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  • Press Release: VANOC begins select operational and field-of-play testing at short track speed skating Sport Event


     VANCOUVER, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will begin testing its
    operational readiness in a number of areas at the official Sport Event for short track speed skating, taking place at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver,
    BC from October 24 to 26.

    More than 180 of the world's best short track speed skating athletes, along with approximately 90 coaches and support staff from
    25 countries, will begin training on October 21. Competition begins on October 24 with the ladies' and men's 500 metre, 1,000 metre, 1,500 metre and
    relay heats.

    Sport Events are international competitions, such as World Cups or World Championships, being held at 2010 Winter Games competition venues in Vancouver and Whistler in 2008 and early 2009.
    These events provide VANOC with the opportunity to test Games-time operations, train potential Games-time volunteers and offer the Canadian public a chance to experience the sports that will be showcased at the 2010 Winter Games.

    "Sport Events are an important resource for us as they provide us with the valuable opportunity to test a number of our Games-time operations," said
    Tim Gayda, VANOC's vice president, sport. "For the short track Sport Event, we will test numerous areas of venue operations and the field of play, while also working with the International Skating Union (ISU), Speed Skating Canada (SSC) and the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in delivering a world class event."

    "Competing in front of a Canadian crowd in Vancouver before the 2010 Winter Games is a great opportunity for our whole team," said Canada's
    Fran├žois-Louis Tremblay, three-time short track speed skating Olympic medallist and five-time medallist during the 2007-08 World Cup season.

     "We are all working extremely hard on our road to 2010, and we welcome every chance possible to get accustomed to the competition venue while sharing our sport with the people of Vancouver."

    "The PNE is very excited to have the short track speed skating World Cup here at the Pacific Coliseum," said Michael McDaniel, president and CEO of the
    Pacific National Exhibition.

    "We welcome all 25 teams to the venue and look very forward to showcasing this calibre of competition to Vancouverites."

    VANOC's testing will focus primarily on two areas: the field of play and overall venue operations.

    Field of Play:

    Ice and surrounding areas: The field of play for the short track Sport Event involves the ice and surrounding support areas.

    As the short track venue will use international-sized ice, modifications to the Pacific Coliseum's seating facilities and the removal of rink boards is required.


    Also being examined will be the Games-time transition between short track speed skating and figure skating, as both events will take place at the same
    venue, on alternating days, during the 2010 Winter Games.

     This transition necessitates numerous change-overs involving the pads (boards) required for each respective sport, the timing platform and judge's deck, venue infrastructure and ice temperature adjustments.


    The short track Sport Event will also include a "boardless" padding system to enclose the ice space. A similar padding system was used during the
    Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games and offers increased safety for the athletes as it is more flexible to impact than a stand-alone board system. The
    logistics involving the padding change-over will be tested by the operations team.

    Also being replicated will be the on/off ice procedures for skaters to ensure efficient mix zone practices, ice entry/exit and travel to and from the
    dressing rooms.

    Timing and scoring:

    Results Systems staff will be running a shadow system to test the timing and results platform.

    One system will record results used to determine athletes' times for the event, while the other will be used solely in a mock Games-time scenario, analyzing the data post-event.

    Medical services:

    The Medical Services team will be replicating the on-site athlete medical service levels at Games-time, with the exception of athlete village service
    levels which will not be in place until the 2010 Winter Games.

    Anti-Doping teams will be present at the event to educate and provide outreach to the athletes on VANOC's overall mission to promote the values of doping-free sport.

    Venue Operations

    The Venue Communications Centre will be fully operational allowing the Venue Operations team the opportunity to test how the venue will communicate
    through a central communications control hub.

    Testing will include radio frequencies, issues logging and incident tracking.


    Approximately 250 volunteers will be lending their time to make the event a success.
     Testing of volunteer operations will include training processes for volunteers and paid staff, volunteer check-in and meal distribution.


    Prior to athlete training, processes around venue delivery will be tested through an analysis of the delivery schedule for food and beverage as well as
    waste disposal pickup.

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