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"There was this extraordinary embrace of the entire city of theOlympic Games, something that I have never seen on this scale before.This is really something unique and it's given a great atmosphere for these Games. The whole world will understand how totallyinvolved this city was in the Games."Jacques Rogge, IOC PresidentAs the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games came to an end with the extinguishing of the Olympicflame, the city was able to look back on a sensational 16 days of world-class sporting action andexuberant celebrations. From start to finish, Vancouver and its residents embraced the Games in away that has rarely been witnessed before, creating an extraordinary party atmosphere on the city'sstreets and in its venues.At every turn there were patriotic Canadian fans, draped in maple leaf flags and singing the nationalanthem; and that enthusiasm for the Games was matched all over the country as Canadians tuned into Olympic broadcasts in record numbers. The hosts certainly had good reason to cheer on theirathletes so passionately. Heading into the Games, Canada had never previously won an Olympic goldmedal on home soil, but that statistic was soon consigned to the history books as the Canadian teamracked up a record 14 gold medals -the most ever won at an Olympic Winter Games. But it wasn't just the hosts who were in record-breaking mood. A record 82 National OlympicCommittees (NOCs) and 2,631 athletes took to the snow and ice in Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler. Among those participants, there were also record numbers of female athletes, while six NOCs were taking part in their first ever Winter Games.By the time the 86th and final gold medal had been decided -with Canada's dramatic overtime victory against the USA in the men's ice hockey -athletes from 26 different countries had stepped up onto the medals podium. Two countries -Slovakia and Belarus -were able to celebrate their firstever Olympic Winter Games gold medals.The sporting action attracted record viewing figures -not just in Canada, but around the world -withunsurpassed levels of coverage reaching more people than ever before, across a variety of different media platforms.12Chapter One / WITH GLOWING HEARTS