olympic inspection 

The Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics passed inspection this week, but then the Calgary and Quebec City bids are also expected meet the requirements to host the Games. "It’s a credible bid. There are very good people leading the bid," Mike Chambers, an Ottawa lawyer and one of two vice presidents of the Canadian Olympic Association, said of the Vancouver-Whistler bid. Chambers led a review committee that included six other COA members who toured the existing and proposed facilities for the Vancouver-Whistler bid on Monday and Tuesday. Chambers didn’t reveal very much about the review committee’s impressions of the Vancouver-Whistler bid, but emphasized it was not the committee’s job to evaluate the facilities. "Our job is to assure the (COA) board the cities bidding have all the necessary components to win an international bid," Chambers said, including an athletes’ village, infrastructure and sports venues. "We are a review committee, not an evaluation committee. We’re not here to rank the cities." Chambers said the review committee "probes, seeks answers and also assists the bid societies. It’s a very discursive review." Chambers said the Vancouver facilities are or can be brought up to grade for the Games, while "Whistler is known. It’s a high profile ski area." Craig MacKenzie, one of the Whistler representatives on the bid society board, said the review committee "gave us a lot of advice on how to improve the bid," but he declined to discuss specifics. "It was incredibly constructive," MacKenzie said. "They were asking questions and saying ‘have you thought of this.’ Their comments were all given in a very constructive manner." The Vancouver-Whistler bid society will take the committee’s comments into account as it revises its draft bid document. The official bid book will be submitted to COA members in October and a final presentation made in November. On Nov. 21 the 77 voting members of the COA will decide which of the three cities bidding for the 2010 Games has the right to carry Canada’s bid to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC will award the 2010 Games in 2003. After arriving in Vancouver Sunday the review committee reviewed the Vancouver facilities Monday before driving up to Whistler in the evening. On Tuesday they rode the lifts up Blackcomb and then flew by helicopter over Whistler Mountain and up the Callaghan Valley, where the Nordic events are proposed to be held, before returning to Blackcomb and then to the heliport. The committee flew by float plane from Whistler to Vancouver Tuesday afternoon and then flew to Calgary Tuesday evening. MacKenzie said the review committee was looking more at the concept the bid society is presenting, rather than examining every inch of each proposed ski run. Indeed, the only members of the review committee associated with winter sports are Pat Reid, former president of Curling Canada, and Steve Gough, a recently retired speed skater who is the athlete’s representative on the committee. The committee also included one representative from each of the three provinces bidding for the Games, as well as COA staff liaison Jim Murray.

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