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Furlong may pen book about Olympic experience

With the Olympic frenzy now past, the man who brought the Games to Vancouver and Whistler is pondering what to do next.

John Furlong, the CEO for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is still looking for a spare moment to think about his future as the committee packs up its operations. VANOC is expected to close up completely at the end of June. An audit will come afterward.

Following that, there's a possibility that Furlong will pen a book about his Olympic experiences.

"I will probably write a book about the Games and the experience in some way," he said. "Not sure of that, but I'd say that's going to happen. I haven't made any decisions about a career."

Furlong was a rare breed of Olympic organizer who took charge of the Games from start to finish. He was plucked from Vancouver's Arbutus Club, where he was CEO, to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation.

Following the awarding of the 2010 Games to Vancouver his appointment to head up the organizing committee was controversial. Former IOC vice-president Dick Pound publicly slammed him, saying he "doesn't have the experience" needed for the job. Pound also criticized a hiring process that he claimed favoured Furlong alone.

Furlong eventually made up with Pound and defied his critics, joining a small legion of Olympic organizers who've stayed at the top from the beginning to the end. Previous Games have seen lead organizers shuffled midway through preparations and the faces at the end haven't matched the ones they started with.

The 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City are one example. The Games were mired in scandal in the years leading up to their staging with allegations that organizers had bribed International Olympic Committee officials to secure the Games.

The scandal led to the resignations of both the President and Vice-President of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Mitt Romney, a future candidate for President of the United States, took charge of the Games thereafter, leading them to a successful finish in 2002.

Furlong led a very successful Olympic and Paralympic Games despite setbacks such as warm weather and the tragic death of a Georgian luger.

He rules out a stint in politics but he doesn't seem as though he's finished working.

"I know I'm not going to get engaged in political life because people keep asking me that," he said. "I'm extremely tired and it's been difficult to come off the ferocious pace that the Games was and to get into a more, into the pace of life that most of us live on a day to day basis.

"I know for sure that I would say that I will never engage in work that doesn't matter. I want to be doing things, I want to be involved in things that count, you know. I'm a person that believes very much in culture, I believe in teamwork, I very much enjoyed what I got to do here and I'm very proud of the results that we have."

Furlong will take time to consider what his place is, once he gets a moment to think about it. As it stands, he has no concerns about getting a new job but has yet to figure out what the right fit is.

"I'm always willing to pitch in and help out," he said. "If I'm ever asked by the community or the country to help out with anything, I will of course do that."

But there is one place he won't go back to. Asked whether he'd return to the Arbutus Club Furlong said, "Are you kidding me? Come on."

Jesse Ferreras reports for The Pique in Whistler.

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