Legacy Governance – Richmond

Richmond Olympic Oval 

  • Olympic City: Richmond
  • Country: Canada
  • Edition of the Games: 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
Since 2008
@Free Vector Maps

How Legacy Governance Started In Richmond

In 2008, two years before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, the opening of the Richmond Olympic Oval was celebrated. That same year, the Oval was incorporated as a municipal corporation. Immediately after the Games, the Oval hosted the Wheelchair Rugby World Championship. It has since been host to many subsequent editions of this event. Residents and visitors in Richmond, Canada, continue to benefit from the city’s decision to host a portion of the Winter Olympics 2010. Sports managers have ensured that facilities and programmes are accessible to the entire community.

How does a city with a population of around 223,000 manage to annually stage international and national sporting competitions, in addition to more than 100 community events? In recent years, Richmond, in British Columbia, has hosted a long list of high-profile contests such as the World Martial Arts Games, the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, and the Fencing World Cup.

During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the city was the home of long track speed skating and is proud of the fact that the venue, the Richmond Olympic Oval, now serves the community on a daily basis. Thanks to its great modularity, the Oval has over 6,000 members who use its fitness, wellness and sport facilities for activities including basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, group fitness, yoga, table tennis, and more.

In addition, the Oval has over 2,400 m2 of strength training and workout space, a 17-metre climbing wall complete with lead, speed and bouldering, two indoor hockey rinks, and is home to the Richmond Olympic Experience, an engaging  interactive high-tech Olympic Museum. Thanks in part to the many opportunities offered at the Oval, Richmond attracted 8 million visitors in 2019 – 600,000 more than in 2015.


“Sport, health, wellness and entertainment—all under one roof” is the motto of the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The Oval project vision is to be “an outstanding centre of excellence for sports and wellness at the heart of an exciting urban waterfront.”

Legacy is…

To use the Olympic opportunity as a catalyst for raising the City to international stature, and creating new social and economic capital that significantly enriches Richmond’s quality of life. The Oval itself has endorsed the role of an agora around which a new city centre is being developed.

What’s next?

Subsequent steps include:

  • Promote the Community Wellness Strategy.
  • Continue to strengthen commitment to the community for the next ten years.
  • Continue to provide a training and competition facility for high performance athletes.


Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

The Oval is a one-stop shop for all ages and skill levels, from members of the community looking to try an activity for the first time to athletes representing the country on an international stage.

The Oval’s activities are integrated within the City’s policy with the aim of positioning Richmond as the best place for residents to play and achieve their highest potential, while also being a model of a Sport For Life community for Canada and the world. Richmond works towards integrating the delivery of recreation, school physical education and athletics, community sport, and regional health, to enable all citizens to reach their full potential within the framework of physical literacy, enhanced sport achievement and active for life.

Richmond became involved with the Active Well-being Initiative (AWI) as a pilot city because it wanted to connect with other cities, and to share its experiences as a place that is making the most of its Olympic legacy. In Richmond, there is a culture of activity, sport and wellness that is being served in the Oval and across the whole community. In November 2018, the city was designated as one of the world’s first Global Active Cities. The designation honours cities which have worked hard to offer all their residents the opportunity to have active and healthy lifestyles and to improve their well-being. As Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says, “Richmond has long been known as one of Canada’s healthiest cities. We continue to work hard to help our citizens lead healthy, active lives through a wide variety of strategies including our recently approved Community Wellness Strategy, which was developed in concert with numerous partners. This tremendous global honour will help further energise our efforts to make sure all Richmond residents enjoy a great quality of life.”

Promote the city by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Mouvement

Richmond increased its visibility by being identified as an official Olympic site for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. In addition to its role as an indispensable place for sport and entertainment for the locals, the Oval is also a world-class facility hosting national and international events and the training of elite athletes. The Olympic Games contributed to locating Richmond on the world map as a host city for big events.

The Richmond Olympic Experience (ROX) contributes to the promotion of the city’s Olympic history and links past, present and future.

In the words of CEO George Duncan, “The Richmond Olympic Oval’s history is entrenched in sport excellence. From its foundation as a host venue for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, the Olympic spirit is encapsulated in every aspect of the operations at the Oval. From its evolution as a long track speedskating venue to a multi-use sport and culture destination, a world-class standard was established in the form of legacy goals that the Oval continues to work towards today.”


Figures speak for themselves. The 2019 Report shows the following results:

  • 1 million visits
  • 60,943 Group Fitness visits (+25 % from 2018)
  • 53,655 High Performance Training Sessions (+3%)
  • 1,876 Learn to Skate registrations (+24%)
  • 2,735 Summer Camps registrations (17%)
  • 35,572 visits to the Richmond Olympic Experience (3%)
  • 63 events hosted (+13%)
  • Constant increase in social media followers & web visits

Key Challenges

Competing environment

The Corporation operates in a highly competitive sport and fitness market which offers personal training, group fitness classes, high performance training, yoga, wellness, weight training and sport-specific training and facilities. The Corporation also hosts many local and national events and has various open spaces and rooms which are available for rent to the public. In addition, the Corporation also operates an Olympic museum and a retail store as part of the overall services offered to the public. The challenge is to attract both local users and high-level events and athletes in the same venue.

Key learnings and recommendations

Setting clear legacy goals

The Corporation adopted a set of five objectives in order to address its obligations to the City under the Operating Agreement and the funding requirements of the 2010 Games Operating Trust (“GOT”). To continue to build on its strong Olympic legacy, the Corporation focuses on:

  • Establishing positive brand awareness.
  • Becoming valued by the community and its employees.
  • Becoming the desired location for community sport, health and fitness.
  • Supporting high-performance sports.
  • Operating in a financially sustainable manner.

