’s never going to go away until it’s over.”

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca


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