Press Release

VANOC meeting focuses on Games-time readiness

Updates included new torch relay communities and Phase 2 ticket sales

The VANOC board meeting on May 20 discussed readiness, the torch relay and tickets.
The VANOC board meeting on May 20 discussed readiness, the torch relay and tickets. (courtesy VANOC)

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(05/20/2009) - VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The board of directors for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games met Wednesday in Vancouver for its third meeting of 2009. In addition to standing agenda items, discussions also covered VANOC's intensive Games-time readiness planning and ongoing financial management in the current economy. Updates were also provided on Phase 2 of Olympic ticket sales and new communities added to the Olympic Torch Relay route.

"With less than nine months to go, important milestones are now around every corner, and Games-time planning is a key focus for management," said Jack Poole, chairman of the board. "As with all companies, the economy continues to be a big focus. Planning for and operating Olympic and Paralympic Games in this uncertain climate calls for daily scrutiny. VANOC's management team continues to review costs and revenues with a relentless focus on prudence."

The board also received an update on Phase 2 of Olympic ticket sales. Over 150,000 Olympic tickets will go on sale at www.vancouver2010.com on June 6, including several thousand tickets for each of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The lion's share of sport tickets are for ice hockey and curling, but tickets will be available for all sports. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so the public is encouraged to set up an account in advance at www.vancouver2010.com if they have not previously done so. Ticket prices remain unchanged from Phase 1 pricing.

"We were pleased today to confirm to the board that thousands of tickets will be available to the Canadian public next month and that the Olympic Flame will pass through more Canadian communities than originally planned. Canadians will continue to have more opportunities like this to engage in the Games in the coming months," said VANOC Chief Executive Officer John Furlong.

"We're continuing to try and strike the right balance between fiscal realities in these difficult times and our overarching commitment to deliver a great experience for everyone at the Games," he added.

With only 165 days until the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, VANOC confirmed Wednesday the route has been finalized with the addition of 19 more communities. Three previously announced stops along the route have also been promoted to hosting Olympic Flame celebrations.

The 19 new route communities are Lac La Hache, British Columbia; Pender Harbour, British Columbia; Qualicum (FN/PN), British Columbia; Qualicum Bay, British Columbia; Xaxli'p, British Columbia; Gleichen, Alberta; Torrington, Alberta; Cochin, Saskatchewan; Creemore, Ontario; Iskatewizaagegan No. 39, Ontario; Kakabeka Falls, Ontario; White River, Ontario; Upsala, Ontario; Vermilion Bay, Ontario; Blainville, Quebec; Masson-Angers, Quebec; Saint-Prosper-de-Beauce, Quebec; Hopedale, Newfoundland and Labrador; and Ausuittuq (Grise Fiord), Nunavut. The three new celebration communities are Cold Lake, Alberta; Canadian Forces Station Alert, Nunavut; and Qausuittuq (Resolute Bay), Nunavut. For information on specific dates, visit www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay.

The board also received the following updates:
• Report of the Finance Committee: A number of contracts were approved in principle, and management was delegated authority to finalize the details of such contracts. VANOC will post further information at www.vancouver2010.com once the contracts are finalized.
• Venue Construction: Dr. Penny Ballem provided an update to the Finance Committee on the positive progress being made on construction of the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver. VANOC expects to start its tenant fit-out of commercial spaces in August. At the Olympic and Paralympic Village Whistler, occupancy permits have been obtained for 60 of the town homes, and final finishing is underway on three of the four core apartment buildings. The Trout Lake training venue achieved substantial completion and received its occupancy permit in April, while the Killarney training center is also substantially complete and expected to receive its occupancy permit within the next two weeks.
• Paralympic Torch Relay: The Paralympic Torch Relay route will be announced in late June at an event in Vancouver with Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee. The announcement will focus on the lighting ceremony location, torchbearer uniform and torch designs, as well as the unveiling of the first ever Paralympic Torch Relay logo.
• Litigation Update: An update was provided to the board regarding the recently completed women's ski jumping trial. A decision by the presiding judge is expected in the coming months.
• Sport: Along with transferring knowledge between functions and debriefing senior management on key learnings from sport events, the ice hockey department is planning for the final sport event: Hockey Canada Cup -- Women's Hockey at Canada Hockey Place from August 31-September 6. Tickets are on sale now at www.hockeycanada.ca.
• Venue Management: Walkthroughs are currently being conducted at all venues to establish consistent and economic planning, validate levels of service and study challenges.
• Venue Leadership: Good progress has been made by VANOC in appointing key leadership positions for the pre-Games and Games-time operations of all venues, including sport venues and the Vancouver and Whistler Villages. More details will be provided in the coming weeks.
• Workforce: More than 21,000 Games-times volunteers have been interviewed and offers for confirmed Games-time roles have started.
• Sponsorship: VANOC has signed $753.3 million in sponsorship revenue, achieving 99 percent of its revenue target.
• Contributing Province/Territory Program: The Northwest Territories joined the program in April. VANOC is continuing negotiations and discussions with the remaining provinces and expects to announce them in the near future.
• Strategic Communications Steering Committee: The board received an update on the sale of Paralympic tickets, as well as the communications strategy for Phase 2 of Olympic ticket sales. They also received an update on the Games-time Web site concept for www.vancouver2010.com.

The next VANOC board meeting will be held on July 15, 2009.