Candidate cities for the 2010 Winter Games have met with the International Olympic Committee for the first time.
At the meeting held at the Salt Lake Games in Utah, IOC president Jacques Rogge stressed that candidates must play by the rules.
"Everyone was told that they better behave themselves and (the IOC) explained what the sanctions would be if they didnt," said Vancouver Whistler bid corporation chief operating officer John Furlong, who attended the meeting.
"There was a real sense at the start of this mission that some of the visiting cities had perhaps broken the rules or bent them a bit so there were a few shots fired over the bow (by the IOC)."
Last week Korea came under fire for displaying a huge banner proclaiming their intention to host the 2010 Winter Games.
The banner has since been taken down.
If candidate cities dont follow the rules they will be sanctioned said Furlong. Those sanctions can include a letter outlining their infraction sent to every IOC member.
"That would mean you are essentially creating an image that you are not playing fair," said Furlong, something no candidate city wants to do.
He approached the IOC independently before the candidates meetings to makes sure there were no problems with Canadas promotions to date.
"We were told there were no issues with our bid or our team," said Furlong from Salt Lake.
Promoting the bid without actually being able to promote is no easy task.
"You can really honestly do nothing," said Furlong.
"We have become professionals at doing nothing, which means we have been doing a lot but it is very subtle. What they dont want is this hard-nosed campaigning sort-of in your face.
"We have made lots of friends here. It has been a very successful mission for us here so far."
If an infraction of the rules is severe enough, said Furlong, the bid could even be disqualified.
Rogge also sent candidate cities away with a sobering message.
He reminded them that there would only be one winner and the other seven candidates would leave "bitterly disappointed."
"It was a pretty sobering message for everybody and I think some of the cities that have joined the race at the last minute were pretty taken aback by it," said Furlong.
Candidate cities were also told about what the IOC expects in their mini-bid books due May 31, 2002, and what is expected of the host cities and countries as far as hosting an Olympics.
Marketing, TV rights, transportation, and security were also discussed.
"I think we are quietly confident that we are in good shape," said Furlong.
"It is going to be a tough fight regardless. We are a long way from the finish line here but I dont think there is anything that has happened here that would have us worried.
"There is a warm feeling being extended to us by everybody. The IOC has been willing to talk to us, there is a real feeling around that Vancouver will be a good bid, and it is a part of the world people want to come to.
"We have every reason to feel that we are in good shape."
The IOC will announce their short list for the 2010 games Aug. 29, 2002. The host city will be chosen in July 2003 at a meeting in Prague.
The other candidates are Andorra L Vella; Bern Switzerland; Harbin, China; Jaca, Spain; Pyeongchang, South Korea; Salzburg, Austria; and Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Everywhere Whistler Mayor Hugh OReilly looked he saw volunteers.
"There were so many volunteers," said OReilly.
"I saw more of them than I did the police.
"Everywhere you went there were people to help you, absolutely everywhere."
OReilly has just spent several days in Salt Lake observing all he could about the Games and the organization behind them.
"Really it was very positive," he said.
Security was everywhere, but subtle.
Police mingled with volunteers, but wore identifying yellow ski jackets to help them blend in with the event.
Army personnel were visible but only at vehicle checkpoints, said OReilly.
"If you had a vehicle that had to go into a secure area then your vehicle had to go in and their military people checked it with the mirrors," he said.
Security at venue sites was much like any other major sporting event. People and possessions were checked by professionals and then spectators were moved into ticket checking lines.
It ran smoothly as far as OReilly could see, and was surprisingly fast.
The provincial government will outline its plans to upgrade the Sea to Sky Highway in May.
The announcement was made in Salt Lake this week by Ted Nebbeling the minister responsible for the 2010 Olympic Games.
The upgrades are likely to include new bridges, tunnels, and three-lane sections.
The throne speech also hinted at private-public partnerships for highway upgrades. That could mean tolls or even offering crown land in return for private funding of road improvements.
The worst stretch of the highway is a winding six-kilometre, two-lane stretch with no shoulders north of Squamish. It has been slated for upgrade for several years but funding hasnt been available.
It has been suggested that Highway 99 between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler may be one of the most expensive stretches of highway in Canada to upgrade.
Whatever plans are being considered, said Whistler Mayor Hugh OReilly, they must work for the next quarter of a century.
"You dont do transportation in two or five year planning," he said.
"You do long term planning.
"I still hope to be able to make sure that when we review the options that we look at them as... transportation (plans) which can be supported by the communities in a 25 year plan."
A study released last summer by the Highways Ministry suggested the cost of upgrading the stretch from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish to four lanes would cost $1.3 billion.
At a cabinet meeting in Fort St. John in January the president of the Vancouver-Whistler Bid Corporation, Jack Poole, told the government an expanded highway would boost the chances of winning the 2010 Games.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told CBC television last week that B.C.s bid should get an "easy and fast connection between Vancouver and Whistler."
Salt Lake seller
Ross Rebagliati went to the Winter Games in Salt Lake after all.
He told The Province he plans to enjoy the games and try to sell commemorative paintings of himself celebrating his gold medal in snowboarding at the Nagano Games in 1998.
Part of the proceeds from the paintings will go to the Canadian National Snowboard Development Team.
Rebagliati had been banned from entering the United States because he had admitted to smoking marijuana during a doping investigation when he won gold in 1998.
His lawyer managed to secure Rebagliati a four month entrance waiver to the U.S.