International Skating Union (ISU) praises event organizers
VANCOUVER, Oct. 26 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) successfully concluded its
operational testing today at the official Sport Event for short track speed
skating, which took place from October 24 to 26 at the Pacific Coliseum in
Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). VANOC staff tested field of play and venue
operations over the course of three days of training followed by three days of
"All week has been incredible," said Andy Gabel, International Skating
Union (ISU) short track speed skating technical committee chair. "The
Organizing Committee is doing a wonderful job. Everything has been well
organized, the volunteers are very friendly and conditions in the building are
ideal. This is a great chance for the organizers to see what works for the
athletes, for the fans, for the building and, from what I've seen so far,
everything is right on track."
Of particular note was the testing of ice and surrounding areas,
boardless padding system and the field of play for athletes. Details on these
three areas, and eight others, follow.
Field of Play: Key Learnings
Ice and Surrounding Areas
Short track speed skating ice requires a thickness of 1 to 1.25 inches,
compared to figure skating where the ice is 1.5 to 2 inches thick. As the
Pacific Coliseum will host both short track speed skating and figure skating
events at alternating times, there will be approximately 30 ice transitions,
taking 15 minutes, followed by a minimum of one hour for icemakers to meet ice
"We learned from the athletes that we have some more work to do to find
the optimum balance between hard and softer ice which short track and figure
skating require respectively," said Tim Gayda, VANOC vice president, sport.
"We have some of the best ice meisters in the world and they will continue to
refine their work to ensure that both short track and figure skating have
world-class conditions at Games time."
"The building conditions at the Coliseum were ideal. The upgraded
dehumidification system worked well and the temperature levels were perfect,"
said Kameron Kiland, ice meister for short track speed skating and figure
Three transitions were tested this week to simulate the numerous
changeovers that will take place at Games time.
"We were very pleased with how our team managed the transitions," said
Bryce Holbech, manager, short track speed skating at VANOC. "We were ahead of
schedule on the changeover and completed the transition in approximately nine
minutes each time. We had a team of 16 for this week; at Games time we will
have 24, due to the increased complexity."
"The ice and pads here have been great and made a huge difference," said
Kimberly Derrick, a member of the US team who competed at the Torino 2006
Olympic Winter Games. "You just don't hold back as much when you know that if
you do fall, there's something cushioned to stop you."
Mixed Zone (media interview area)
On- and off-ice procedures for skaters were simulated to ensure efficient
mixed zone practices, ice entry/exit and travel to and from the dressing
"This is the third time we've skated in this venue," said Charles Hamelin
of Team Canada, who picked up gold in the men's 1,000-metre final on Saturday.
"We know our way around now and this helps you to stay focused on your race.
The whole weekend has been great."
Timing and Scoring
The event timing and scoring system successfully recorded results with no
delays or interruptions. The timing deck - built by apprentice students from
the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop - was well received by the ISU.
VANOC medical staff and volunteers, which included six doctors and 10
therapists, benefited from the professional knowledge of the team therapists
and medical personnel in attendance who provided valuable feedback on
equipment, skates and suits.
Three full-time VANOC employees and 12 volunteers from across Canada
conducted 14 urine and blood tests on behalf of the ISU on both randomly
chosen and medal-winning athletes. In conjunction with the ISU, VANOC's
anti-doping department implemented its athlete education and outreach program
at the opening banquet.
"This was a great opportunity for us to learn from the ISU," said Jeremy
Luke, VANOC's director, anti-doping. "It confirmed our planning to date in
testing and outreach and we are confident that we're on track to deliver a
state-of-the-art anti-doping program in 2010."
Venue Operations: Key Learnings
Over 1,500 full radio conversations were tracked on six monitored talk
group channels for the three competition days. Based on this event,
recommendations for future Sport Events and Games time are: to include a
live-feed television at the Venue Communications Centre (VCC) to monitor
incidents should they occur on-ice; consistent terminology for more efficient
communication given the number of nationalities and accents within the
workforce; and better sound-barrier options for when the VCC is located near
the field of play for short track and figure skating.
A dedicated workforce of 260 (paid and volunteer) staffed approximately
1,000 shifts from October 21 to 26. This workforce proved critical to the
successful staging of the event and will help the VANOC venue teams identify
Games-time roles and responsibilities.
"I had the time of my life," said volunteer Marjorie Balderson. "It was
truly an honour meeting and working with such a fantastic team, and coming
away with so many new friends!"
Approximately 30 deliveries took place successfully between October 21 to
26, including food and beverage, sport production equipment, medical supplies
and flowers for the awards ceremonies.
The Venue Media Centre contained 50 workstations with full technology
support. With 150 Canadian and international media accredited for the event,
VANOC Press Operations was able to review movement between the Venue Media
Centre and media tribunes to plan for ideal working conditions in 2010.
Short track speed skating was the first of 17 Sport Events that will take
place in the 2008-09 winter season to test operational readiness in advance of
the Games. The first Sport Event was the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, which
took place in February 2008.
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 2010 Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.
For further information:
For further information: John Gibson, VANOC Communications, (778)