Accessibility links

Vancouver Games Get High Marks for First Week

  • David Byrd

The 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver enter their final week Sunday. Local organizers have received high marks for the way the Games have gone so far.

The first eight days of the Winter Games in Vancouver have had plenty of controversy. Before the Games began, Georgian luge slider Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during practice.

The Whistler and Cypress Creek venues have been dealing with a lack of snow and warm temperatures. Some events have been rescheduled because of the warm weather.

Several thousand fans had their tickets to snowboarding and freestyle canceled because conditions were unsafe and Vancouver Organizers had to pay back more than $1 million to fans.

There were also complaints about a chain-link fence that surrounded the Olympic Cauldron. The fence has since been replaced with Plexiglas so fans can see and photograph the flame.

But despite the challenges, International Olympic Committee Executive Director for Olympic Games Gilbert Felli says that Vancouver organizers have done an excellent job.

"So altogether we are pleased now after eight days," said Felli. "Of course we still have got eight days to go, but there is no reason to believe that those next eight days will not operate as smoothly as we have done so far."

David Cobb is the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee deputy CEO. He says organizers plan to continue making every effort to solve problems with transportation, venues and other issues so everyone has a positive experience.

"The volunteer spirit is as high now as it was on the first day," noted Cobb. "They are smiling every day and I think enjoying what they are doing. And they are extremely proud of what they're doing. But all of us - volunteers, workforce, everybody involved - has to keep their eye on the ball, work hard right to the end. And we have to be as prepared as best as we possibly can."

Both the IOC and Games organizers know that significant challenges lay ahead. Several events are scheduled for the Whistler resort, as well as Cypress Mountain, but weather forecasters are calling for warm temperatures to continue. Once the Games end February 28, safely and effectively getting all fans, athletes, and officials out of Vancouver will be a huge task as well.

XS
SM
MD
LG