Athlete medal presentations return to Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Celebration Plaza



    WHISTLER, BC, April 7 /CNW/ - Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Celebration
Plaza will host athlete medal presentations during the 2010 Olympic Winter
Games. The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and the Vancouver Organizing
Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), today
confirmed that after an intensive and successful budget review, medal
presentations for the Whistler-based events will take place at Whistler
Olympic and Paralympic Celebration Plaza (WCP), along with nightly concerts.
    During budget reviews in late December 2008, against the backdrop of
economic uncertainty, it was recommended the medal presentations take place at
the sport venues rather than at WCP to help create a more efficient Games-time
operating plan and streamline the Games operating budget.
    However, based on a shared commitment to producing the best possible
experience for athletes, spectators, broadcasters and the Whistler community,
and with the assistance of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), VANOC
and the RMOW worked together to find efficiencies, making it possible to
return the medal presentations to WCP.
    Changes to the venue scope include a more compact broadcast and power
infrastructure, increased efficiencies to venue operations and staffing and
reductions in the overall build-out of the venue. These changes will help
minimize budget implications and workforce requirements in addition to
increasing the synergies with the RMOW legacy plans for the site.
    The revised $12.8 million Whistler Celebration Sites program, including
medal presentations at the plaza site, now includes:

    
    -   $6.8 million from VANOC.
    -   $5.0 million from the Government of Canada
    -   $1.0 million from the RMOW
    

    The International Olympic Committee expressed its support for this
decision. "We are delighted that VANOC and the RMOW have found a way to
present the medals at Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Celebration Plaza," said
IOC Coordination Commission Chairman René Fasel. "The daily achievements of
the athletes will undoubtedly only be matched by the enthusiasm of the
spectators and the Whistler community, celebrating with them at the Plaza."
    VANOC executive vice president of services and operations Terry Wright
remarked on the outcome: "This decision is a great example of the tremendous
partnership we share with the RMOW. With a shared passion to achieve the best
possible outcome, our teams worked together to review the plan, revise the
budgets and achieve great results that will benefit athletes and spectators
alike. The medals presentations will be stunning in the spectacular setting of
Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Celebration Plaza."
    The return of the medal presentations to WCP ensures the Olympic
broadcasters will televise the nightly medals ceremonies, and provides greater
profile to all the programming presented at the site.
    "We are very pleased to have the medals ceremonies return to Whistler
Olympic and Paralympic Celebration Plaza," said Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed. "I
expect the response in Whistler will be very positive. We are looking forward
to welcoming the world, including the millions of television viewers from
across Canada and around the globe".
    Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Celebration Plaza will be the centerpiece
of the Whistler Celebration Sites program - a unique Whistler experience
created in partnership with the Government of Canada, Whistler Arts Council,
RMOW and VANOC.
    "The Whistler region's residents and visitors will now have the chance to
share in the excitement surrounding the medal ceremonies as part of the
Vancouver 2010 Winter Games," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State
(Sport). "Our Government is pleased to support this initiative, which allows
people to have first-hand Games experiences."
    During the Games, Whistler Village will be an exciting network of
integrated performance sites, stages and screens. Visitors will experience an
incredible range of entertainment including memorable performances across the
full spectrum of creativity. Musicians, dancers, and artists of many genres,
as well as exhibitions and interactive celebrations for all ages will engage
and entertain throughout each day and well into the evening. In addition, WCP
will host the closing ceremony for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

    About RMOW

    The RMOW is the local government in Whistler governed by an elected
Council, administered by an executive team, and supported by approximately 360
staff on behalf of 10,000 residents and 2 million annual visitors. In 1999,
the RMOW partnered with the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, the
City of Vancouver, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Canadian Paralympic
Committee in a successful bid to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games. Whistler is proud to be Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Winter Games.
Visit www.whistler.ca for more information.





For further information:

For further information: VANOC Communications, John French, (604)
402-2092; RMOW Communications, Jessica Delaney, (604) 935-8104, (604) 935-4711
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VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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