Testing successfully completed at Nordic combined and cross-country Sport Events; Approximately 7500 spectators over three days enjoyed preview of 2010 Winter Games Nordic events



    VANCOUVER, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) successfully completed its
operational testing today at the Nordic combined and cross-country Sport
Events at Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park, which ran from January 16 to 18.
VANOC staff tested field of play, Games-time operations and trained potential
Games-time volunteers over the course of two training days and three
competition days. The venue will also host the ski jumping Sport Event from
January 23 to 25.
    "We have had very positive feedback from both the FIS cross-country and
Nordic combined management teams that are here to assist us," said Tim Gayda,
VANOC vice president, sport. "Though we had challenging weather the week prior
to the events, we would have liked to have been pushed a little harder with
the weather this week so that our workforce could test field-of-play
operations with more snow - but the sunshine has certainly resulted in a
spectacular event for both competitors and spectators."
    This weekend's World Cup competitions are part of the International Ski
Federation's (FIS) 2008-09 World Cup season and featured Vancouver 2010
Olympic Winter Games medal hopefuls, representing a total of 21 countries.
Broadcast live to Europe, an estimated 20 million viewers tuned in daily for
the events while thousands of fans made their way to Whistler
Olympic/Paralympic Park to cheer on the world's best cross-country and Nordic
combined athletes.
    "This weekend has been awesome," said Sara Renner, who finished sixth at
the women's World Cup pursuit race on Saturday. "It was great to see all of
the Canadians out there lining the course. They were all screaming the right
things and helped me along today."
    American Nordic combined Olympic silver medallist Bill Demong was also
pleased with the course and facility. "There's no such thing as an easy
course," said Demong. "This course has a lot of transitions which makes it an
exciting place to race."
    Spectator response was highly favourable to sport production elements
that included bilingual, live colour commentary by Canadian summer (cycling)
and winter (cross-country skiing) Olympian Pierre Harvey, European sport
announcer Kjell Erik Christensen, and Canadian Olympian and 2006 cross-country
gold medallist, Chandra Crawford.
    Of particular note for VANOC's testing were pre-event snow removal
procedures due to the heavy snowfall, medical ski patrollers on the field of
play, and running events simultaneously on the cross-country skiing and ski
jumping venues. Other testing included:

    Field of Play

    Grooming and hill preparation were tested at the large hill ski jump
area. Wind data from the landing hill was continually examined, as well as the
operational flexibility to adjust to the weather conditions and the
requirements from the FIS management team.
    "The course is as we want it," said Vegard Ulvang, FIS chairman of the
cross-country committee, and former cross-country Olympic and world champion.
"It has a variety of terrain, and we are pleased to see the width of the
course that allows for both traditional classic skiing as well as the newer
discipline of skate skiing. Aside from some minor modifications, we will not
be asking for any changes at Games time."

    Press Operations/Venue Media Centre
    The Venue Media Centre (VMC) team serviced some 130 local, national and
international press and photographers. Positive feedback was received from the
international press regarding the VMC, the competition mixed zones and photo
positions. Press and photographer feedback regarding access to and movement
within the mixed zones, and photo positions and interaction with broadcast
media in these areas will be incorporated into planning for 2010.

    Timing and Scoring
    All timing and scoring systems were on time, with no issues. The
integration of timing and scoring results with the Olympic Broadcast Services'
television graphic systems (athlete names and results, local weather and other
graphic inlays) was successful. The transition of data, equipment and staff
between the ski jump and cross-country skiing venues during the Nordic
combined competition was seamless.

    Communications

    Technology
    Technology played a significant role in the competition this weekend
through the first-time testing of a number of new services including a
scanning check-in system for workforce and the connecting of the venue data
centre's information to the "Olympic backbone", a secure, private 10G fibre
network that connects competition venues to VANOC's headquarters. The event
also made use of 110 cell phones and established over 200 temporary internet
connections for workforce and officials and ensured broadcast connections.

    Medical Services
    The 16-person Medical Services team replicated Games-time field-of-play
medical service levels with medical personnel ski patrollers acting as first
responders. No incidents or traumas requiring medical attention occurred.
Access routes for medical snowmobiles at the ski jumping venue will be
re-examined and changed for 2010 allowing for quicker response times for
snowmobiles in getting around the broadcast crane.

    Anti-Doping
    Five full-time VANOC employees and 40 volunteers from across Canada
conducted 34 urine tests and 17 blood tests, on behalf of the FIS, on both
randomly chosen and medal-winning athletes. VANOC also worked with the FIS to
showcase its athlete outreach booth designed to educate and inform athletes
about anti-doping rules and procedures.

    Venue Operations

    Venue Management
    The Venue and Event Management team were tested in their overall
coordination and team communication roles, as well as in their ability to
react and respond to any operational challenges that occurred. For example,
though not being tested at the Olympic level, the Venue team managed larger
than anticipated spectator numbers and traffic.

    Overlay
    The Installation of temporary facilities, similar to what will be used
for the 2010 Winter Games, were heavily tested due to adverse weather during
the pre-event period. Cabling, snow clearing and construction crews were able
to meet the demands of daily heavy snowfall during the main installation days
leading up to the Sport Event.

    Communications
    The Venue Communications Centre provided a central point of contact
between functional areas with over 250 radios on 22 different channels. With
six key channels covering front-of-house operations, back-of-house operations,
medical services, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and technology being
monitored, over 1,200 radio conversations were recorded during the
competition.

    Workforce

    A workforce of approximately 750 (600 volunteers and 150 VANOC staff)
took part with many of those teams returning next weekend for the FIS Ski
Jumping World Cup. The volunteer workforce included over 200 volunteers from
outside of British Columbia who brought extensive Nordic event experience.
From January 12 to the conclusion of the two World Cup events, more than 2,000
shifts were completed by Workforce.
    The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, FIS Cross-Country World Cup and FIS
Ski Jumping World Cup were the first Sport Events of the 2009 season. The
first Sport Event was the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup held last February at
Whistler Creekside.
    For more information on the Nordic World Cups this month, visit
www.nordicfestival2009.com.
    For more information on the remaining Sport Events taking place from
February to September 2009, including how to purchase tickets, visit
www.vancouver2010.com.

    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 2010 Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.





For further information:

For further information: John Gibson, VANOC Communications, (604)
403-1585, john_gibson@vancouver2010.com; Robin Russell, VANOC Communications,
(604) 966-2550, robin_russell@vancouver2010.com

Organization Profile

VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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