2010 Winter Olympics
|XXI Olympic Winter Games|
|The 2010 Winter Olympics logo, |
named Ilanaaq the Inukshuk.
|Host city||Vancouver, BC, Canada|
|Motto||With glowing hearts/ |
Des plus brillants exploits
|Nations participating||80+ (projected)|
|Athletes participating||5,500 (projected)|
|Events||86 in 7 sports|
|Opening ceremony||February 12|
|Closing ceremony||February 28|
|Officially opened by||Governor General Michaëlle Jean|
|Stadium||BC Place Stadium|
|2010 Winter Olympics|
|IOC · COC · VANOC|
The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, will be a major international multi-sport event held on February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the resort town of Whistler, British Columbia and in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond. 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 Montreal, Quebec and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.
Following Olympic tradition, then Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan received the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. The flag was raised on February 28, 2006, in a special ceremony, and will be on display at Vancouver City Hall until the Olympic opening ceremony. The event will be officially opened by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
Bid and preparations
|2010 Winter Olympics bidding results|
|City||NOC Name||Round 1||Round 2|
The Canadian Olympic Association chose Vancouver as the Canadian candidate city over Calgary, which sought to re-host the games and Quebec City, 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 City (which saw Quebec City asking for compensation (C$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 Committee on July 2, 2003, at the 115th IOC Session held in Prague, Czech Republic. The result was announced by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Vancouver faced two other finalists shortlisted that same February: PyeongChang, South Korea, and Salzburg, Austria. 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.
The British Columbia 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.
The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) spent $16.6 million on upgrading facilities at Cypress Mountain, which will host the freestyle (aerials, moguls, ski cross) and snowboarding events. The athletes' villages in Whistler and Vancouver are now complete, as are the main media centre in Coal Harbour and its Whistler counterpart.
With the opening in February 2009 of the $40-million Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre at Hillcrest Park which will host curling, every sports venue for the 2010 games was completed on time and at least one year prior to the games.
In 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 was expected to be spent for security, of which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the lead agency. That number was later revealed to be in the region of $1 billion, an amount in excess of five times what was originally estimated. As of the start of February 2010, the total cost of the Games, including all the infrastructure improvements for the region that occurred is estimated to be $6 billion, with $600 million of the spending directly related to hosting the games. Projected benefits and revenues to the city and province are projected to be in the range of $10 billion, with a Price-Waterhouse report indicating that the projected direct revenues will be in the range of $1 billion.
Some venues, including the Richmond Olympic Oval, 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 Stadium, which received over $150 million in major renovations. Competition venues in Greater Vancouver include the Pacific Coliseum, the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre, the UBC Winter Sports Centre, the Richmond Olympic Oval and Cypress Mountain. GM Place, home of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, 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. Renovations include the removal of advertising from the ice surface and conversion of some seating to accommodate the media. Competition venues in Whistler include the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, the Whistler Olympic Park and the Whistler Sliding Centre.
The 2010 Winter Games will mark the first time that the energy consumption of the Olympic venues will be tracked in real-time and available to the public. Energy data will be collected from the metering and building automation systems of nine of the Olympic venues and is being displayed online through the Venue Energy Tracker project.
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.
- Miga — A mythical sea bear, part orca and part kermode bear.
- Quatchi — A sasquatch, who wears boots and earmuffs.
- 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 Island marmot.
Miga and Quatchi are mascots for the Olympic Games, while Sumi is the mascot for the Paralympic Games. Mukmuk is considered a sidekick, not a full mascot.
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 three will be added to the series of coins.
Vancouver 2010 is a video game modeled after the Olympic Games in Vancouver. It was released on January 12, 2010 to promote the upcoming Olympics Games.
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.
In Canada, the games will be the first Olympic Games broadcast by a new consortium led by CTVglobemedia and Rogers Media, displacing previous broadcaster CBC Sports. Main English-language coverage will be shown on the CTV Television Network, while supplementary programming will be mainly shown on TSN and Rogers Sportsnet.
In the United States, Associated Press (AP) plans to send 120 reporters, photographers, editors and videographers to cover the games on behalf of the country's news media. The cost of their Olympics coverage has prompted AP to make a "real departure for the wire service's online coverage. Rather than simply providing content, it is partnering with more than 900 newspapers and broadcasters who will split the ad revenue generated from an AP-produced multi-media package of video, photos, statistics, stories and a daily Webcast." AP's coverage includes a microsite with web widgets facilitating integration with social networking and bookmarking services.[22
The Olympic Torch Relay is the transfer of the Olympic flame from Ancient Olympia, Greece — 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 Greece, over the North Pole 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 Victoria. In Canada, the torch will travel approximately 45,000 kilometers over 106 days, making it the longest relay route within one country in Olympic history. The Olympic Torch will be carried by approximately 12,000 Canadians and reach over 1000 communities.
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. Cayman Islands, Colombia, Ghana, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru and Serbia will make their winter Olympic débuts. Also Jamaica, Mexico and Morocco will return to the games after missing the 2006 Winter Olympics. Tonga sought to make its Winter Olympic début by entering a single competitor in luge, attracting some media attention, but he crashed in the final round of qualifying. Luxembourg qualified two athletes but one did not reach the criteria set by the NOC and the other was injured before the games. Hence Luxembourg will not take part.
