Successful Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay training exercise solidifies
plans to engage and inspire a nation

    Operational plans tested to bring Olympic Spirit from coast to coast to

VANCOUVER, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Residents of seven British Columbia communities received a special preview Wednesday of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay convoy and celebrations as the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) put their operational plans to the test in a simulation exercise representing an actual day along the national relay route.

"The training exercise was tremendously valuable for the team and the communities to validate our plans. For the most part, our major planning assumptions were proven correct," said Jim Richards, program director for the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relays. "We'll use the next several weeks to incorporate what we learned, including the need to fine-tune media operations, torchbearer transitions, as well as ensure we have continuous communication with our route communities on any last minute changes. We are very thankful to the communities and media who participated in this event Wednesday and the residents for their patience."

With a main convoy of vehicles that stretched the distance of a football field, staff, observers and partners rehearsed an actual day from the relay route to refine and ensure the proper coordination of the many staff and vehicles it takes to stage this pan-Canadian celebration.

Approximately 150 volunteer stand-in torchbearers experienced first-hand what it will feel like for the 12,000 Olympic Torchbearers involved in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada.

"We're no longer counting the months until the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay begins, we're counting the days," said Richards. "Staging such an engaging and inclusive relay, we can't do all of our planning in boardrooms or in meetings. An Olympic Torch Relay is a complex project with many moving points that need to work within precision timing. We had to take our plans and test them out on the very streets the Olympic Flame will pass through on its way to light the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver."

Similar to when the relay will visit each of the 1,036 communities across Canada, the host communities and local law enforcement provided rolling road closures to allow the torchbearers and convoy to travel through the community. Residents in Chilliwack and Abbotsford also saw a setup of the celebration stages that will be used at the nearly 200 community celebrations over the course of the 106-day relay.

    Key lessons from the training event included:

    Convoy operations
    -   A vehicle in the core convoy had a dead battery Wednesday morning
        causing a departure delay of 10 minutes. All vehicles will be
        outfitted with booster cables for relay time.

    -   Advance vehicles responsible for management of arrivals and departure
        of the convoy during the day will require double the amount of pylons
        to help manage this process.

    -   Unexpected road construction in Chilliwack did not delay the convoy
        but at relay time the team will double-check with communities to
        ensure they are aware of the routes and road projects on the relay

    -   Confirmed our pacing for torchbearers and the convoy was accurate as
        the team was always within five minutes of projected times.

    -   Ensure torchbearers are provided with clear direction to understand
        the exchange with the next torchbearers, as well as torchbearers with
        special needs.

    Media operations
    -   Position media zones on the same side at celebration site to ensure
        unobstructed camera positions for photo opportunities.

    -   Clearly identify media relations staff at celebration sites.

    Media One Vehicle in core convoy
    -   Further retrofits to vehicle are required to accommodate additional
        camera positions.

    -   Pre-registration of media interested in being on Media One vehicle
        will be required to ensure smooth transitions between segments. This
        registration will need to be separate from the torch relay
        registration that closed mid-summer 2009.

    Celebration site
    -   Adjustments to some set elements will be required.

The 45,000-kilometre route, which will bring the Olympic Flame within one hour of over 90 per cent of the Canadian population, has now been mapped out metre by metre and each day more torchbearers are receiving official notifications offering them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. While communities put the finishing touches on lively and entertaining celebrations that showcase local talent, torch relay staff, including flame attendants and escort runners, continue their rigorous training to prepare physically and mentally for the challenges of a relay through a Canadian winter.

With less than a month to go before the Olympic Flame is lit in Olympia, Greece in a time honoured and celebrated ceremony, communities are getting ready to welcome the world and showcase their part of Canada through the torch relay which will begin in Victoria, British Columbia on October 30, 2009.

Planning for the torch relay has been ongoing since 2006, VANOC has been working in close collaboration with relay partners including the provinces, territories, communities, RCMP, and many sponsors and suppliers who have loaned their time, talent and energy to stage the longest domestic torch relay in history.

Those wanting to follow the Olympic Flame online, see video and video highlights and read daily stories from the road can do so at An enhanced interactive map of the national relay route will be unveiled in mid-October and updated continuously to provide detailed maps of the Olympic Flame's path through each community in the days before the exciting celebrations take place in every corner of Canada.

NOTE: Photos taken during the torch relay training event are available to interested media on request.


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. Visit

About Coca-Cola and the Olympic Movement

The Coca-Cola Company has been associated with the Olympic Games since 1928 and is the longest continuous corporate supporter of the Olympic Movement. Through the Olympic Games, Coca-Cola encourages people to create their own path of "positivity" in everyday life by believing that anything is possible. The Company's sponsorship supports National Olympic Committees in more than 200 countries to help athletes train and compete. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through 2020. For more information about Coca-Cola Canada, please visit our website at or our parent company's website at

About RBC

As part of our commitment to helping create a better Canada, RBC sponsors amateur sport, from grassroots programs in local communities to national sport associations that support the development of amateur athletes who compete at home and abroad. Canada's longest-standing supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team since 1947, RBC continues its sponsorship through the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is proud to bring the Olympic Spirit to communities across Canada as co-presenting sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. RBC is also a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada, the Canadian Snowboard Team, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, Athletics Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Visit

About the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada is proud to make 2010 a celebration for all Canadians. Through strategic investments in programming and funding, the spirit and excitement will be felt far and wide and leave lasting legacies for future generations. Through the Olympic Torch Relay, the Government of Canada is supporting citizen and community participation, as well as the inclusion of Aboriginal, ethnocultural and official-language communities. For more information on the Government of Canada's contribution to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the


For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Chris Shauf, VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1556, E-mail:; Sébastien Théberge, VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-2261, E-mail:

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