2003 John Furlong & Jack Poole

by Jim Kearney

Originally asked by the Vancouver Olympic Bid Committee to help in the Canada-wide search for someone to head up the bid process, Jack Poole eventually submitted his own name and was appointed Chief Executive Officer on October 10, 2001.

His first move was to hire Irish-born John Furlong, a Canadian Olympic Committee member with an extensive background as both an athlete and executive in B.C. amateur sport, as Chief Operating Officer. Together they spearheaded the successful bid to bring the 2010 Winter Olympics to Vancouver and Whistler.

Furlong & Poole

Furlong & Poole

Already a member of the bid committee Board of Directors, Furlong, aided no doubt by his Irish eloquence, was the point man in Prague last July when Vancouver narrowly won the three-city race for the right to stage the Games. He took a two-year leave of absence from his14-year day job as Chief Executive Officer of the upscale Arbutus Club on Vancouver’s west side.

Now he may need an extension, for he is one of the favourites to be named to head the Organizing Committee. Poole, a wealthy and long retired property developer, now in his early 70s, will not be a candidate.

Before emigrating to Canada as a young man, Furlong played for the Irish national teams in both basketball and handball. He also coached Ireland’s national women’s basketball team. After coming to Canada, he went to the 1987 World Squash championships as a member of Canada’s 35-and-over team having won the Canadian championship in that category the previous year.

The former head of physical education at Prince George Community College, John founded the Northern B.C. Winter Games Society, has been chair of both the B.C. Summer and Winter Games as well as Sport B.C., and has been a B.C. mission staff member for seven Canada Games. He lives in Richmond, B.C.

Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and a civil engineering grad of the U of Saskatchewan, Jack Poole’s athletic ambitions were frustrated when injuries ended a potential hockey career. He did enjoy success at provincial championship level in another winter sport – curling.

Poole’s business accomplishments are impressive. The founding chair of the Vancouver Molson Indy, he is also co-founder of the Daon Development Corporation and chair of Concert Properties. Owner of private businesses in Canada and the U.S., his corporate connections and organizing skills were invaluable in putting Vancouver’s successful bid together.