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Vancouver riots show darker side of feel-good host city of 2010 Winter Olympics

June 16, 2011 |  9:55 am

Riot_640 Last winter the world watched with pride as Vancouver, Canada, celebrated into the night after the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics, just hours after an already successful Games for Canada culminated in a dramatic gold-medal victory over the U.S. in the national sport of hockey.

Wednesday night the world watched the Vancouver riots in horror following the Canucks' loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

PHOTOS:  Hockey riot in Vancouver

Vancouver was such a feel-good story following the Winter Olympics. Here's how Chicago Tribune writer Philip Hersh described the citizens following the closing ceremonies:

One cannot overlook the passion and general goodwill of the people who both put on the Games and celebrated them until all hours in a city that never before had allowed itself such continuous, unrestrained fun.

This is how the Associated Press described the scene in the same city after Wednesday night's loss:

Angry, drunken fans ran wild after the Vancouver Canucks' 4-0 loss to Boston in the decisive Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. Later, looters smashed windows and ran inside department stores.

Here's what International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge had to say following the Olympics:

What will stand out is the communion between the citizens and Games -- the way they participated on the streets, the unique atmosphere we have experienced.

And here's what Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said about Wednesday night's incidents:

We have a small number of hooligans on the streets of Vancouver causing problems. It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver. … We have had an extraordinary run in the playoff, great celebration. What's happened tonight is despicable.

Quite a big difference -- as big as the difference between winning and losing.


Photos: Stanley Cup finals, Game 7

Video: Bruins win first Stanley Cup in 39 years

-- Chuck Schilken

Top photo: Vancouver Canucks hockey fans take part in a riot in downtown Vancouver after the Canucks' 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. Ryan Remiorz / Associated Press / The Canadian Press