VANOC continues operational testing with bobsleigh, skeleton and luge sport events at The Whistler Sliding Centre

    Spectator interest expected to be high as athletes get to know new
    technical track

    WHISTLER, BC, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Interest will be high this week as a brand
new sport is introduced to the sea to sky region when the best bobsleigh and
skeleton athletes in the world will take to the track for the first of two
World Cups to be held at The Whistler Sliding Centre. Competition for the
bobsleigh and skeleton sport events will run from February 5 to 7, as
approximately 250 athletes and support staff from 24 countries will battle the
turns, speed and crushing G-force of their spectacular sports. Just over one
week later, approximately 140 athletes from 26 countries will have their turn
at the luge sport event from February 20 to 21. Detailed spectator ticket and
venue access information is included below.
    During these events, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010
Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will continue to test its
operational readiness in preparation for the 2010 Winter Games.

    Field of play and operational testing

    The sliding sport events will provide VANOC with an invaluable
opportunity to test the field of play on one of the most technical and fastest
tracks in the world. The competition field and formats will be tested, along
with the specialized sport volunteers who will work in various officiating
roles. This will be the first opportunity for spectators to see events like
this, en masse, at the venue, therefore spectator flow and services will also
be examined at a World Cup level.
    Timing and scoring will be run to corroborate results, and VANOC will
test the speed and dissemination of competition results to appropriate
functions along with the integrity of the technology and staffing in place.
Approximately 276 volunteers and 118 workforce will work the sliding sport
events. Track personnel will be comprised of 22 staff members and 40
    In keeping with international standards, VANOC anti-doping personnel will
conduct doping controls, including the collection of urine samples. For the
bobsleigh and skeleton sport events, two paid staff will work the event, along
with 16 chaperones and seven doping control officers (DCOs). The luge sport
event will have the same participation, except with four less chaperones.

    Background on track design, construction and homologation

    The Whistler Sliding Centre track was designed by Udo Gurgel of IBG
Designs in Germany and construction was completed in December 2007. The
Fédération internationale de bobsleigh et de tobogganing (FIBT) and the
Fédération internationale de luge de course (FIL) commissioned the track with
VANOC's input.
    The homologation process, whereby the track was certified by technical
delegates from the FIBT and FIL, was completed in March 2008. Homologation
took place over four days, with 60 athletes from all three sliding disciplines
completing over 200 runs in total.
    "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."

    FIBT International Training Week (ITW)

    This past week, The Whistler Sliding Centre reached another milestone, as
it successfully completed the FIBT International Training Week (ITW). Similar
to the FIL International Training Week held this past November, the FIBT ITW
saw 250 athletes from 24 countries learn the intricacies of the track's
technical turns - all in preparation for the bobsleigh and skeleton sport
event this week.
    Fourteen training runs per athlete were completed in the disciplines of
men's and women's bobsleigh and skeleton. As with all new tracks, athletes
were mandated by their respective International Sport Federations to practice
progressive training - whereby they must take two runs from the development
access point of the track, before moving up to the competition start.
    "Progressive training is the proper and safe way to learn a track, as
athletes are able to start at a lower speed and not from their competitive
starts," said Craig Lehto, director, The Whistler Sliding Centre. "It's a
chance for athletes to step out on the track for the first time, in a
conservative manner, and learn the intricacies of the world's most technical
    FIBT ITW blends into official training for the bobsleigh and skeleton
sport events, with three days prior to competition reserved for training runs.

    Background on track safety

    The track at The Whistler Sliding Centre has gone through rigorous
testing by the International Federations and VANOC to ensure that it meets the
highest standards that these athletes require - while still conforming to the
safety features that all tracks are held to.
    For its daily operations, the centre has available a venue emergency
response team, as well as team-specific trainers/support staff. During event
operations (such as ITW or World Cups) physicians, first responders and BC
Ambulance service with paramedics will be on site.
    Opportunities like ITWs and requirements such as progressive training are
two avenues that ensure athletes can focus solely on their personal bests when
they are competing in 2010.

    Information for the public

    For more information on bobsleigh, skeleton and luge sport events please
    Tickets are $5 per person/per day, and includes access to the venue via
the Excalibur Gondola to Base II (Blackcomb), followed by a short walk to the
venue. Accessible parking is available on-site.

    Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:
    -   In person: ticket purchases can be made starting Tuesday, February 3
        at the Whistler Visitor Information Centre (hours of operation: 8:00
        am - 10:00 pm daily)
    -   Day of: ticket purchases can be made at the Whistler Blackcomb ticket
        kiosk at the base of the Excalibur gondola, up until the start of

    Note: Attendance is expected to be extremely high, please provide ample
time for travel and entry to catch every event.
    For more information on the remaining sport events taking place from
February to September 2009, including how to purchase tickets, visit

    Remaining sport events taking place from February to September 2009

    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, 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 Paralympic Park, Whistler

    World Junior Curling Championships
    Date: March 5-15, 2009
    Location: Vancouver Olympic Centre, Vancouver

    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

    For B-Roll footage of The Whistler Sliding Centre visit
    Username: Sport Events      Password: Olymp1qu3

    For stills please visit the Media Centre

    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: John Gibson, VANOC
Communications, (604) 403-1585,; John French,
VANOC Communications, (778) 229-6124,

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