Every year, the annual report is an occasion to look back and assess the achievement of these objectives.

Defining ambitious operating objectives

Objectives were fixed in a 2008 agreement between the City and the Corporation and have since been adhered to.

  • The Oval will provide facilities, programs and services for quality sport, fitness, recreational uses and wellness services for the Richmond community, neighbouring communities and the general public.
  • The Oval will be developed, used and promoted as a training and competition facility for high performance sport.
  • The Oval will provide facilities for cultural, community and entertainment events. The Oval will provide ancillary commercial, retail, health and wellness services intended to enhance its use in respect to the activities set out above.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:



Richmond Olympic Oval Annual reports: https://richmondoval.ca/about-us/annual-reports/

Richmond Olympic Experience

Richmond Olympic Experience

@Richmond Olympic Experience
  • Olympic City: Richmond
  • Country: Canada
  • Edition of the Games: 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games
Permanent since 2015
Locals & Visitors

Description of the Project

The Richmond Olympic Experience (ROX) is the first member of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Museums Network to be located in North America.

The ROX was conceptualised to be part of the permanent infrastructure legacy of the City of Richmond’s participation in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. The City desired to have a first world museum that showcases the Olympic artefacts, history, experiences and tells the story of Olympism. The City worked alongside the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Olympic Museum based in Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, to create a unique Olympic experience that is engaging and imaginative for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Under the impulse from the City, the ROX has been built in a modernised and innovative way. The focus was to create an atmosphere where the visitors would live an extraordinary experience. The visitors are really immersed in a new world that promotes sports and the Olympic Values.

The ROX offers a wide range of activities through high-tech sport simulators that give the opportunity to the visitors to be introduced to new sports and to take part in challenges to test themselves. They can then compare their results with the best athletes worldwide.

The ROX was created as part of Richmond’s overall legacy plan for the Olympic Games. It is located at the Richmond’s Olympic Oval, which is a sport venue where people can practice a wide range of sports and part of the legacy plan of the Games. The whole area and the community benefits hugely from this programme and are incited to practice more and be more involved in sports.

Event organisers such as city authorities, local sports clubs and societies and even private interests can obtain access once their event has been approved. They can then use the tool to recruit volunteers, searching and filtering based on their relevant criteria, and then to communicate with these volunteers when performing their initial outreach. When it comes to delivering the event in question, the software allows the event organiser to manage the volunteers between the various event sites and activities, tracking their hours and monitoring their assignments to optimise the event delivery.

Volunteers can access the programme to create a profile for themselves and submit their own relevant information as they see fit. Preferences such as the type and duration of event, the sport in question and seasonal availability are all centrally recorded and stored on the iCanHelp platform. The software maximises the probability that the individual is matched to the most suitable role based on their personal data and preferences.

The programme was initially introduced to develop a regulated and streamlined volunteer system for the City of Richmond as part of its contribution to the organisation of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The system has remained in place as part of the legacy for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Over 9,000 volunteers are registered on the database and this has contributed to the successful staging of numerous sporting events in the years since the Vancouver Games.


Celebrate Olympism and its values

The objective of the City behind the creation of the Richmond Olympic Experience was to bring a cultural experience to the Richmond Oval as part of the overall legacy plan. It adds an element of joy and enthusiasm to the whole project and, at the same time, it is a physical remind to the citizens of how the City was involved in the Olympic Games. The City really wanted to create an interactive and dynamic experience to not only promote the Olympic Values but also allow visitors to experience what it is like to achieve the Olympic dream.

Promote the City by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Movement

The city of Richmond sees the creation of the ROX as a great opportunity to promote the City on the national as well as the international level. The Richmond Olympic Experience can become a significant tourism attraction. This will support the City’s tourism and economic development objectives, while adding fun to their cultural landscape for residents and visitors.




The museum opened its doors in November 2015 and evaluation is therefore still in its early stages.

However, the committee intends to evaluate the success of the museum based on both qualitative and quantitative levels, including analysis of attendance and the yearly budget but also through feedback from the visitors.


Key Challenges


Managing the consultants

The project turned out to be very successful and ended up being bigger than originally planned. More funding was allocated to the project and as a result, external consultants started to bring their own ideas and vision into the programme. At times, it was difficult for the City’s employees to manage everything and to find professional yet string ways of ensuring that the project stayed on track with what the City intended to do from the beginning.


Managing the scope

The Olympic spirit hit the city of Richmond and an unexpected increase of financial support was given by sponsors and donors. The project grew into being a much bigger project than what was initially conceptualised as it was realised that Richmond had the opportunity to build a one of a kind modernised museum in the City. The committee had to deal with an increased number of stakeholders coming up with new ideas and they, while being open to new and creatives ideas, had to manage the scope of the project so that it could be delivered at the expected time and would achieve the core objectives that were set out by the City in the conceptualisation stage.


Key Learnings & Recommendations


Plan the project thoroughly

The committee spent the first year on research, planning and designing the project. It proved very useful as it gave the employees a clear vision about what they wanted to achieve with this project. This clear vision turned out to be the key as the project grew to a much bigger product than what was initially planned. The committee managed to stay focused on the initial overall objectives and they have not been carried away from it.

Involve your own people

The thoughtful planning of the project allowed the City to choose the right people with the adequate competencies to be part of the project team. Having people from the City proved to be useful as they share the same vision and approach to the project. It is good for the City as the project team created strong relationships with important stakeholders that can be useful in the long term. It also ensures that the City’s core objectives are achieved and that the project is delivered on time.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links: