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World Police & Fire Games Wraps With Triumphs and Tragedy

by Karen Goff — July 6, 2015 at 11:00 am 3,244 30 Comments

The 2015 World Police & Fire Games wrapped more than a week of competition and camaraderie in Fairfax County with a half marathon and a closing ceremony Sunday at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

Since June 26, athletes from more than 50 countries ran and swam, grappled and rowed, shot and spiked here. They also competed for law enforcement-specific titles such as honor guard and ultimate firefighter.

The games, which cost about $20 million to put on, were expected to pump more than $50 million into the Fairfax County economy.

In Reston, site of the Athletes Village, the games went off without incident. The surface parking lot turned into a daily beer garden, silent disco and concert venue, where NYPD cops played darts with Scandinavian firefighters and personnel from across the globe traded patches and lifted a pints.

Over the holiday weekend, athletes engaged in a raucous wrist wrestling competition in the pavilion and indoor rowing at the Hyatt Regency Reston.

Reston was also the site of Sunday’s final competition, the half marathon. See how the runners finished on this WPFG results page. Law enforcement officials carried the Games’ torch in the half marathon’s final steps. The torch has now been passed to Montreal, site of the 2017 Games.

Reston was also the site where hundreds of visitors and athletes paid tribute to Brazilian police inspector Carlos Silva, who died from injuries suffered in a cycling race accident.

Silva, 48, and the other cyclists (one American, the other Canadian) were involved in a chain reaction accident after a tire blowout on a downhill stretch of a 36-mile course at Prince William Forest Park.

The other two cyclists, who have not been identified, were critically injured.

On Friday night, the Reston Town Center Pavilion was turned into a makeshift chapel, where a public memorial service was held for Silva. All weekend long, visitors and athletes left flowers, candles and police patches near the Mercury Fountain in Silva’s honor.

Also on Friday, Silva, was awarded a posthumous gold medal in the triathlon. Silva had been scheduled to compete in the triathlon in Reston. His teammates accepted the medal on his behalf.

The World Police & Fire Games has set up a Go Fund Me page to help all three families affected by the bike accident.

“The athletes are not sponsored and travel at their own expense,” reads the Go Fund Me page. The families of these athletes will endur extensive costs to come to our area in order to be with their loved ones. In addition, Inspector Carlos Silva of Brazil who was killed leaves behind a daughter.”

Officials said 100 percent of the money raised will be equally divided among the three families. The two injured cyclists remain at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

  • Maile Contacht

    It was unfortunate to see the RTC used for a private function over the holiday. It was guarded and armed like a war zone in a terrorist funded country. Tax payer funded occupation functions SHOULD NOT disrupt the lives of tax payers.

    • Withheld

      Perhaps travel more. Your statement about reston being a “war zone in a terror funded country” seems way off. I was actually surprised how little security there was given the fact that we host guests that are under surveillance and direct threat of hostile forces at all times. So based on your opinion we should probably not host the games at all. I think that is wrong, but that’s just me.

      • Maile Contacht

        I’m happy to reply. I have lived all over the US. I have traveled internationally. That’s what it reminded me of, the last time I was in Mexico. I am not interested in arguing, I just wanted to make the point as a Reston resident that it’s too bad it wasn’t the normal, fun Reston Town Center. I walk through the area daily, but during the event, very few of the ‘participants’ in their Yukons and trucks even stopped at crosswalks and often sat at red lights covering the cross walks which is for pedestrians. Oh wait, that’s what they also do when in their patrol cars and other tax funded vehicles. Behavior as usual for them.

        • Withheld

          I was happy to see many nations compete and although a few inconveniences were encountered overall I thought it was a great success and everyone I saw had smiles on their faces. That said I don’t go to the RTC and I don’t rely on public infrastructure nearly as much as other people do. Sorry that things didn’t work out for you tho, hope the 4est of the week goes smoother.

          • Mike M

            So, you don’t go to the Town Center? But you know Maile’s description of what Maile saw is all wrong? Fascinating.

            I concur with her assessment in that there was a whole lot of swagger and equipment, and I am not sure it was in the interest of those paying for it.

          • Withheld

            No I was lucky to watch another event, many events were closed to the public 20th restricted access. Regardless, except for police presence I didn’t see any tax dollars at work. But police would be required for all events, even a local marathon. In fact, very surprising at the triathlon check in I saw one one fcpd officer – I would have expected fifty in full gear.

          • Mike M

            Fifty? In full gear? For one event? For what? Multiply that times the major events and subtract from the force full strength. You might have a negative number.

          • J

            Wow, you all are just full of negativity! These games were about camaraderie and those who put themselves in the midst of danger on a regular basis, as you are probably complaining & hiding behind your computer on your little tirades on a daily basis. This is their way to unwind from very stressful jobs and compete in a healthy manner. And, it is unfortunate someone loss their life. You should be ashamed of yourselves, try showing some hospitality for one, compassion and just plain gratitude for another.

          • SofaKing

            gee thank you, finally a voice of reason… That’s all I need to say.

          • Mike M

            No shame in expressing my opion. None. It’s my way of “unwinding.”
            My posts aren’t always negative. My opinion is we spend too much on police and security.
            I don’t hide from anything, J. You seem to have the excess swagger of a cop or firefighter.

          • RTC Resident

            In my opinion, I didn’t think the activity around Town Center was any different from any other weekend activity (races, festivals, etc) that might shut down a street in the area (which is almost every weekend in the summer there). The Games did not prevent people from visiting stores/restaurants/etc. The patrol cars and “participants in their Yukons” were there either on duty or simply to support their comrades. Remember – quite a few of the fire personnel/EMTs in Ffx Co are volunteers anyway.

