Praise for Salzburg bid sounds familiar 

IOC evaluation team meets this week to compare notes on 2010 Winter Games candidates

The International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission met this week in Lausanne, Switzerland to compare notes on its visit to the three candidate cities vying to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Its final report will be released May 2. But with the wrap up of the team’s visit to Salzburg, Austria, this week the focus now for all the candidate cities is winning the support of the IOC voters on decision day, July 2 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Salzburg was the last city to be evaluated.

"Our mission remains firm, which is to win the majority of votes on July 2 to bring the winter Games to Canada," said Sam Corea, spokesperson for the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation which hosted the evaluation team March 2 through 5.

"At every opportunity we are explaining the bid as we have always done, but the focus now is to make those 125 members or so say yes to 2010 in Vancouver and Whistler and we only need 51 per cent of them.

"Now whenever we speak locally or nationally it is international because people are watching They want to know what is going on in Vancouver."

Vancouver and Whistler are competing against Salzburg, and Pyeongchang, Korea to host the 2010 Games.

Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the evaluation team, praised all three-candidate cities for their plans during site visits conducted over the last two months.

"The verdict is in," Heiberg said in Vancouver. "(This city) will host the best Winter Games ever," if awarded the Winter Olympics.

In Austria Heiberg said, "There is no question about it, you have the best venues in the world.

"What we’ve seen and heard gives us a clear conviction that Salzburg could deliver a very good Games. We are leaving with a feeling that this city would be a great choice."

Pyeongchang was also commended.

"The presentations are excellent," said Heiberg during the team’s visit in mid-February.

"On our questions, the answers are excellent. So we are very happy."

But each candidate was also alerted to several challenges with their bid.

For Vancouver the challenges included the upgrade to the Sea to Sky Highway, accommodation in Whistler, the budget for security, and the proposal to host the opening and closing ceremonies inside at B.C. Place Stadium.

This week we learned what some of the challenges are for Salzburg, generally considered Vancouver’s chief rival.

The bid’s transportation operating budget needs, "much, much, more," said Heiberg.

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