VANCOUVER, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - At the end of its seventh visit to Vancouver,
the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s Coordination Commission confirmed
that the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC) continues to be on the
right track to host top quality Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in
February 2010. The Commission was particularly pleased to see that VANOC's
participation in the IOC's Beijing 2008 Observer's Programme had had a
positive impact on its planning and that the Games legacy remains a top
priority for the next Olympic Games organisers.
Commenting on the visit, IOC Coordination Commission Chairman René Fasel
said, "With the Beijing Games now over, it is Vancouver 2010's turn to step
into the spotlight and I am confident that Vancouver 2010 can also raise the
bar for the Olympic Winter Games. Our Canadian friends learned many important
lessons during their stay in Beijing as part of the IOC's Observer's
Programme, and this can be seen in their planning, which is being fine-tuned
as VANOC moves into its operational phase."
He added, "While John Furlong and his team are in the process of
finalising a number of key Games-time plans, such as transport, volunteers and
staffing, which is normal for an Organising Committee at this stage, we feel
that if they can quickly finish them over the coming few months, then they
will be in a very good position going into their operational phase at the end
of next year. It's crucial though that no time is lost, because the Games are
an immoveable deadline and the margin for error is greatly reduced as we get
into the final year of preparations."
During its visit, the Commission had the opportunity to review the venues
in the Whistler area, which will host the skiing and sliding sports as well as
the athletes' village.
Fasel commented, "The competition venues in Whistler are truly
spectacular and will provide a fantastic back drop for the athletes, as they
strive for sporting excellence. It is particularly reassuring to see that they
are all largely complete and are already being used. Indeed, as VANOC starts
to test them, and all of its other Games-time arenas, with its 17 up-coming
sport events, it will be a fantastic opportunity for the athletes to get a
feel for what awaits them in 2010 and for the public to experience many sports
and disciplines that may not be familiar to them."
The Olympic Games are more than just 16 days of sporting competition, and
this was underlined by two announcements made during the visit that will
undoubtedly produce positive legacies from the Vancouver Games. On Tuesday 21
October, the Province of British Columbia and VANOC announced an initiative to
use temporary housing from the Whistler athletes' village to help combat
homelessness across British Columbia. Additionally, the IOC and VANOC, in
close partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
announced the dates of next year's 8th World Conference on Sport and the
Environment, which will be held in Vancouver from 29 to 31 March 2009.
Speaking about the importance of legacy, Fasel said, "The International
Olympic Committee has long recognised the importance of planning for the
post-Olympic legacy in host regions and that it is of great importance that
organisers are sensitive to the social impact of the Olympic Games, and plan
carefully to ensure that all sections of the community benefit from the Games
legacy. This is particularly apparent here in Vancouver, where VANOC has
created exceptionally strong partnerships with its local government partners
and the Four Host First Nations (FHFNs), whose traditional lands will welcome
the Games in 2010."
"As we expected, the pace has increased after the Beijing Games and it
requires our team to be able to respond quickly to change, particularly given
the challenging economy," said VANOC Chair Jack Poole. "In these circumstances
the guidance and insights provided by the IOC are particularly valuable. We
were proud this week to showcase to our partners and receive positive feedback
on our sport venues and the legacies being created."
"As always, our friends at the IOC ask great questions and stimulate
important discussions. While this review has been extremely reassuring for our
team, we must stay completely focused and not become complacent as we face the
major operational challenges that lie ahead," said VANOC CEO John Furlong.
During its meetings, the Commission also heard from VANOC about a number
of other areas linked to Games organisation, such as sport, NOC services,
technology, marketing, accommodation, transport and communications.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
IOC Coordination Commission
The IOC, as the guardian of the Olympic Games, assists and monitors the
work of Organising Committee for the Olympic Games through the work of the
Coordination Commission. The Commission visits the host city once a year until
four years from the Games, when the visits become twice yearly until the Games
are held. The Commission's full meetings are supplemented by the regular
visits of smaller IOC teams involving the Commission Chairman, selected
members of the Commission and members of the IOC administration. The next
visit of the Coordination Commission to Vancouver is expected to be at the end
of March 2009. A full list of the Vancouver Commission's members can be found
For further information:
For further information: IOC Communications Department, Tel: +41 21 621
60 00, e-mail: email@example.com