February 15, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

Countdown to the Games 

Feb. 12, 2008 — VANOC began volunteer recruitment. An estimated 25,000 volunteers are needed to stage the Games. Celebrations begin for the two-year countdown to the 2010 Olympics.

Feb.19, 2008— FIS World Cup racing on Whistler, the alpine ski venue for 2010.

Feb.24-26, 2008 — International Olympic Committee visit. Members come twice a year to check-up on Vancouver’s progress.

Mar. 5-8, 2008 -The track will be homologated (tested for safety) by both International Federations for sliding sports the FIBT and FIL. There is a training week scheduled for bobsleigh and skeleton on Jan. 26-31, 2009 and a World Cup/Olympic test event is planned for Feb. 2-7 2009.

Mar. 6, 2008 — Canada’s National Cross Country Team competes at Whistler Olympic Park in the Canadian National Championships.

Mar. 9, 2008 — Paralympic Alpine Skiing World Cup.

Mar. 12, 2008 — Two-year countdown to the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Biathlon World Cup will also be held at Whistler Olympic Park from March 12 to 15 th .

Mar. 24, 2008 — Canada’s National Biathlon Team competes at Whistler Olympic Park in the Canadian National Championships.

Aug. 8-24, 2008 — Olympic Summer Games held in Beijing, China.

Sept. 6-17, 2008 — Paralympic Summer Games are held in Beijing, China.

Oct.11, 2008 — Tickets for the 2010 Games go on sale.

Oct. 2008 — The $31 million 2010 Winter Games Olympic Flame Torch Relay gets underway.

Nov.2009— Olympic torch relay arrives in Canada.

Dec. 2009 – Media accreditation for the 2010 Games. An estimated 10,000 members of the media are expected to be accredited.

Whistler’s Olympic venues

By Clare Ogilvie

Whistler Olympic Park: This Nordic venue is already open and hosting competitions as well as recreational skiers. It is located 22 km south of Whistler Village and 8 km from the Sea to Sky Highway. Prior to Games development, the site has already been logged and used by mining interests. It is a popular area for backcountry enthusiasts.

The Olympic Park will host four events: Cross-Country, Biathlon, Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping. Both Olympic and Paralympic events will be held there.

The area will have a spectator capacity of 12,000 people in each of the three stadiums, with temporary seating and standing areas.

There are two regulation ski jumps of different lengths, both of which will be used in winter months only. There are now 14 km of competition trails, and 20-25 km of recreation trails, down from the 100 km proposed in the bid book.

Following the Games the $119.7 million Centre will operate as a legacy using an endowment fund.

Construction began in June 2005 and will complete this year with the addition of a day lodge. All spectators will be bused in during the Games. The original bid book cost was $102 million.

Whistler Olympic & Paralympic Athletes’ Village: The village is located in the south end of Whistler in an area known as the Lower Cheakamus.

The village will be used after the Games for resident restricted housing and accommodation for competing and training athletes. During the Games, it will accommodate 2,400 athletes and officials in at least 250 dwelling units. Around one quarter of these will be wheelchair accessible. The village is budgeted to cost about $131 million.

VANOC will contribute $37.5 million, which includes an allowance of $6.5 million for a First Nation’s legacy. The municipality is raising the rest of the funds and will make the money back by selling the homes to locally employed residents after the Games.

The VANOC funded Athlete Centre at the village was slated to cost $16 million in the bid book and will now cost $46 million. It will provide more accommodation and training facilities.

Construction is well underway with completion scheduled for summer 2009.

Whistler Creekside Alpine Venue: This venue is completed with skiers already enjoying the runs. The first test events are taking place this month with the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships and the upcoming World Cup. At Games time it will have a 7,600-person stadium at the finish line location. The cost of the improvements, which include improved snowmaking equipment and grading, was $27.6 million. The original bid book estimate was just over $23 million.

Whistler Sliding Centre: This $104.9 million purpose-built venue for Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton events, located on Blackcomb Mountain at Base Two, is complete, though it will not be used for competition until 2009. The track is 1.4 km long with 16 curves (or 1,700 metres with 17 curves with the deceleration zone). Speeds in excess of 130 km/h can be achieved in races that are to run some 52 seconds from top to bottom.

There will be viewing for 12,000 people and seating for 6,000 more, mostly temporary.

Construction started in the summer of 2005. The track will be supported after the Games by a legacy endowment fund. The bid book cost was $55 million.

Paralympic Events: All the Paralympic events, except the ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling events, are to be held in Whistler. Ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling will be held in Vancouver. Any upgrades needed are included in the budgets for the venues.

Whistler athletes to watch for

Alpine Skiing — Siblings Britt and Michael Janyk have made the most headlines lately, with Britt earning two medals already this season, but the strong rookie performance by Robbie Dixon is also worth noting. Manuel Osborne-Paradis doesn’t live here, but came here to train every weekend with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.

Britt, Dixon and Osborne-Paradis specialize in speed events, while Michael’s top event is the slalom.

Snowboarding — Most members of the freestyle halfpipe teams either live or train in Whistler, including Brad Martin, Crispin Lipscomb and Justin Lamoureux on the men’s team, and Mercedes Nicoll and Katie Tsuyuki on the women’s side. For snowboardcross, Whistler’s top prospect is Maëlle Ricker on the women’s side, and part-time Whistler rider Drew Neilson for the men. Tom Velisek also recently relocated to Squamish to be close to Whistler and the Olympic venue at Cypress. No members of the alpine team call Whistler home, although Alexa Loo on the women’s team did live here for several years and often comes here to train.

Freestyle — On the moguls team, Whistler’s top prospect is Sylvia Kerfoot, a past Olympian who continues to improve as each season goes on. With the addition of ski cross the the Olympics, Whistler’s contingent now includes Davey Barr, Brian Bennett, Ashleigh McIvor, Julia Murray (daughter of Whistler’s Dave Murray and Stephanie Sloan), and Alyssa Wilson.

Skeleton — Newcomers Steve Delane and Angela Shoniker are not on the team officially, but are working to be included in time for 2010.

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