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Patriot Hearts [Hardcover]

John Furlong , Gary Mason
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 21 2011
A riveting behind-the-scenes account of the transformative Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games -- an extraordinary story of visionary leadership, love of country and the ability to dream boldly.

When John Furlong emigrated from Ireland in 1974, the customs officer greeted him with "Welcome to Canada. Make us better" -- an imperative that has defined Furlong's life ever since. A passionate, accomplished athlete with a track record of community service, Furlong was a volunteer for Vancouver's 2010 Olympic bid movement when it began in 1996 and then spent the next 14 years living and breathing the Olympics. Furlong and his organizing team, including 25,000 volunteers and many partners, orchestrated a remarkable Winter Games. Patriot Hearts is the story of how they did it.

Working with Globe & Mail columnist Gary Mason, Furlong recounts the lead-up to the Games and describes how he handled seemingly insurmountable setbacks -- such as the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, a global recession and the washed-out snow at Cypress Bowl -- to achieve a runaway success and, ultimately, a pivotal moment of nationhood.

Patriot Hearts will be published on February 12, 2011, the anniversary of the 2010 Olympic opening ceremonies. Furlong will donate part of his book royalties to the Own the Podium program.


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Review

"Patriot Hearts is a human story of passion and pride, of adversity and triumph, leadership and courage, told with genuine humility -- an unforgettable, sometimes tearful, emotional account of one of Canada's greatest ever achievements. It's a story of great significance we all played a part in." (Brian Williams, Canada's Foremost Olympic Anchor 2010-11-05)

"This is a story of Canadian triumph over adversity that touched us all, told with honesty and humility, and I was proud to be a part of it. From Mr. Furlong and his staff, with their hard work and leadership, to the many volunteers from across Canada, to the great Olympics fans of Vancouver, the province of British Columbia and Canada, we were all proud to hold our heads high and say we were Canadian. Patriot Hearts will touch your soul." (Wayne Gretzky 2010-11-05)

"Mr. Furlong is full of such relentless, sometimes baffling positivity -- not least in his new memoir, Patriot Hearts, co-written with Gary Mason." (National Post 2011-02-11)

"Patriot Hearts is a gossipy gallop across the emotional arc of the Games, from heroics on and off the snow and ice to jaw-dropping examples of petty intrigues, jealousies and tragedy...Above all, this is a story of teamwork and leadership." (Maclean's 2011-02-21)

"[Patriot Hearts] is a story about sticking to one's vision, no matter what other people say...by the end, it is clear Furlong's particular brand of zeal, perseverance, and focus is required to put on such a complicated and successful spectacle." (Quill & Quire 2011-04-01)

"From negotiations that led to the highest corporate sponsorships in Olympic history to the involvement of political interests and the development of controversial programs and choices, this offers a story about organizing an Olympic event and provides businesses, politicans and leaders with behind-the-scenes insights on what goes on. Any sports and many a general-interest collection will relish this survey." (The Midwest Book Review 2011-07-01)

About the Author

JOHN FURLONG served for four years as President of the Northern BC Winter Games Society, three years on the BC Games Society Board and ten years as a member of the Canadian Olympic Association Board. The Richmond resident was also a past chair of Sport BC, chair of the BC Summer and Winter Games and was a BC Mission Staff member for seven Canada Games. In 2001, John took a leave from his position as CEO of the 7000-member Arbutus Club to become the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid Corporation. As an integral part of the management team, FURLONG oversaw the day-to-day operations of the bid and the production of the plan that convinced IOC members to award the Games to Vancouver-Whistler in July 2003. JOHN FURLONG served as the CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and lead the Organizing Committee to produce an amazing event.

GARY MASON is a national affairs columnist for the Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. Previously, Mason spent 19 years at the Vancouver Sun in various capacities, including a seven-year stint as a popular sports columnist. He has received the prestigious Jack Webster Award for journalism five times and has won two National Newspaper Awards.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars hard to read July 22 2011
By Alia
Format:Hardcover
The book is well-written, but highly self-aggrandizing. I get the same vibe from John Furlong's book as I do from Howard Schultz and his Starbucks promo. Events that happen in the book suggest that he royally pisses some people off, but he glosses over those and puts in all the gory details of people who experience embarrassment or happen to rub Furlong the wrong way. I'm glad I read it, but think the author takes himself awfully seriously.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Time of My Life March 12 2011
Format:Hardcover
I live in Vancouver and experienced first-hand the excitement that 'Patriot Hearts' is based on. I bought this book to relive the most amazing time of my life, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. John Furlong does a fantastic job telling us the story of what it took to organize this event; the competition for gold, power, and recognition. Visit my blog for video, pictures, and commentary on the 2010 Olympics at [...]

There are a number of passages in the book where I was on the verge of tears reliving what it was like during those 17 days. Furlong is an Irishman and he succeeds in telling a great story, presenting events in a way that rivets you to the book. I didn't want to put it down but had to sleep and work.

"Patriot Hearts" is a surprisingly inspirational book that describes what happens when you have the will to succeed. The super-human life that Furlong lived during those 17 days is a testament to the human spirit. I loved the devotion that Furlong describes in his obsession to detail and the view that these details are the linchpin to success. Furlong is the model Canadian citizen, community driven, visionary, hard working, ambitious, and although I haven't worked for the man, I get a sense of honesty from this guy.

The Olympics were an event that gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our passion for this country and dare I say it, our patriotism!! I have to catch myself as I'm expressing this in a typical Canadian fashion. I loved a passage in the book when during the national anthem John looks at his daughter to see tears running down her cheeks. I felt close to that level of pride while singing the anthem on our rapid transit trains (Sky Train) on our way to the Canada-Russia game or coming home after work on a night when Canada was playing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An inside view May 9 2011
Format:Hardcover
IMO a so-so book which basically drones on with a once in a while interesting tid bit. As one who is not an Olympic Games fan maybe my review is biased but it does prove that its a corporate, political and money game. Sadly the Olympic Games do not portray what they once were. Read about half way and then started leafing through the rest of the pages trying to find something that interested me rather than the corporate dealings and media back stabbing. It does show that a lot of work goes into the Games and those involved in its production did yeoman duty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of a Champion April 24 2011
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
One of Canada's foremost amateur sports promoters, John Furlong has collaborated with a popular sports writer, Gary Mason, to produce a very informative account of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. It is mainly Furlong's story, as the game's chief organizer and promoter, written in Mason's masterful style, that makes this book a must read for all of us who followed these Olympics from start to finish. Yes, there were moments when many of us thought that this international sporting extravaganza would never make it to Vancouver. It took the dogged efforts and farsighted vision of Furlong and VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee), along with some movers and shakers in the local community to make it happen. I enjoyed reading "Patriot Hearts" because it focused on the dream back at the turn of the century and proceeded to describe how it took shape under Furlong and the late Jack Poole's leadership during the following nine years. While we see the games through Furlong's eyes, at no time does he take credit for making it happen. All he claimed to have brought to the table was a genuine and persistent passion to have the games happen and leave a proud legacy for generations to come. This Olympiad, as Furlong describes it, was definitely a team effort dedicated to overcoming serious obstacles along the way: rising costs, IOC corruption and politics, and plenty of naysayers and critics. In all these matters, Furlong, often with the grudging support of his board and the various levels of government, oversaw a games which was under budget and very successful for Canadian athletes. The chapter dealing with his success in helping to unite the country behind the games is especially inspiring. Read more ›
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