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  • Vancouver 2010 Board Talks Olympic Operations, Responds to Boycott Questions


    (ATR) A carbon emissions offset program, broadcast and management contracts and discussions of where to put the anti-doping laboratory needed for the Vancouver Olympics were among the major items for the latest meeting of the Vancouver 2010 board of directors.
    "I think there are always people who want to move other issues in front of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games are about the values of sport. It should be left to be what it is," says VANOC CEO John Furlong. (ATR)  

    But the thorny issue of a potential boycott of the Beijing Summer Games in light of China's crackdown in Tibet dominated questions from reporters at a post-meeting press conference on Wednesday.

    In a refrain similar to the position of the IOC, VANOC CEO John Furlong said a boycott would only serve to harm athletes.

    "If you are asking me personally, the answer I would give you is that I share the same concern that any other decent human being would share for anybody who is in harm's way," he said.

    "But what I am saying is that the Olympic Games is not the place to solve that. Sport is the one thing we all have . . . where young people get to come together and show mankind what can be done when people hold hands and stick together in front of the world."
    "I am being called by athletes saying please do not support a boycott," says VANOC director Charmaine Crooks. (ATR)  

    Former IOC member and current VANOC director Charmaine Crooks said she has never gotten over being excluded from the 1980 Moscow Games when Canada joined a U.S.-led boycott. She is now being lobbied by Canadian athletes who want her to do what she can to prevent another Olympic boycott.

    "I was a victim of boycotts in the past, and I know how it affected athletes and still does," she said.

    The federal and provincial governments, as well as the Canadian Olympic Committee have said they don't support a call for a boycott.

    Furlong said the board spent most of its time dealing with the domestic issues of putting on the Vancouver Games. It approved contract between Olympic Broadcast Services Vancouver and VANOC to provide host broadcast services for the Paralympic Games, and another one with Bell Canada for radio communications equipment.

    Directors were also told VANOC is in discussions with the IOC over the location of the Games-time anti-doping lab and will announce a decision soon. VANOC is believed to want to use the WADA-certified Montreal lab as a cost-saving measure, while the IOC is pushing for a lab in Vancouver.

    The board was briefed on Vancouver's new carbon management program that will identify how the committee will first reduce and then offset the total carbon emissions produced during the Olympics and Winter Paralympics.

    The announcement comes as VANOC plans to release its second of five annual sustainability reports at the end of March.

    With reporting by Jeff Lee in Vancouver

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