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The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, will be held February 12-28, 2010 in Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker, with some events held in the resort town of Whistlermarker nearby. Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are being organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).

The 2010 Winter Olympics will be the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia. Previously, Canada was home to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montrealmarker and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgarymarker. These will also be the first games to be held in an NHL market since the league allowed its players to participate starting at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Following Olympic tradition, then Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan received the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torinomarker, Italymarker. The flag was raised on February 28, 2006, in a special ceremony, and will be on display at Vancouver City Hallmarker until the Olympic opening ceremony. The event will be officially opened by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.

Bid

2010 Winter Olympics bidding results
City NOC Name Round 1 Round 2
Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker 40 56
PyeongChangmarker 51 53
Salzburgmarker 16 -


The Canadian Olympic Association chose Vancouver as the Canadian candidate city over Calgary, which sought to re-host the games and Quebec Citymarker, which had lost the 2002 Olympic bid in 1995. On the first round of voting on November 21, 1998, Vancouver-Whistler had 26 votes, Quebec City with 25 and Calgary 21. On December 3, 1998, the second and final round of voting occurred between the two leading contenders, which saw Vancouver win with 40 votes compared to Quebec City's 32. The win allowed Vancouver to prepare its bid and begin lobbying efforts internationally.

After the bid bribing scandal that took place with the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake Citymarker (which saw Quebec City asking for compensation (CDN$8 million) for their failed 2002 bid), 1999 saw many of the rules around the bidding process change. The IOC created the Evaluation Commission which was appointed on October 24, 2002. Prior to the bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympics, often host cities would fly members of the IOC to their city where they toured the city and were provided with gifts from the city. The lack of oversight and transparency often led to allegations of money for votes. Afterward, changes brought forth by the IOC bidding rules were tightened, and more focused on technical aspects of candidate cities. The team analysed the candidate city features and provided its input back to the IOC. The bid books from the three candidate cities were submitted in January 2003 and inspections occurred before May 2003, when the final report was submitted.

Vancouver won the bidding process to host the Olympics by a vote of the International Olympic Committeemarker on July 2, 2003, at the 115th IOC Session held in Praguemarker, Czech Republicmarker. The result was announced by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Vancouver faced two other finalists shortlisted that same February: PyeongChangmarker, South Koreamarker, and Salzburgmarker, Austriamarker. Pyeongchang had the most votes of the three cities in the first round of voting, in which Salzburg was eliminated. In the run-off, all but two of the members who had voted for Salzburg voted for Vancouver. It was the closest vote by the IOC since Sydney, Australia beat Beijing for the 2000 Summer Olympics by 2 votes. Vancouver's victory came almost 2 years after Toronto's 2008 Summer Olympic bid was defeated by Beijing in a landslide vote.

Development and preparation

The Call for Volunteers program was launched on February 12, 2008, to find 25,000 volunteers. Tickets for the event were first available for purchase on October 3, 2008.

On February 12, 2009, the one year countdown to the beginning of the games started. The torch and uniform were unveiled. Jacques Rogge gave a brief speech from Vancouver inviting the world to come to Vancouver in 2010 for the 21st Winter Olympic games.The security budget for the 2010 Winter Olympics has been set at $900 million, a number which is more than five times the original $175 million estimate.

Construction

The initial problem Vancouver faced in winning the bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics was fundraising for construction of venues. The Bid Committee, and subsequently VANOC, arranged for commitments of investment on a 50/50 basis by the federal and provincial governments, primarily for amounts to cover venue construction costs. It later began to achieve sponsorships and donations from private corporations and institutions. Such commitments were made enthusiastically as a chance to build on the world prestige and real estate boom Vancouver already gained as host of Expo '86.

The expansion was a pledge of the BC government, and not the responsibility of VANOC. Construction of the rapid transit link between Richmond, the adjacent international airportmarker and downtown Vancouver was completed in Summer 2009 and opened to the public August 17, 2009. The BC government also indicated it would pay for a $600 million upgrade of the Sea-to-Sky Highway to accommodate increased traffic between Vancouver and Whistler, although this highway upgrade has been overdue for more than a decade and will still not meet the basic needs of the corridor.The three main venues – constructed at a cost of $580 million, about 23 percent above the 2003 bid forecasts – have already had their work largely completed. The $40-million Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadiummarker park, which will host curling, will be finished later this year.

The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) spent $16.6 million on upgrading facilities at Cypress Mountainmarker, which will host the freestyle (aerials, moguls, ski cross) and snowboarding events. The athletes' villages in Whistler and Vancouver are still under construction, as are the main media centre in Coal Harbour and its Whistler counterpart.