The following nations which competed at the previous Winter Games in Turin will not participate in Vancouver:
Fifteen 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 Mountain (Creekside) and sliding events (bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) will be held on Blackcomb Mountain. Cypress Mountain (located in Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver) 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 Place, 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.
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 Kuwait 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 proposed for inclusion but ultimately rejected included:
- Biathlon mixed relay
- Mixed doubles curling
- Team alpine skiing
- Team bobsled and skeleton
- Team luge
- Women's ski jumping
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. A request to appeal that verdict to the Supreme Court of Canada was subsequently denied on Dec 22, 2009 - a decision that marked the end of any hopes that the event would be held during Vancouver 2010. To alleviate the exclusion, VANOC organizers invited women from all over Canada to participate at Whistler Olympic Park, including Continential Cup in January 2009. There is now effort to include the games for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
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|
|Total gold medals||6||6||5||6||7||5||4||6||6||4||4||6||5||7||7||2||86|
Concerns and controversies
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 and the International Olympic Committee 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. In light of concerns, local British Columbia health officials plan to vaccinate participants and spectators for free during the duration of the games.
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 did not apply to VANOC, with the term, "In other words, VANOC is not under a duty to distribute equally what it has no power to provide."
Vancouver Athletes' Village
The athletes' village 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.
Leading up to the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee had ordered the removal of a two-storey high Australian boxing kangaroo flag which had been draped over a balcony in the athletes' village. The IOC ordered the flag to be taken down because they believed the image to be too commercial as it is a registered trademark (albeit of the Australian Olympic Committee). The order for removal was later withdrawn after IOC president Jacques Rogge met with AOC president John Coates.
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.
VANOC used lines from the Canadian national anthem to serve as the official slogans for the games ("with glowing hearts" in English and "des plus brilliants exploits" in French) and trademarked their use. 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". The anthem itself is in the public domain. VANOC 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-existent establishments. The House of Commons also passed laws granting protection for various terms surrounding the games.
Cypress Mountain Choice
Both critics and freestyle skiers have questioned the choice of Cypress Mountain as a venue due to its frequent lack of snow due to El Niño. Last year's World Cup parallel giant slalom was cancelled due to lack of snow. Currently the mountain is lacking enough snow for scheduled events and snow is being trucked in from Manning Park about 250 kilometres (160 mi) to the east of the city.
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Local media have been covering this issue for the home audience, the International media in British Columbia for the Olympics are broadcasting the issue of homelessness to audiences back home. Since 2001 the homeless population in Vancouver has tripled to approximately 3600.
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 Standoff. 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 Columbia through the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2009, gave host municipalities (Richmond, Vancouver and Whistler) 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.
Privacy rights advocates, including Chantal Bernier, assistant federal privacy commissioner, are concerned about the implementation of 900 security cameras placed by the RCMP Olympic Integrated Security Unit plus another 100 security cameras placed by the City of Vancouver in the Downtown area.
Border security questioning
A number of incidents in which people crossing the Canada – United States border were detained and questioned by the Canada Border Services Agency on political grounds have also been documented. The most notable of these, so far, was American Public Radio broadcaster Amy Goodman, who had been on her way to Vancouver to promote her book and was unaware of the Olympics. Her harrassment at the border received worldwide coverage.
Foreclosure of Whistler resort owner Intrawest
Creditors holding $1.4 billion in debt on Intrawest, the owners of the Whistler Blackcomb Resort, were reported on January 20, 2010, as being ready to foreclose on the resort as part of the creditor, investment bank Lehman Brothers, attempting to recover debts owed it by major creditors, including Fortress Investments, the owner of Intrawest and Whistler Blackcomb since 2006. Despite guarantees from VANOC and the Canadian government of $50 million to keep Intrawest afloat during the Games, there are doubts that the Canadian government will be forthcoming. A private source connected to Wesley Edens, owner of Fortress Investments, has said that Edens may exercise his right in that circumstance to prevent the Games from happening at the resort. VANOC sources say this is unlikely to happen since the creditors would have no reason to diminish the value of the resort that would be enhanced by hosting a prestige event, and also because of the short time-frame of the impending Games relative to the length of the legal proceedings of any auction of Fortress' assets. Fortress is also the company which backed out of the original funding arrangements for the Athletes' Village in Vancouver, and the re-financing of that project by emergency legislation and the involvement of Fortress' subsidiary, Millennium.
Opposition to holding the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver has been expressed by hundreds of activists and politicians, including Lower Mainland Mayors Derek Corrigan and Richard Walton. Many of the public Olympic events held to date in Vancouver have been attended by protesters. Environmental protests at Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver 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 and in Helen Jefferson Lenskyj's books Olympic Industry Resistance (2007) and Inside the Olympic Industry (2000). 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 commented on this estimate.
- The destruction of the natural environment, particularly at Eagleridge Bluffs to build a new highway. According to critics, despite claims of the “greenest Olympics” ever, and statements about "sustainability", the 2010 Olympics will be among the "most environmentally destructive" in history.
- Exploitation of women with the increase of human trafficking for the purpose of forced prostitution.
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 aboriginal 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 Nunavut 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 aboriginal groups 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 aboriginal governments of the Squamish, Musqueam, Lil'wat and Tsleil-Waututh (the "Four Host First Nations"), on whose traditional territory the games will be held, signed a protocol in 2004 in support of the games.