Homologation of The Whistler Sliding Centre to proceed this week

    WHISTLER, BC, March 5 /CNW/ - The world's top sliding athletes, coaches
and technical officials will be in Whistler this week from March 5 through 8
to participate in the homologation of The Whistler Sliding Centre - the venue
for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions during the Vancouver 2010
Olympic Winter Games.
    The homologation of The Whistler Sliding Centre is a joint project by the
International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT), the International
Luge Federation (FIL) and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) to ensure a technical
inspection and evaluation of the track.
    "The homologation of the track is an important step in the process of
having this venue completed for the 2010 Winter Games, and allows us to
deliver on our promise to offer athletes the chance to train and compete on
the 2010 Winter Games venues well in advance of the Games themselves," said
Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC Executive Vice President for Sport and Games

    The four days of testing and evaluation at The Whistler Sliding Centre
will ensure the FIBT, FIL and VANOC have the opportunity to:

    -   Inspect track construction
    -   Test venue safety
    -   Ensure track's technical dimensions are compliant with FIBT/FIL
    -   Receive feedback for modifications/improvements as required
    -   Provide forum for international sliding athletes, technical delegates
        and additional identified experts to offer feedback to track
    -   Conduct operational/situational testing for The Whistler Sliding
        Centre staff/volunteers

    Both the FIBT and FIL will have a number of technical experts on-site to
participate in the homologation process over the coming days. Additionally,
more than 60 athletes and coaches will participate in the homologation at The
Whistler Sliding Centre by invitation of the FIBT, FIL and VANOC, including
representation from Austria, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and
the US.
    Once The Whistler Sliding Centre has been homologated, VANOC will review
and consider the recommendations for technical adjustments that will allow the
facility to be opened and completely operational. VANOC anticipates providing
to the media and public additional details on the homologation process on
March 10. As one of the sport venues for the 2010 Winter Games, VANOC looks
forward to announcing details of media and public access to this venue as soon
as possible.
    At this time the facility's technical and operational infrastructures are
still in development and have not been sanctioned by the governing bodies.
Until the track is officially open, VANOC is operating the facility with
limited services and systems; therefore will not accommodate additional
public, media and or non sliding participants. The facility will remain closed
to anyone outside of those participating directly in the homologation process.

    The Whistler Sliding Centre - Background

    Located on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, The Whistler Sliding Centre is
the venue for the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions during the
2010 Olympic Winter Games, and is one of only 15 sliding tracks in the world.
The Whistler Sliding Centre consists of a 1,450-metre competition-length
concrete sliding track through 16 corners, refrigeration facilities, support
buildings and access road. This new sliding track is integrated into
Whistler's long-term resort development plan and post-Games, The Whistler
Sliding Centre will be operated under the direction of the Whistler Legacy
Society, supported by an endowment trust established by the federal and
provincial governments.

    The Whistler Sliding Centre - Key Dates

    November 14, 2004  VANOC selects designer for The Whistler Sliding Centre

    June 8, 2005       Preliminary site preparation and construction begins
                       at The Whistler Sliding Centre following environmental
                       screening approval

    December 14, 2007  Venue construction significantly completed at The
                       Whistler Sliding Centre

    December 19, 2007  First test runs at The Whistler Sliding Centre
                       (Pierre Lueders/Justin Kripps)

    March 5-8, 2008    FIBT/FIL homologation of The Whistler Sliding Centre

    TBD                Official public opening of The Whistler Sliding Centre

    February 2009      FIBT Bobsleigh Skeleton World Cup

    February 2009      FIL Luge World Cup

    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.

For further information:

For further information: For additional information on the homologation
process, please contact: Stéphane Delisle, (778) 328-1186; Chris Dornan, (403)

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