Olympics moving into operational phase 

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Piston Bully was chosen by VANOC following a bidding process two years ago. There are only two companies that provide this type of machinery, Piston Bully and Bombardier.

Tim Gayda, VANOC’s vice president sport, said the new design of alpine courses in particular lends itself to using machines to move snow rather than man-power.

“(Snow cats) have played a big role in getting the races off,” he said. “It is a very important piece of equipment for sport.”

All but the four cats at Whistler Olympic Park are on varying lease agreements and will be returned after the Games.

The Callaghan cats, which were purchased, will stay as a legacy, said Gayda.

  The financials also show the popularity of the 2010 mascots, Sumi, Quatchi and Miga. More than 103,000 mascot stuffies have been shipped to retailers since their launch last November.

The report shows that by the end of January more than $7.3 million had been collected in licensing and merchandise revenues. More than $1 million was from the mascots — that total does not include sales over Christmas.

Meanwhile Olympic organizers got more support from business and government in the last week.

On Tuesday B.C. Hydro announced that it would be an Official Supporter of the 2010 Olympics and will provide the resources to supply clean power for the Games. In addition, through its Power Smart programs, B.C. Hydro will work with VANOC to ensure the Games are energy-efficient and promote energy conservation across B.C.

It is estimated that broadcasting the Games will be the equivalent of eight to 10 Super Bowls simultaneously for 17 days. VANOC will need high levels of reliable energy to meet this demand.

Part of the support is based on new energy conservation initiatives from B.C. Hydro.

YVR also became the first airport in the history of the Games to become a sponsor in the Official Supplier category.

“YVR provides the perfect opportunity for us to welcome the world in 2010,” said Furlong at the announcement March 13.

The province of Manitoba also signed a “contributing province agreement” with VANOC Monday.

“The 2010 Games are an opportunity for provinces like Manitoba, as well as Canada, to showcase their local talent to the world,” said Manitoba Premier Gary Doer.

Manitoba’s Olympic plans include, establishing a Manitoba House in Vancouver during the Games to showcase local athletes and cultural performers, organizing a Manitoba Day at the Games to promote the province, and developing a Manitoba portion of the torch relay.

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