ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships start today at the Pacific Coliseum, tickets still available

    VANOC continues to test its operational readiness for the 2010 Winter

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - As the world's best figure skaters jump and
spin for glory this week at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating
Championships, local spectators will get a chance to see many 2010 hopefuls
compete in one of the most popular events at an Olympic Games. The week-long
event will also give the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic
and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) an opportunity to test its operational
readiness for figure skating at the Pacific Coliseum.
    The single, pairs and ice dance competitions, being held February 2 to 8,
are part of the International Skating Union's (ISU) 2008-09 season and will
feature Vancouver 2010 Olympic medal hopefuls. Over 100 athletes from 15
countries such as Australia, Uzbekistan, China, Mexico, South Africa, the
United States and Canada will compete in Vancouver. Spectators will have the
chance to experience the improvements made to the Pacific Coliseum for the
2010 Winter Games and learn more about some of the figure skaters that are
sure to thrill Canadians and the world in just over a year.
    The international competition is one of 18 Sport Events in 2008-09 taking
place at the 2010 Winter Games competition venues. The events provide the
Organizing Committee with the opportunity to test Games-time operations and
train potential 2010 volunteers. Since January 16, 2009, VANOC has tested its
operational readiness in biathlon, cross-country skiing and Nordic combined in
World Cups at Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park. VANOC will also be testing at
the freestyle skiing Sport Event at Cypress Mountain, and bobsleigh and
skeleton Sport Events at The Whistler Sliding Centre, all taking place from
February 5 to 7.
    The Pacific Coliseum has already undergone a number of improvements in
advance of the 2010 Winter Games including the replacement of nearly 16,000
seats, expansion of the ice surface to international size and upgrades to the
washroom facilities, building heating, lighting and dehumidification systems.
    VANOC's testing at the figure skating Sport Event will focus primarily on
two areas: athletes' competition areas (the field of play) and overall venue

    Field of Play

    Grooming and ice preparation will be tested at the Pacific Coliseum.
Awards presentations and athlete and team service levels will also be tested.

    Ice and Judges Platform

    Athlete on-off ice flow and access on the non-international-sized ice
will be examined. The judging platform (which will also double as the timing
and scoring platform in 2010 when the building shares figure skating and short
track speed skating events) will be in its Games-time layout. Nine judges will
sit on the platform, along with five individuals on the technical panel. The
platform will also feature three broadcast camera positions and commentary
points. There will be 10 other broadcast camera positions on the field of

    Panasonic Sound System

    The event's sound system will be tested at a Games-time level. The
installation of speakers, equipment set-up and testing of the acoustics in the
venue space are among the areas to be tested.

    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 as
well as with the integrity of the technology and staffing in place. The
Olympic venue results system will be used, which involves the installation of
results infrastructure such as scoreboards and video boards. With the
inclusion of short track speed skating at the venue in 2010, there will be
double the amount of equipment at Games-time.

    Venue Operations


    Approximately 448 volunteers and workforce (340 volunteers, 108 paid
staff) will participate at the figure skating Sport Event. Additionally, 606
contractors (such as ice meisters, lighting and technology workers, food and
beverage, existing venue staff) will be employed, along with 62 participants
such as flower retrievers and ice patchers.


    Working in conjunction with Skate Canada, and under the approval of the
ISU, accreditation for the event will be conducted at a Games-time level. Full
information on accredited individuals (for example, passport or driver's
licence, and picture identification on passes) will be used. Volunteer
accreditation will use Games-time data capture processes, and will be a
centralized process through the accreditation team at the Uniform and
Accreditation Centre Vancouver (UAV). As per the International Olympic
Committee's rules and regulations, there will be Games-time levels of access
control and zoning at the venue.

    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.

    Olympic News Service

    The Olympic News Service (ONS) is responsible for providing Games-time
news and information services to the media. ONS operates in a similar manner
to a wire service, and at the figure skating Sport Event will be testing a
range of staffing positions including a central editorial team and venue-based
reporting team. ONS will also produce Games-time outputs for distribution to
the media through the venue media centre. These outputs include sport previews
and reviews, event previews and reviews, flash quotes, news conference
highlights and media communications.


    Spectators will be seated in the lower bowl (approximately 5,000 seats).
Once sold out, the upper bowl will open.

    Medical Services

    The Medical Services team will be comprised of two venue medical
officers, 12 therapists and six physicians. The electronic medical encounter
system - a database application of athlete medical records - will be tested.
Equipment and pharmaceutical supplies will also be monitored to examine usage


    Under the direction and authority of the ISU, VANOC anti-doping personnel
will conduct doping controls, including the collection of urine samples. VANOC
will also work with the ISU to showcase its athlete outreach booth designed to
educate and inform athletes about anti-doping rules and procedures. Two paid
staff will work the event, along with 25 chaperones and six doping control
officers (DCOs).
    The Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, which is responsible for the
planning and implementation of Games security, will be testing some services
at this event. Participation from spectators will be voluntary.
    The team will test vehicle screening (flow rates, size of space needed,
internal layout of the area needed), as well as pedestrian screening (space
needed, flow rates, and magnetometer and X-ray placement at Games time).

    For more information on the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
and how to purchase tickets, visit
    For more information on the remaining Sport Events taking place from
February to September 2009, including how to purchase tickets, visit Remaining sport events include:

    FIS Snowboard World Cup
    Date: February 12-15, 2009
    Location: Cypress Mountain, West Vancouver

    FIL Luge World Cup
    Date: February 16-21, 2009
    Location: The Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler

    WCF World Wheelchair Curling Championship
    Date: February 21-28, 2009
    Location: Vancouver Paralympic Centre (Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium
    Park), Vancouver

    Hockey Canada Cup - Sledge Hockey
    Date: February 24-March 1, 2009
    Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena, Vancouver

    IPC Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon World Cup Final
    Date: March 4-7, 2009
    Location: Whistler Olympic Park, Whistler

    World Junior Curling Championships
    Date: March 5-15, 2009
    Location: Vancouver Olympic Centre (Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium Park),

    IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals
    Date: March 9-14, 2009
    Location: Whistler Creekside, Whistler

    IBU Biathlon World Cup
    Date: March 11-15, 2009
    Location: Whistler Olympic Park

    ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships
    Date: March 12-15, 2009
    Location: Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond

    Hockey Canada Cup - Women's Hockey
    Date: August 31-September 6, 2009
    Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena and Canada Hockey Place, Vancouver

    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: Media Contacts: Greg Alexis, VANOC
Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1627, E-mail:;
John Gibson, VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1585, E-mail:

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