The Whistler Sliding Centre homologation process complete

    World's 15th sliding centre praised by international federation technical

    WHISTLER, BC, March 10 /CNW/ - The homologation process for The Whistler
Sliding Centre concluded over the weekend, achieving another milestone in the
timeline to ensure the venue for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions is
complete for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
    The four days of testing and evaluation 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) will allow the venue operators to move ahead with the next phase
of planning to have the facility fully operational in the coming months.
    "From design, to construction and through start-up, we knew we were
building a very special sliding track. This track was designed and built to be
a world-unique sliding sport venue and this week's runs, along with the
feedback from the athletes, coaches and the technical officials from
international sport federations, have proven that we are well on our way to
reaching this goal," said Craig Lehto, VANOC's director, The Whistler Sliding
Centre for VANOC. "The homologation process is a major milestone towards
hosting spectacular sliding competitions during the Games in 2010."
    Over the duration of the homologation, more than 200 runs were taken at
The Whistler Sliding Centre. Athletes from seven countries (Austria, Canada,
Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and the USA) representing the three
sliding disciplines completed runs from six different start positions on the
track. Working from the bottom to the top, a detailed evaluation was completed
to ensure the 1,450 metre track is safe for all athlete ability levels.
    "This is a great track that will challenge all the skills of the modern
sliding athletes. It is fast, technical, demanding and interesting," said Bob
Storey, President, FIBT. "The Whistler Sliding Centre is an example for the
new tracks of the future as well as a great sporting legacy."
    "There are lots of technical tracks around the world, but this one is so
unique because of the speed - that is what makes it so challenging," said
Walter Plaikner, technical delegate, FIL Track Commission. "The homologation
went very well and there is almost nothing to change. This is because of the
great work by the construction crew, the ice crew who had the ice in great
condition and the entire team of people here in Canada which have done such a
great job and made the homologation a success."
    With the homologation process complete, VANOC will now review the
recommendations made by the FIBT and FIL that will determine the remaining
work required to fine-tune the track in preparation for international
competition. The Whistler Sliding Centre will host Canadian national teams for
training and testing through to March 20.

    BACKGROUND - The Whistler Sliding Centre

    Located on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, The Whistler Sliding Centre is
the venue for the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions during the
Vancouver 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. 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.
    At this time, the facility's technical and operational infrastructures
are in the final stages of development. Until the track is officially open,
VANOC is operating the facility with limited services and systems, and access
to the venue will remain limited to those expressly invited to participate in
activities at the venue.

    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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