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  • Vancouver View -- Olympic Caldron Alight, Furlong Book Tour; Russian Interest in Whistler


    07/01/10

    The cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza is set to be re-lit July 1. (Getty Images)
    Canada Day Relighting for Olympic Cauldron

    The Olympic cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza will burn again during Canada Day celebrations on July 1.

    Without a ceremony, a technician will turn on the flame for the biggest downtown public celebration since the 2010 Games.

    “Canada Day itself is the best day of the year, and (July 2) is pretty special too,” said VANOC chief executive John Furlong about the relighting.

    “I come by here and see this cauldron and I’m reminded of the best friend I ever had (Poole).”

    July 2 is the seventh anniversary of the IOC vote in Prague to award Vancouver the 2010 Games.

    “This was an enormous human undertaking and it had an enormous human effect and impact,” Furlong said.

    Furlong Book Tour, Memoir Plans

    Furlong traveled in late June to Toronto and Calgary to promote "With Glowing Hearts", the official commemorative book of the Games by Wiley publishers. The 400-page deluxe hardcover includes 1,200 photographs and focuses on the sport competitions, ceremonies, celebrations, fans and volunteers.

    A page from "With Glowing Hearts".
    A two-page tribute to Nodar Kumaritashvili leads off the luge section. The Games began with heavy hearts on the same day the 21-year-old Georgian died in a Whistler Sliding Centre crash.

    “Nodar is a big part of the story of Vancouver 2010, we had this young man who came here with a great plan and ambition and wanted to go home a champion,” Furlong said.

    “So what happened to him on that morning was probably the single greatest personal challenge I’ve ever confronted or anyone on my team has.”

    Furlong said it could take until November for the final financial report of the Games. He is also beginning work on a memoir with a to-be-named co-author.

    “My vocabulary has shrunk over the last 10 years, I’ve been busy doing something else,” he laughed. “Trying to get the story fully out and extracted is the big challenge.”

    Village Lawsuits

    The marketer of Millennium Water – formerly known as the Vancouver Olympic Village -- says he is not worried by a handful of lawsuits from buyers wanting refunds.

    Six buyers have filed lawsuits to withdraw from their contracts because of deficiencies and the delay in a promised city park east of the site.

    Bob Rennie said 142 deals for 264 suites have closed at the $1.1 billion development. Thirty-six suites have been purchased since the post-Games sales phase began May 15.

    Rennie said “cool heads will prevail” because the park will get built and the developer, Millennium, will fix missing appliances and other deficiencies.

    One of the people suing is personal trainer and Rennie friend Mike Talic, a 1992 immigrant to Vancouver who was the mayor of the Sarajevo 1984 Olympic Village.

    Golden Lauren Retires

    The queen of the hill at Vancouver 2010 retired June 17, but didn’t rule out a return for Sochi 2014.

    “Athletes have come back and have had success after retirement and minds change,” said North Vancouver’s Lauren Woolstencroft, who won a record five Paralympic alpine skiing gold medals for Canada.

    “It’s not my intention, but I wouldn’t say never.”

    The International Paralympic Committee’s top female athlete of 2007 wears prosthetic limbs beneath her knees and below her left elbow.

    “I hope to be remembered as someone who played a role in bringing Paralympic sport awareness in Canada to a higher level,”said the 28-year-old who works as an electrical engineer for BC Hydro.

    City Secrecy

    Vancouver city hall refuses to disclose the names of people it invited to the Vancouver House pavilion during the Olympics.
    Names on a 32-page guest list released by city hall are blacked-out, except for city politicians and staff.

    A civic news release issued before the Games said Vancouver House would “play host to a number of international business leaders at events coordinated through the Vancouver Economic Development Commission... to encourage new investment.”

    Representatives of local businesses, the Olympic movement and various Olympic host and bid cities and countries were invited throughout the Games. But many events were locally focused, such as labor night (Feb. 16), Filipino-Canadian night (Feb. 18) and Indo-Canadian night (Feb. 22).

    Resort Municipality of Whistler, meanwhile, refuses to disclose who used tickets via its staff engagement, recognition and hosting programs. The official host mountain municipality bought 636 tickets for $145,360 and resold more than half worth $100,000 to the Four Host First Nations, Tourism B.C. and Tourism Whistler.

    City of Richmond has not released its Olympic ticket inventory.

    Firebombing Charges

    Three men were charged in Ottawa June 19, accused of firebombing a Royal Bank branch.

    Roger Clement, 58, Matthew Morgan-Brown, 32, and Claude Haridge, 50, were arrested on arson charges in the incident. A video appeared on the Internet, claiming the incident was anti-Olympic.

    “We continue to condemn this kind of senseless and misdirected vandalism against a RBC, our valued partner in staging the 2010 Games and commend the authorities for taking swift and decisive action,” said VANOC vice-president of communications Renee Smith-Valade.

    Russian Tycoon Interested in Whistler

    The 2010 Games alpine skiing and sliding venues could share ownership with the developer of the Rosa Khutor resort that’s part of the Sochi Olympic plan.
    Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin may be interested in acquiring Whistler Blackcomb Resort. (Getty Images)

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Interros is interested in buying Whistler Blackcomb from Intrawest. Interros is headed by Vladimir Potanin, a good friend of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    Intrawest, whose owner is Fortress Investment Group, a struggling hedge fund, has sold various resort properties around North America this year, including B.C.'s Panorama Mountain, Mountain Creek in New Jersey, Copper Mountain in Colorado, and Squaw Valley, the 1960 Winter Olympics venue in California.

    Intrawest remains the owner of Ontario’s Blue Mountain and Quebec’s Mont Tremblant.

    Vancouver Police Feared Olympic Riot


    The RCMP deployed another 176 officers to patrol Vancouver streets after the Vancouver Police worried that huge crowds would riot during the Games.

    Deputy chief Steve Sweeney sought reinforcements from the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit after 300,000 people came downtown on Feb. 19. Police dealt with numerous public drunkenness and assault complaints.

    “The VPD has assessed this evening and has drawn heavy parallels to the atmosphere that spawned the Stanley Cup riots in 1994,” said a Feb. 23 briefing note prepared by V2010 ISU Sgt. Darren Stevely and approved by Chief Bud Mercer.

    RCMP was originally not to be patrolling beyond Olympic venues.

    VPD closed downtown liquor stores early on five days beginning Feb. 20.

    City Hall Olympic Expenses


    Vancouver city hall paid VANOC $11.7 million in 2009, including $7.5 million to build a swimming pool attached to the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Centre.

    The curling venue is being converted to a multi-use community center.

    Another $3.1 million was spent on the curling rink and project managers, according to the 2009 civic financial report.

    A list of $1,044,803.53 worth of miscellaneous payments includes $339,715 for Olympic tickets, $250,744.42 for street banners and $120,000 for public art. VANOC charged the city $200 and $210 for separate appearances by the Games mascots.

    With reporting from Bob Mackin in Vancouver.

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