Every multi-sport games has its madness because of the sheer volume of sports, athletes, volunteers and requirements for pulling off a great event. For the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games the one day that is a guaranteed to be a long day, no matter what province you are from, is known as “Turnaround Day.”
Throughout the 10 competition days the 19 sports are split into two phases for double usage of venues and to be able to manage the number of athletes and staff. Phase 1 sports, which included artistic gymnastics, athletics, basketball, canoe/kayak, cycling, judo, tennis, beach volleyball and wrestling had great weather and even better competition. Venues were exceptional and the stands were packed with cheering fans and more than helpful volunteers but on Aug. 11 Fort McMurray had to say good bye to all of those athletes. That group from BC brought home 169 medals (77 gold, 51 silver and 41 bronze) giving the Phase 2 athletes a nice foundation to work off of.
Turnaround Day involves mission staff members getting up before 5:00 a.m. to make the 40 minute trek to Noralta Lodge, also known as the 2015 Athlete’s Village. All of the Phase 1 sports gathered their checked luggage bags as early as 6:00 a.m. in the Noralta Lodge cafeterias. Mission staff were there organizing athletes, checking bag tags and ensuring everything that needed to go on planes was ready to go.
For the athletes, they had an early wake up and some strategic packing to do as several of the sports were still competing on that day – including a final day gold-medal wins for beach volleyball, 4x400m relay teams, gymnastics, men’s basketball and wrestling. Waving goodbye to their bags early in the morning athletes packed their carry-on bags with competition gear and travel outfits, ready for their final day of the games.
Select mission staff members were able to stay back at their hotel, without the 5:00 a.m. trek, and were happy for their one day of sleep in. Unfortunately a fire alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. evacuating the entire hotel and depriving certain mission staff of that extra couple of hours of rest! Mission staffers at the athlete’s village surely attributed that to a bit of karma. Alas, all mission staff had an early wake up but were still charged up for the long day ahead.
Team BC phase 1 flights were set to depart Fort McMurray as early as 5:30 p.m., while incoming flights of Phase 2 athletes got the best airport greeting. Phase 1 athletes lined the airport entrance, creating a high-five tunnel for Phase 2 athletes. Rocking tunes and loud cheering was all the Phase 2 athletes could hear as they entered the airport.
Mission staff guided Phase 2 athletes to the village and after proper orientation, checked the athletes into their rooms and let them settle in for their first night. The last flight finished checking in after midnight.
It was a day of mixed emotions saying good bye to all the great connections made with Phase 1 athletes but it’s a new week with new sports. Mission staff have successfully survived Turnaround Day, which, for some, included being up for nearly 20 hours, but all are ready to cheer on Phase 2 sports with a new breathe of energy!
Phase 2 sports, which include badminton, baseball, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming, triathlon and indoor volleyball, get started on Aug. 14. For schedules, results, stories, photos and more visit teambc.org