International Olympic Committee members visit Whistler 

How did Whistler become the resort it is today?

That’s what International Olympic Committee members wanted to know when they made an unscheduled visit to the resort last week – the first since Whistler won the right to host the 2010 Winter Games.

"They were as interested in Whistler’s history and how we got here, as what was going on," said Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly.

The IOC officials were led by René Fasel, the chairman of the IOC 2010 Co-ordination Commission, which will be fully formed later this year.

The IOC team was here for an informal introductory and planning session to set the stage for the first official seminar later in the fall, which IOC president Jacques Rogge will attend.

"… This has been a good start to the seven years of preparations between the IOC and Vancouver in the lead up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games," said Fasel at the end of the whirlwind two-day visit to B.C.

The IOC team met with O’Reilly, Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, Premier Gordon Campbell and other city and provincial officials, as well as members of the Vancouver 2010 Transition Group in Vancouver on Thursday, Sept. 4 then flew by float plane to Whistler the next day.

O’Reilly said he had asked that the four-member team visit Whistler but had originally been told there just wasn’t enough time during this visit.

"Then about 12:45 p.m. on Friday I get the phone call that they are coming," said O’Reilly.

The mayor and Maureen Douglas, community relations director for the 2010 Transition Group, took the IOC team on a walk around the village describing the development of the resort and the plans for the future.

"They were terribly impressed," said O’Reilly.

"They thought Whistler was absolutely gorgeous and beautiful and were very excited about coming back."

On the way back to Vancouver the float plane flew over the Callaghan Valley so IOC team members could see the proposed site of the Nordic Centre.

The IOC delegation included Fasel, Gilbert Felli, IOC Olympic Games executive director, Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games co-ordination manager, and Florence Lethier, project officer.

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