What to expect from Olympic security 

The motto of Games organizers this week is "Know before you go," and this week the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) released a list of security tips for spectators heading to events and venues.

When in doubt it's best to pretend that you're flying. Gates open two hours ahead of time for city venues, three hours early for mountain venues and four hours for opening and closing ceremonies. It's best to get there early to get through the security screening. Expect metal detectors, wands and bag scanners.

You should also take the time to read your ticket to confirm the time, date, gate and other relevant information. Don't lose them because lost tickets cannot be replaced or refunded - especially good to keep in mind if you paid $750 per ticket to see the gold medal hockey game.

Goes easy on the carry-on luggage. If you have a bag that's smaller than 15 cm by 15 cm by 30 cm or no bag at all then you get to go through the express line. If you have a larger bag then you will need to go through the regular line and security procedures.

When you pass through the medal detector you will be asked to empty your pockets, so you might want to be ready to do that. Taking off belts and other metal accessories that beep is also a good plan to avoid extra scrutiny.

VANOC has a list of items that people are not allowed to bring into venues, as well as behaviours that people should probably leave at home.

There's the usual list of prohibited things like knives and pepper spray, that no sane person would bring anywhere near a venue with so many police and military on hand.

Other items to leave at home include:

• All aerosol spray, flammable liquids, fireworks and water balloon launchers.

• Ambush marketing of any kind. Nobody will force you to remove your Nike shoes, but dressing head to toe in Adidas wear might set off a few alarms. Also, no leaflets, pamphlets or non-approved publications or promotional material will be allowed.

• No animals, except for service animals.

• No balls, Frisbees, racquets, hockey sticks, pucks or other sporting items.

• No bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skis, snowboards or sleds.

• No broadcast and lighting equipment.

• You are not allowed to broadcast and record on mobile phones or using other transmitting devices if it's for commercial purposes. By all means, take all the photos and video you like for personal reasons, although flash photography is not allowed.

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