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Rogge says investment in Olympic security will leave a positive legacy

International Olympic organizers, while refusing to comment on the security budget for the 2010 Olympics, said the hardware and partnerships would be a legacy.

"The IOC is not privy to the details of the budget," said Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee.

"But let me just say on security one important issue is that security investments always leave a good legacy of security for the country. The security arrangements are not there only for the 17 days of the competition, whenever the Games are finished everything that has been built and the expertise that is acquired, the hardware put in place, is servicing the country for decades to follow."

The details of the security budget have been expected for months. It is generally accepted that the $175 million originally budgeted is too low. It is now expected to be close to $1 billion.

Rogge, along with other Olympic officials, toured the Whistler venues last week and took part in the unveiling of the 2010 Torch and the uniforms to be worn by those who carry the torch.

"We have worked hard for today," said John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Olympic Committee for the 2010 Games at a press conference to mark the year countdown.

"We are looking forward to having just a day to celebrate and feel good about what has transpired over the last decade."

All the Whistler venues are finished.

"I am extremely pleased by the progress of the organization," said Rogge, who along with his colleagues at the press conference all wore sweaters portraying a relaxed feel.

"Almost all the infrastructure is almost ready. We are in the full phase of the test events and the athletes and the federations tell us that these test events are very well organized, so I think everything bodes well for the future of the Games."

Rogge also said he was confident that the athletes' village in Vancouver, which has run into financing problems will be ready at Games time. The village is the responsibility of the City of Vancouver. The VANOC commitment to it of $30 million remains unchanged.

Olympic sponsor Omega also unveiled a countdown clock at the Whistler Sliding Centre to mark the final 365 days to the 2010 Games.

From Italy Whistler resident and World Cup alpine skier Britt Janyk said: "I wish I could be there. Everyone who is on the Canadian team is looking forward to the Olympic Games and we are excited to be there racing and competing in Whistler and to have the whole community in Whistler behind us.

"I am looking forward to having the world come to my home town and see what it is like."

First Nations also played an important role in the one-year countdown.

"We are one year away and there are First Nations and Metis across this country who now, more than ever, are starting to see how important the aboriginal people are to the Games and the role they have," said Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four Host Nations.

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