VANOC announces hiring of five top officials 

Priestner Allinger says discussions on location of alpine events is ongoing

By Clare Ogilive

The new senior vice president of sport for the 2010 Olympic Games said there are on-going discussions with the International Ski Federation about placing all the Olympic alpine events on Whistler Mountain.

"We will be discussing it," said Cathy Priestner Allinger, adding that there are a number of issues including scheduling, spectator numbers and facilities which have to be looked at before any decision can be reached.

The former Olympic speed skater has plenty of experience dealing with Games related issues. Most recently she was Managing Director of Games Operations for the 2006 Torino Olympic Games.

Priestner Allinger was also Managing Director of Sport for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games and is an Olympic Order recipient and inductee of the Canadian Hall of Fame and Olympic Hall of Fame.

Priestner Allinger was one of five new executives added to the organization running the 2010 Winter Olympics, VANOC, announced this week

They will take over the top positions of finance, human resources, Olympic planning, sport and venue development.

"I am really excited to come here," said Priestner Allinger.

"I think we will do a really great job with the Games. I think the world is going to love it here so it is great to be involved."

Her portfolio will touch on every aspect of the Games to do with the athletes. She will liase with all national and international sporting organizations, deal with all the events, as well as other responsibilities such as the operation of the athletes villages.

But, said Priestner Allinger, it’s likely her responsibilities will change as preparation for the Games continues.

"Some movement will occur for sure," she said from Vancouver, where she is planning on moving with her husband, a sport science researcher.

"There is no way we will look the same today as we do even a couple of years from now."

The contracts for the new senior positions, which offer between $200,000 and $250,000 in salary, continue until the Games are over and beyond.

John Furlong, chief executive of VANOC made the announcement this week in Vancouver.

"We have a blend of people who helped prepare Canada's successful 2010 Games bid and individuals who will bring new ideas and enthusiasm to our vision for an outstanding Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," he said.

"These appointments were made after a search that sparked interest from across the country and around the world. Our team mixes local expertise with international Games experience – it is a Canadian team for Canada's Games."

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