Torino Games President Shares Key Lessons From 2006 Winter Games

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In November 2006, the RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series brought Valentino Castellani, president of the Torino 2006 Organizing Committee (TOROC), to British Columbia to share business successes and key lessons learned from hosting the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Castellani made presentations in Courtenay, Kelowna and Vancouver as part of the series.

"What makes the difference in the Olympic Games is the magic – you have to live it," said Castellani, adding that the Games help build a chain of global friendships that will last long after the Closing Ceremony.

When describing business opportunities related the Games, he noted that local companies have a competitive advantage. More than 80 percent of TOROC’s goods and services budget was spent in Italy. In Torino, smaller companies got Olympics business by forming business associations to meet contract requirements. Castellani referred prospective contractors to the RBC Guide for Business Opportunities as a helpful resource.

He emphasized that business in areas outside the Lower Mainland need to prepare early and offer a product or service to encourage Games visitors to come to their community. He cited wine and food tours as being successful attractions in communities surrounding Torino.

Castellani also said volunteers are the "face of the Games." He describes Torino’s 18,000 volunteers as being still "on duty" with a legacy of service at other major sport events.

Vancouver’s legacy work impressed him: "Vancouver has a professional and committed approach to building legacies. It’s a long-term perspective."

Part of the Torino legacy was a different outlook for city residents and for Italians. The Opening Ceremony was intended to inspire pride: "The Opening Ceremony spoke to everybody – it switched on the city."

He said the single biggest benefit of the Games was that Torino – a city in transition from its former industrial focus – made a substantial step forward in self-confidence. Castellani expressed that feeling by exclaiming at the Closing Ceremony, "We did it!"

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.