Vancouver Olympic CEO publishes new book in China

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 30, 2017
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John Furlong, the head of the 2010 Winter Olympics, speaks to a reporter in an interview in Beijing, June 27, 2017. [Photo by Wu Xiaoshan/]

John Furlong, the head of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, published a Chinese version of his 2011 memoir "Patriot Hearts: Inside the Olympics That Changed a Country" on Tuesday.

In an interview with, Furlong said the book seeks to talk about the power of the human spirit and how people can do great things if they want.

He said the reference to "Patriot Hearts" related to the many people who came together to deliver the Olympic Games for Vancouver. The book speaks about the journey, the challenges, the excitement, the highs and lows and tells individual stories.

"If you read the book, you can imagine being part of the story. I think in many ways for people here reading the book, it's understandable how difficult it is to put on a project like this. It's also a way to demonstrate the impact of such a project on society and on people," he said.

Furlong was the chief executive officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. When he and his family emigrated from Ireland in 1974, the customs officer greeted them with the words "Welcome to Canada. Make us better," an imperative that has defined Furlong's life ever since.

A passionate athlete with a track record of community service, he was roped into acting as spokesperson for Vancouver's incipient Olympic bid movement back in 1996, and then spent the next 14 years living and breathing the Olympics. Furlong and his organizing team, including some 25,000 volunteers, orchestrated a remarkable Winter Games.

He has been involved with athletics all his life, having competed at the international level in basketball, European handball and squash. He became Canadian Squash Champion in 1986.

The book "Patriot Hearts" was originally published on Feb. 11, 2011, a year after Canada welcomed the world to the games' opening ceremonies, which, Furlong said, were inspired by China's Beijing Olympics in 2008. The book was co-written by Globe & Mail columnist Gary Mason.

According to Yu Jiutao, the president of China Pictorial Publishing House that published the Chinese edition with support from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development, "Patriot Hearts" will help China to better organize the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

"Winter sports don't have big popularity in China, so there are few books about this subject," Yu said, adding that, "while we knew Mr. Furlong and his team by chance and knew he had worked hard to enhance exchanges and communications between the sports worlds of China and Canada, we discovered he had this inspiring and interesting book and decided to translate and publish it in China. This coincided with Furlong's own will too."

The Chinese title of the book is not "Patriot Hearts," but rather, literally "The Sun Finally Shines," Yu explained. "The original title 'Patriot Hearts' was about Canadian people's patriotism, which created some distance for Chinese readers. 'The Sun Finally Shines is actually the title of one of its chapters. We wanted it sound inspiring to Chinese readers, as it is. "

Yu believed Furlong's book will be helpful for Chinese when the Beijing Olympic Winter Games committee deals with such problems as the administrative system and sponsors. "He met and overcame many difficulties and challenges," the publisher said. "He wrote in the book how he dealt with them, and how he persisted and never gave up. This is a very story-telling book, it will be very helpful for us and will inspire us."

Lu Cairong, the vice president of China International Publishing Group (CIPG), speaks at the book launch held in Beijing, June 27, 2017. [Photo by Wu Xiaoshan/]

Lu Cairong, the vice president of China International Publishing Group (CIPG), also addressed the ceremony. He stated that "'Patriot Hearts' is a timely book with valuable experience and successful precedents, where great examples can be learned from for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games 2022 preparation. The publishing of the Chinese edition will also promote the sports and cultural exchanges between China and Canada, and is of great significance in enhancing the two countries' friendship and carrying forward the Olympic spirit."

Furlong said he was excited and thrilled to see the Chinese version. He also applauded the work of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"I think China has a very good team and is preparing very well, so the Games will be a terrific success. I think they have great discipline, a very good vision for these Games. They will probably be very different from 2008 [Beijing Summer Olympics]," he said.

He added that the goals of the Games involve a desire to see 300 million Chinese involved in winter sports. "This is massive undertaking. When you see that, you will realize in order to achieve that, you have to mobilize at a very high level. I think of any place in the world that has the ability, the power, and the commitment, and the resources and the expertise to do that, is China. So, I think these Games in China will leave behind a different legacy," he said.

Furlong gifted the book to Chang Yu, the head of the publicity department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at the book launch ceremony on Tuesday. Cindy Termorshuizen, the deputy head of mission of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and other guests also attended the ceremony.

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