As of 2004, the operational cost of the 2010 Winter Olympics was estimated to be $1.354 billion. As of mid-2009 it is projected to be $1.76 billion, all raised from non-government sources, primarily through sponsorships and the auction of national broadcasting rights. $580 million is the taxpayer-supported budget to construct or renovate venues throughout Vancouver and Whistler, $200 million is expected to be spent for security, of which the Royal Canadian Mounted Policemarker (RCMP) is the lead agency. That number was later revealed to be in the region of $1 billion, an amount in excess of 5 times what was originally estimated.

Venues

Some venues, including the Richmond Olympic Ovalmarker, are at sea level, a rarity for the Winter Games. The 2010 Games will also be the first—Winter or Summer—to have an Opening Ceremony held indoors. Vancouver, which will be the most populous city ever to hold the Winter Games, will also be the warmest: in February, when the Games will be held, Vancouver has an average temperature of 4.8 °C (40.6 °F).

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at BC Place Stadiummarker. Competition venues in Greater Vancouver include Pacific Coliseummarker, Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centremarker, UBC Winter Sports Centremarker, Richmond Olympic Ovalmarker and Cypress Mountainmarker. GM Placemarker will play host to ice hockey events, but because corporate sponsorship is not allowed for an Olympic venue, it will be renamed Canada Hockey Place for the duration of the games. Competition venues in Whistler include Whistler Blackcombmarker, Whistler Olympic Parkmarker and Whistler Sliding Centremarker.

Marketing

A statue of Ilanaaq, located on Whistler Mountain


The 2010 Winter Olympics logo was unveiled on April 23, 2005 and is named Ilanaaq the Inunnguaq. Ilanaaq is the Inuktitut word for friend. The logo is based on the Inukshuk (stone landmark or cairn) built for the Northwest Territories Pavilion at Expo 86 and donated to the City of Vancouver after the event. It is now used as a landmark on English Bay Beach.

The mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games were introduced on November 27, 2007.After the unveiling, many people were displeased with the look of the new mascots because they represented a minority population of Vancouver.Inspired by traditional First Nations creatures, the mascots include:
  • Miga - A mythical sea bear, part orca and part kermode bear.
  • Quatchi - A sasquatch.
  • Sumi - An animal guardian spirit who wears the hat of the orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty Thunderbird and runs on the strong furry legs of the black bear.
  • Mukmuk - A Vancouver Islandmarker marmot.


Miga and Quatchi are mascots for the Olympic Games, while Sumi is the mascot for the Paralympic Games.

The Royal Canadian Mint is producing a series of commemorative coins celebrating the 2010 games, and in partnership with CTV - is also allowing users to vote on the Top 10 Canadian Olympic Winter Moments; where designs honoring the top 3 will be added to the series of coins.

Broadcasting

Vancouver 2010 will be broadcast worldwide by a number of television broadcasters. As rights for the 2010 games have been packaged with those for the 2012 Summer Olympics, broadcasters will be largely identical for both events.

The host broadcaster will be Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver, a subsidiary of the IOC's new in-house broadcasting unit Olympic Broadcasting Services. The 2010 Olympics marks the first games where the host broadcasting facilities will be provided solely by OBS.

The executive director of Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver is Nancy Lee, a former producer and executive for CBC Sports.

Torch relay

The clock counting down to the opening of the Olympics in downtown Vancouver
The Olympic Torch Relay is the transfer of the Olympic flame from Ancient Olympia, Greecemarker — where the first Olympic Games were held thousands of years ago — to the stadium of the city hosting the current Olympic Games. The flame arrives just in time for the Opening Ceremony.

For the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the flame was lit in Olympia on October 22, 2009.It will then travel from Greecemarker, over the North Polemarker to Canada's High Arctic and on to the West Coast and Vancouver. The relay will start its long Canada journey from the British Columbia capital of Victoriamarker. The Olympic Torch will be carried by thousands of Canadians of all ages and cultural backgrounds: on foot, dog sled, snowmobile, horse, plane and virtually every means of transport known to the people of Canada. The torch relay is said to be the longest in winter Olympic history and will travel across all of Canada on its journey to Vancouver.

On May 16, 2008, over $150 million in major renovations to the stadium were announced, including seat replacement, renovations to washrooms and concessions, and the replacement of the Teflon covering with a new retractable roof. These major renovations will be done in two phases. The first phase which includes upgrades to seating, washrooms and concessions and luxury suites is scheduled to be completed prior to the 2010 Olympic Games. The proposed retractable roof is being planned for after the games in 2011; however, upgrades are planned for the existing roof prior to the Olympics opening.

