Report card from IOC 

International Olympic Committee evaluation team reports on 2010 candidate cities today

Is the Sea to Sky Highway a hurdle?

Is there enough accommodation in Whistler and will it be a boon or a bust to have a covered stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

We may get the answers to some of these questions today as the International Olympic Committee releases its report on the evaluation team’s visits to the three candidate cities earlier this year.

The 15-member team visited all three of the candidate cities from mid February to mid March.

It visited Pyeongchang, Korea, first, then Vancouver-Whistler, and Salzburg, Austria last.

Salzburg is generally considered the front runner with Vancouver, voted the second most livable city in the world last month, a close second.

During the evaluation team visit all three candidate cities were praised and all three had challenges identified.

The evaluation is rather like a prospective buyer looking over a new car. The buyer wants to make sure what’s purchased lives up to its promises and performs as expected.

In Pyeongchang the evaluation team, led by Gerhard Heiberg, commented on the Korean bid’s attention to detail – a must-have characteristic to host a successful Games.

"…Everything is going very, very well," said Heiberg of the visit to Pyeongchang’s venues.

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

But like all the bids the South Korean one faces challenges. They include a rail transport system that has yet to be built, a highway network that has not been tested, potentially limited accommodation options and venues that may be too far apart for spectators.

About half the facilities that would be needed don't exist. The government has pledged to build a high-speed rail link from Seoul to Pyeongchang but while that would speed people to and from the resort area, the roads are bad once you get there.

The South Korean bid committee doesn't seem daunted by the challenges and cites the country's record hosting other major sporting events.

When soccer's World Cup was held there last year, for example, South Korea spent nearly $1 billion US to build 10 new stadiums that many claim the country didn’t need and that have hardly been used since.

"Seoul doesn't even have a soccer team," says Bruce Dawson, a Canadian who worked as a public relations consultant to the World Cup organizers.

"And they weren't built to be used by other sports.

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