          • Greg

            Thought Fairfax County did away with most of the volunteer firefighters in the 1990s after their own fire station (#14) burned down?

    • Mike M

      I agree 100%.

      Your post reminded me of one night a few years ago. I was walking up Democracy when a huge limo pulled up. Arab-looking security officials popped out of a trailing vehicle and physically blocked pedestrians while their vehicles blocked Democracy. A few people were escorted out of the vehicles some were women in burqa-like garb. It was all over in about a minute. When I realized what was going on I had steam coming out my ears.

      To your point. We spend too much on security and have given up our rights, and in some cases, I think, sovereignty. Perfect security is unattainable.We are now paying through the nose for severely diminished returns. If we were serious about terrorism we would start with direct and unrelenting pressure on Saudi Arabia.

      If you saw the Navy Yard fiasco last week, you might be relived that no one was shot by the army of storm troopers that surged in search of phantoms. You might ask yourself who pays for all those guys when they aren’t chasing ghosts? I ask whether the burgeoning post-9-11 security apparatus is good for me or bad – in the net. I think it’s negative.

      • dude

        dude, chill out, try not to be such a gringo racist, you’re giving the rest of us a bad name

    • qwerty

      Wow, crazy town comment! P.S. RTC is privately owned and run, it’s not a county property. not that that even matters.

      • Mike M

        Does RTC own the police? Did they pay for the police?

    • Greg

      It was a public function on private (RTC) property.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    Looks like both Hong Kong Police and Mexican Federal Police came with very strong teams. Also some good Russian talent. Fairfax did ok I think, on the ladies side only. Maybe the force should get out of their cars and helicopters and use the bike more often????

    • John Higgins

      And perhaps some of us should get out from behind our computes a bit more. Fairfax Fire & Rescue and FCPD wee represented in virtually every event capturing hundreds of medals. Yes, their brothers and sisters from Hong Kong and Mexico did well, a combined total of 151 medals. By comparison, US teams brought home 1,777 medals. A large number of those never left Fairfax.

  • MJay

    Did the event meet expectations and pump $50 million into Fairfax County?

    • Karen Goff

      That info will not be available for a while.

      • MJay

        Thank you. Will be interested to see how it all shook out.

    • Greg

      i met two from the Brazilian team shopping at Big Lots. They spent a few dollars at the shop, but because it took forever for them to pay for their stuff (they really struggled and disagreed with the concept of tax being added to the posted prices), at least five other customers abandoned their carts and left without buying anything. And, of course, we haven’t spent a penny at Reston Town Center for the duration of the event.

      • Withheld

        You re hilarious. Nobody asked for transactions to be put under a microscope and nobody expected a story with that much depth and granularity. Based on demand from the audience I think we are looking at aggregation. Please share, if horizon becomes avail. Thanks and thanks

      • Emmanuel Goldstein

        I too avoided RTC during the time of the event. And it’s not uncommon to go there once or twice a week to eat or shop.

    • Withheld

      I think the 50 million revenue windfall will be easily met, just think of the two injured cyclists at the hospital. That’s at least 2 cool millions right there!!!

    • Scott H

      It will be doubtful. The estimates for these sorts of thngs are always overblown, pie in the sky estimates that politicians and supporters use to sell it. The Olympics are always a loser for the cities that host the games. Use a little common sense here on these police and fire games. It is estimated that it cost $20M to put on. Someone please do a little back of napkin math and explain how you get to $20M in economic activity, let alone 50M.

  • thebratwurstking

    it’s been an honor and pleasure to having been part of the 2015 World Police & Fire Games #fairfax2015 feeding and putting smiles on countless everyday heroes from around the globe. this will be an everlasting memory for our family

    http://youtu.be/BC_JO_QKTqU

  • RTC Resident

    To all of you who posted about RTC being taken over during the event… I live in RTC and was admittedly apprehensive about the Games making life here over the last ten days unbearable. To my pleasant surprise, I found very little disruption. Went to restaurants as usual (despite popular opinion, the RTC restaurants were NOT booked solid with athletes, with the exceptions of Chipotle and Vapiano, which were the only two places I ever saw large crowds of athletes). In the evening, the athletes/spectators preferred to be up by the pavilion or over in the champions’ village (not sure how happy the RTC restaurants were about that, since I’m sure they were promised lots of business, but from the athletes I spoke with, many were staying throughout Ffx and/or Loudoun Counties , so chances are those places saw an increase in the evenings). There were a few more security personnel patrolling – usually on foot or on bicycle – but it certainly didn’t dissuade me from going about my daily routines, walking the dog, etc.

    Do I think the $50M estimate was overblown? Yes – especially since I don’t believe they got the attendance they were anticipating (original predictions I heard were something around 12K athletes plus spectators/family/friends. I believe the end total was more like 10K INCLUDING those spectators). But – for those looking for economic impact numbers – it’s not like the Games writes Fairfax Co a check at the end. Where those #s come from is local economic impact – all of those attendees stayed in hotels around the area (many for 10 days), rented cars, ate at restaurants, shopped in RTC or Tysons, etc. What’s more – it’s highly possible some of those attendees may want to come back to the region to explore a little more at a future date.

    I was really concerned about the Games being a royal PITA beforehand, but it ended up being very well-done and not disruptive to the community at all. In fact, it was kind of fun to walk up around the pavilion in the evening to see the concerts, medaling ceremonies, etc. An interesting change of pace.

  • Greendayer

    I live in the RTC and it was busy, but not different from many other weekends there.. Because there is only one hotel in the Town Center, most participants stayed outside of the RTC. The atmosphere was lively and interesting. I’m sure it introduced Reston to a number of people who never heard of it. As to the financial impact, much conjecture and few facts. But, the games were well attended and were certainly a success, despite the tragedy that occurred at one of the bike races.

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