The Games

Participating nations

The number of National Olympic Committees that will enter teams in the 2010 Winter Olympics is still unknown, but projected to be over 80. The nations listed here have already qualified athletes to the games. Nations will be added as they qualify at least one athlete or team. Fifty-seven nations have qualified as of November 12, 2009. Of those Ghanamarker, Bahamasmarker and the Cayman Islandsmarker will make their winter Olympic débuts. Tonga has also expressed its hope to make its Winter Olympic début.

  • (host)






Sports

Eighty-six winter sports events have been announced as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The eight sports categorized as ice sports are: bobsled, luge, skeleton, ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, short track speed skating and curling. The three sports categorized as alpine, skiing and snowboarding events are: alpine, freestyle and snowboarding. The four sports categorized as Nordic events are: biathlon, cross country skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined.









The opening and closing ceremonies and the events categorized as ice sports (excluding bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) will be held in Vancouver and Richmond. The sports categorized as "Nordic events" will be held in the Callaghan Valley located just to the west of Whistler. All alpine skiing events will be held on Whistler Mountainmarker (Creekside) and sliding events (bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) will be held on Blackcomb Mountainmarker. Cypress Mountainmarker (located in Cypress Provincial Parkmarker in West Vancouvermarker) will host the 2010 freestyle skiing (aerials, moguls, and ski cross), and all 2010 snowboard events (half-pipe, parallel giant slalom, snowboard cross).

Vancouver 2010 will also be the first winter Olympics in which both men's and women's hockey will be played on a narrower, NHL-sized ice rink, measuring 200 ft × 85 ft (61 m × 26 m), instead of the international size of 200 ft × 98.5 ft (61 m × 30 m). The games will be played at General Motors Placemarker, home of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks and which will be temporarily renamed Canada Hockey Place for the duration of the Olympics. This change is expected to save $10 million (CAD) in construction costs and allow an additional 35,000 spectators to attend Olympic hockey games. The Canucks themselves will be affected by the Olympics, having to undergo the longest road trip in NHL history, with 14 games over 6 weeks, from January 27 to March 13, 2010 to allow GM Place to be used for the games.

There were a number of events proposed to be included in the 2010 Winter Olympics. On November 28, 2006, the IOC Executive Board at their meeting in Kuwaitmarker voted to include skicross in the official program. The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) subsequently approved the event to be officially part of the Games program.

Events up for inclusion but were ultimately rejected included:

The issue over women's ski jumping being excluded ended up in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver during April 21-24, 2009 with a verdict on 10 July 2009 excluding women's ski jumping from the 2010 Games though there is now effort to include the games for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochimarker, Russiamarker. To alleviate the exclusion, VANOC organizers invited women from all over Canada to participate at Whistler Olympic Park, including Continential Cup in January 2009.

Calendar

In the following calendar for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport are held. Each bullet in these boxes is an event final, the number of bullets per box representing the number of finals that will be contested on that day.

 ●  Opening ceremony     Event competitions  ●  Event finals     Exhibition gala  ●  Closing ceremony


February 12
F
13
S
14
S
15
M
16
T
17
W
18
T
19
F
20
S
21
S
22
M
23
T
24
W
25
T
26
F
27
S
28
S
Gold
medals
Alpine skiing 10
Biathlon 10
Bobsleigh 3
Cross-country skiing 12
Curling 2
Figure skating 4
Freestyle skiing 6
Ice hockey 2
Luge 3
Nordic combined 3
Short track 8
Skeleton 2
Ski jumping 3
Snowboarding 6
Speed skating 12
Total gold medals 6 6 5 6 7 5 4 6 6 4 4 6 5 7 7 2 86
Ceremonies
February 12
F
13
S
14
S
15
M
16
T
17
W
18
T
19
F
20
S
21
S
22
M
23
T
24
W
25
T
26
F
27
S
28
S


Concerns and controversies

2009 H1N1 pandemic

There have been concerns that the H1N1 virus could spread among spectators, staff, and athletes during the games. Organizers are stockpiling vaccine and placing a high priority on vaccinating all volunteers. While each country is responsible for the vaccination of its' own athletic delegation, Vancouver health officials have strongly recommended all athletes, spectators, and other visitors be vaccinated. Some Olympic Committees are requiring their delegations to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu.

