Irishman Furlong in the spotlight in Vancouver this week

February 17, 2009

OCI CEO Stephen Martin, attending the Chef de Mission Seminar this week, learned a little more about his passion for sport and he’s come along way since his arrival in Vancouver.

Helping to improve the fabric of Canadian society remains one of Furlong’s steadfast personal goals. As Chief Executive Officer for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Furlong believes the event can be a real nation builder. “All Canadians must feel these Games are theirs,” says Furlong. “This is not about a few of us but about all of us.” 

A resolute believer in teamwork, he credits his leadership style to the lessons he learned as a young athlete: “Leadership is about finding a way to contribute to the success of your team mates and it’s never easy. I’ve tried to take the lessons of athletics – fair play, integrity and real teamwork – and incorporate them into the culture of this organization.”

Prior to his appointment at VANOC in 2004, Furlong was the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. He helped lead the organization through numerous phases. In his role, he became the Bid’s international face and key spokesperson, tirelessly clocking more than 1.2 million miles in his travels to promote the Bid.

Furlong has been involved with athletics all his life, having competed at the international level in three sports. He captained Gaelic Football Teams, as well as national basketball and handball teams in his native Ireland. The Olympic Games first captivated him in 1964, when he watched the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games on television: “Being involved with the Olympic Games was all I could think of.”

A long time member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, he has also served as chair of the BC Summer and Winter Games and Sport BC. He founded the Northern BC Winter Games Society, and served British Columbia at seven Canada Games and two Western Canada Games.

Furlong’s service to sport has landed him with numerous community awards, among them the Darrel Thompson and Kaizan Awards for services to sport in British Columbia over a lifetime. He was voted Canada’s Sport Executive of the Year for his contribution to the Vancouver 2010 Bid, and named Vancouver’s Executive of the Year by the Vancouver Executive Association. He was acclaimed as the 2004 Canadian Sport Awards’ Sport Leadership Winner for his service to sport in Canada over a lifetime. He has won Vancouver’s most prestigious tourism award for the promotion of Vancouver around the world and was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as the 2004 W.A.C. Bennett Award winner.

A former Canadian squash champion, Furlong continues to play and work out when he can. When not consumed by Olympic Games business he enjoys good books, movies, live theatre, his daughter’s soccer games and the Vancouver Canucks. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, Furlong is a resident of Richmond, BC. He has five children and six grandchildren. 

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