First three of 16 Sport Events in 2009 start this week at Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park; VANOC to test operational readiness for 2010 Winter Games

    Millions of European Nordic sport fans expected to tune in daily

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will begin testing its
operational readiness at international Sport Events beginning this Friday at
Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park with cross-country skiing (January 16-18),
Nordic combined (January 16-17) and ski jumping (January 23-25).
    The World Cup competitions are part of the International Ski Federation's
(FIS) 2008-09 season and will feature Vancouver 2010 Olympic medal hopefuls,
representing a total of 21 countries. Eleven Nordic combined teams totalling
about 50 athletes and 47 support staff as well as 17 cross-country teams
totalling about 230 athletes started arriving last week. Close to 50 athletes
and 30 support staff will also be on hand for ski jumping. Official training
for cross-country and Nordic combined begins on Wednesday.
    These Sport Events provide VANOC the opportunity to test Games-time
operations and train potential 2010 volunteers. Spectators will have the
chance to experience Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park and learn more about
some of Europe's most popular winter sports that are guaranteed to thrill in
2010. In Europe alone, an estimated 15 million to 20 million viewers are
expected to tune in daily to the events.
    "This is a big year for us, coming right out of the gate with three Sport
Events that will provide an invaluable opportunity to test our management
teams and numerous Games-time operations," said Tim Gayda, VANOC's
vice-president, sport. "We're working closely with the International Ski
Federation, Cross Country Canada, Nordic Combined Ski Canada and Ski Jumping
Canada to produce three world-class events for athletes and spectators."
    The trio of Sport Events opens with the cross-country men's and women's
pursuit and the Nordic combined large hill/10-kilometre cross-country
competition. Chandra Crawford, the 2006 Olympic cross-country skiing sprint
gold medallist, will lead the Canadian team.
    "We don't often get the opportunity to compete in front of our home
crowd," said Crawford. "This is going to be a great opportunity to showcase
our fantastic sport and world-class athletes, and I look forward to the strong
contingent of fans from Whistler and Vancouver cheering us on with every
    VANOC's testing will focus primarily on two areas: athletes' competition
areas (the field of play), and overall venue operations including athlete
arrivals/departures, training, and competition and workforce operations.

    Field of Play
    Grooming and hill preparation will be tested at the large ski jump area.
Wind conditions will be examined, as well as flexibility to adjust to the
weather conditions. The cross-country skiing competition course will test the
grooming and technical standard of preparations, snow clearing procedures,
awards presentations, and athlete and team service levels.
    Press Operations VANOC's Press Operations team will run the Venue Media
Centre, manage photo positions, test media access control processes and
operate the athlete mixed zone where accredited media gather to interview
athletes. Over 160 local, national and international media have been
accredited for the events.
    Timing and Scoring Timing and scoring will be run to corroborate results.
VANOC will test the speed and dissemination of competition results to
appropriate functions along with the integrity of the technology and staffing
in place.

    Medical Services
    The Medical Services team will replicate Games-time field-of-play medical
service levels with medical personnel ski patrollers as first responders.
Staff will include a VANOC medical manager, two physicians per event, one ski
patrol supervisor, 10 ski patrollers for the cross-country skiing and Nordic
combined World Cup competitions and two ski patrollers for the ski jumping
World Cup competition.

    Under the direction and authority of the FIS, VANOC Anti-Doping personnel
will conduct doping controls, including the collection of both urine and blood
samples. VANOC will also work with the FIS to showcase its athlete outreach
booth designed to educate and inform athletes about anti-doping rules and

    Venue Operations
    Communications The VANOC Venue Management team will test internal
radio/walkie-talkie communication systems, using over 20 different channels
operating simultaneously on more than 250 radios carried by workforce.
    Workforce About 700 volunteers, contractors and staff will participate in
the Nordic festival events. The majority are technical sport volunteers
(approximately 450), with other groups including spectator services, food and
beverage services, snow clearing and cleaning, ski patrollers, sport
production (such as announcers, DJs, video screen operators), transport and
parking staff, and VIP services.
    The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, FIS Cross-Country World Cup and FIS
Ski Jumping World Cup are the first Sport Events of the 2009 season. The first
Sport Event was the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup held last February at Whistler
    For more information on the Nordic World Cups this month, visit
    For more information on the remaining Sport Events taking place from
February to September 2009, including how to purchase tickets, visit

    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

For further information:

For further information: John Gibson, VANOC Communications, (604)
403-1585,; Robin Russell, VANOC Communications,
(604) 966-2550,

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