Women's ski jumping

The IOC voted in 2006 not to include women's ski jumping in the 2010 Games, on the grounds that the sport was not yet developed enough and did not meet basic criteria for inclusion. The members of the Canadian Women Ski Jumping Team filed a grievance with the Canadian Human Rights Board citing gender discrimination. So far the IOC has yet to comment or change its decision.

According to lobby group Women's Ski Jumping USA, a group composed of "some of the top women ski jumpers", filed a Statement of Claim with the Supreme Court of British Columbia suing the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for excluding women ski jumpers from the Vancouver games claiming that their rights were violated according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, on June 10, 2009, the Supreme Court ruled against the group, stating that though the women were being discriminated against, the issue is an International Olympic Committee responsibility, and thus is not governed by the Charter, and finally, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to VANOC.

Vancouver Athlete's Village

The athlete's villagemarker located at Southeast False Creek was originally planned to be a model sustainable community, with state of the art energy efficiency provisions, and a mix of market and social housing, at one third market, one third social housing and one third subsidized middle income housing. The City of Vancouver would break even through the sale of market housing. However, a new city council in 2005 dropped the provisions for subsidized middle income housing and then sold the lands to a private developer for 193 million dollars. Further controversy erupted when the private developer and its associated investment company backed out of the project, forcing the City of Vancouver to bear the liability, which resulted in the resignation of a city planner in protest and saw the city seek special legislation making changes to its charter to allow it to borrow money to finance completion of the project.

Opening ceremonies content

On August 22, 2008 The Globe and Mail reported that the Harper government intended to tie funding to the opening ceremonies to control over content. This was widely criticized as reflecting policies of interfering with the arts and exercising ideological control. However, the vice-president of communications for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, Renée Smith-Valade, said the government was not bringing politics into the 2010 games and will not have veto power over any part of the Olympic ceremonies.

Use of O Canada lyrics

VANOC controversially trademarked lines from the Canadian national anthem to serve as the slogan for the 2010 games, and also began protecting its brand as contractually obligated by the International Olympic Committee and its marketing partners, filing lawsuits against residents attempting to register domain names related to the games. The VANOC also sued local businesses for using "olympic" in their names, including already-extant establishments. The Canadian House of Commons also granted protection for various terms surrounding the games. However, VANOC made a statement regarding the trademark, stating that they would only challenge usage of the lines if they are attempting to "create a specific, unauthorized commercial association with the 2010 Winter Games," dubbed 'ambush marketing'. In addition, the anthem is also in the public domain, meaning it can be generally used by anyone.

Security and civil rights

In June 2009, the Olympics Resistance Network accused the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit's (VISU) Joint Intelligence Group of "abusive and unlawful conduct" after allegedly harassing VANOC opposition activists. Concerns over policing methods have also been raised because of the head of Olympic security, RCMP Asst. Commissioner Gary Russell "Bud" Mercer, was part of the RCMP forces that blew up a truck in course of the Gustafsen Lake Standoffmarker. Mercer was also among the RCMP who pepper-sprayed protests at the 1997 APEC conference at UBC, personally spraying a CBC cameraman and his camera, and also was part of the "War in the Woods" against tree-sit protestors in the Elaho Valley.

In October 2009, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbiamarker through the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2009, gave host municipalities (Richmondmarker, Vancouvermarker & Whistlermarker) the power to enter residences and other private property to seize signs that are deemed to be "anti-olympic", between February 1 and March 31, 2010.Another amendment changed the Vancouver Charter to allow for fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 6 months for sign and bylaw violations.

Opposition



Opposition to holding the 2010 Olympic Games in VancouverWatch-dog websites:

  • has been expressed by hundreds of activists and politicians, including Lower Mainlandmarker Mayors Derek Corrigan and Richard Waltonmarker. Many of the public Olympic events held to date in Vancouver have been attended by protesters. Environmental protests at Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouvermarker resulted in the arrest of over 20 people, and jail time for two local women, Betty Krawczyk and Harriet Nahanee. Protesters have also vandalized branches of the Royal Bank of Canada, an Olympic sponsor, in Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria.


There are several reasons for the opposition, some of which are outlined in the documentary film Five Ring Circus. These issues include:
  • The large expense to taxpayers, estimated in 2007 to be CAN$580 million. After the stock market crash of 2008, there are increasing concerns that Games-related projects will not meet their economic targets. The Olympic Village development, for example, was originally intended to make a profit, but one critic estimates it will be millions in debt. Olympic organizers have not confirmed that this estimate is accurate.
  • The destruction of the natural environment, particularly at Eagleridge Bluffs.
  • The loss of affordable housing in Vancouver. The Anti-Poverty Committee has promised that they would target VANOC officials in their homes and businesses, and on May 22, 2007, "evicted" the British Columbia Cabinet and VANOC officials by trashing their offices in downtown Vancouver.
  • Use by the provincial government of the Olympics to force through a $2 billion private-public partnership-funded rapid transit link from Downtown Vancouver to the Vancouver International Airport, over other transit options.


There is opposition to the Olympics amongst indigenous people and their supporters. Although the Lil'wat branch of the St'at'imc Nation is a co-host of the games, a splinter group from the Seton band known as the St’at’imc of Sutikalh, who have also opposed the Cayoosh Ski Resort, fear the Olympics will once again bring unwanted tourism and real estate sales to their territory. On another front, local First Nations people as well as Canadian Inuit expressed concern over the choice of an inukshuk as the symbol of the Games, with some Inuit leaders such as former Nunavutmarker Commissioner Peter Irniq stating that the inukshuk is a culturally important symbol to them. He said that the "Inuit never build inuksuit with head, legs and arms. I have seen inuksuit build [sic] more recently, 100 years maybe by non-Inuit in Nunavut, with head, legs and arms. These are not called inuksuit. These are called inunguat, imitation of man." Local First Peoples also expressed annoyance that the design did not reflect the Coast Salish and Interior Salish native culture from the region the Games are being held in, but rather that of the Inuit, who are indigenous to the Arctic far from Vancouver. One chief, Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, also said that the design lacked dignity, comparing it to Pac-Man. Edward John, Grand Chief of the First Nations Summit, said some native leaders were so upset about the issue they were prepared to walk out of the unveiling ceremony. The First Nations governments of the Squamish, Musqueam, Lil'wat and Tsleil-Waututh (the "Four Host Nations"), on whose traditional territory the games will be held, signed a protocol in 2004 in support of the games.

See also



Footnotes and references

  1. “14 circulating coins included in 2010 Olympic program”, Bret Evans, Canadian Coin News, January 23 to February 5, 2007 issue of Canadian Coin News
  2. OBSV Introduction
  3. "Nancy Lee leaving CBC Sports", cbc.ca, October 10, 2006.
  4. "Wanted: strong, athletic, Tongan, looking for an icy challenge", Matangi Tonga, November 17, 2008
  5. "Even cooler runnings as Tonga take up luge", Sydney Morning Herald, November 21, 2008.
  6. http://www.thestar.com/sports/olympics/article/648265
  7. http://www.mongolia-web.com/sports
  8. http://nocnsf.nl/nocnsf.nl/olympische-droom/olympische-spelen/genomineerden/genomineerden
  9. Vancouver2010.com 10 July 2009 article on the exclusion of women's ski jumping from the 2010 Games. - accessed 11 July 2009.
  10. http://www.gamesbids.com/eng/other_news/1216134522.html
  11. http://www.king5.com/health/Vancouver-2010---Preparing-for-H1N1-69243187.html
  12. http://www.sports-city.org/news_details.php?news_id=9850&idCategory=40
  13. http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=8956791
  14. http://www.ctvolympics.ca/ski-jumping/news/newsid=12739.html#no+female+flight+2010?cid=rssctv CTV Olympics - No female flight in 2010: B.C. court rejects ski jump bid
  15. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/07/10/bc-olympic-women-ski-jump-decision.html CBC - NFemale ski jumpers lose Olympic battle
  16. Kear, M. 2007, Spaces of transtion spaces of tomorrow: Making a sustainable future in Southeast False Creek In Vancouver Cities Vol. 24, No. 4, 324–334
  17. Vancouver releases secret Olympic Village documents, Bob Mackin, The Tyee, June 19, 2009
  18. Olympics' Top Cop Helped Blow up Truck at Gustafsen Stand-off, Geoff Dembicki and Bob Mackin, Vancouver 24 Hours, Today, TheTyee.ca. October 19, 2009
  19. Mercer Blasted APEC Protesters with Pepper Spray, Bob Mackin, Vancouver 24 hours and Geoff Dembicki, The Tyee, October 22, 2009
  20. MISCELLANEOUS STATUTES AMENDMENT ACT, 2009
  21. BCCLA condemns unlucky B.C. Government Bill 13
  22. 4HN_Protocol_Final_Nov 24.pub
  23. Four Host First Nations Society - Vancouver 2010 - About Us


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