POSTED: Sunday February 8th 2009

Testing successfully complete at bobsleigh and skeleton sport event

Sold-out crowd cheers on sliding athletes from around the world

   WHISTLER, BC, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) successfully completed its operational testing today at the bobsleigh and skeleton sport events at The Whistler Sliding Centre, which ran from February 5 to 7. As approximately 250 athletes from 24 countries battled for track bragging rights, VANOC tested field of play, workforce, Games-time operations and trained potential Games-time volunteers over the course of three training days and three competition days. The venue will also host the luge sport event from February
20 to 21.
     As enthralled spectators watched and cheered, the world\‘s best sliding athletes received their own boost from the boisterous crowd.
     \“It is so incredible to be racing here in Whistler,\” said Canadian women\‘s bobsleigh silver medallist Heather Moyse. \“We never see this many people at a race in North America. It is just so amazing because all of these screaming Canadians are the ones who we are racing for.\”
     The week prior to the Fédération internationale de bobsleigh et de tobogganing (FIBT) Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup, The Whistler Sliding Centre held the FIBT International Training Week. Similar to the Fédération
internationale de luge de course (FIL) International Training Week held in November, 2008, the FIBT International Training Week saw 250 athletes from 24 countries learn the intricacies of the track\‘s technical turns - all in preparation for the bobsleigh and skeleton sport event and Olympic competitions in 2010.
     \“The last few weeks have been really important for The Whistler Sliding Centre,\” said Tim Gayda, VANOC vice president, sport. \“With more athletes than ever before training and competing and the FIBT technical delegates on-site providing positive feedback on the track it\‘s the first time we\‘ve been able to host thousands of spectators at the venue to get a taste of the fastest sports on ice.\”
     The sliding sport events provide VANOC with a valuable opportunity to test the field of play on one of the fastest and most technical tracks in the world.

     Ice and Field of Play

     With the FIBT International Training Week taking place days prior to the bobsleigh and skeleton sport events, this was the first time the track saw the intensity and volume of sleds over a sustained period of time - requiring the track\‘s experienced ice team to put their world-renowned status to work to maintain the integrity of the ice.
     \“The track was definitely put to the test with the sheer number of runs in such a short amount of time,\” said Craig Lehto, director, The Whistler Sliding Centre. \“We have the three best ice makers in the world working with us, so from a track and ice standpoint, we have all the experience that the world can deliver right now.\”
     Seen as both an art and a science, ice maintenance was the biggest test for the venue this week. Throughout training and competition, the track\‘s corner profiles (shape of a corner, typically a constructed concrete structure with layers of ice on top) had to be adjusted to manage a level playing field.
     \“With the changes in temperature, our team really had to make the profiles on the fast corners more forgiving on an as-needed basis,\” Lehto continued, \“However, we can only control so much, as ultimately it is the pilots and weather that choose the sled\‘s destiny.\”
     Another factor affecting the track was the weather at the venue all week - running the gamut including: fog, rain, light snow, sunny skies, low humidity and chilly nights. Such variance required track shades to be pulled down to protect the ice from melting or key areas to be \“spritzed\” with water
to re-build ice.


     While smaller than at Games time, a specialized team of approximately 118 workforce and 276 volunteers worked back-to-back weeks at the sport event and International Training Week - providing a true taste of the contribution
needed should they volunteer in 2010.
     \“This is very similar to how it was in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Calgary in 1988,\” said Lehto. \“As tough as it is, and as much of a grind as it can be, in the end the result is it\‘s the best preparation for the entire team for Games time.\”

     Spectator Access

     With 3,000 spectators circulating in the track area for each of the final two days, the venue team monitored spectator flow and service. As a new facility, key learnings in spectator communication and movement will be examined to ensure that fans are able to find where they need to go, as they line the track to cheer on competitors.

     Medical Services

     In conjunction with the rigorous testing by the International Federations and VANOC to ensure The Whistler Sliding Centre meets the highest athlete standards and safety features, VANOC\‘s medical services team tested itself in advance of 2010. Working with FIBT medical director, Dr. David McDonagh, and in addition to providing first response care, medical services ran mock scenarios of stabilizing an athlete on the track in the result of a turn over,
as well as refining extraction scenarios within the confines of the ice.
     The Whistler Sliding Centre will round out its operational testing just two weeks later as the luge sport event takes place from February 20 to 21.
     For more information on the remaining sport events taking place from February to September 2009, including how to purchase tickets, visit

     Remaining sport events include:

     FIS Snowboard World Cup
     Date: February 12-15, 2009
     Location: Cypress Mountain, West Vancouver

     FIL Luge World Cup
     Date: February 16-21, 2009
     Location: The Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler

     WCF World Wheelchair Curling Championship
     Date: February 21-28, 2009
     Location: Vancouver Paralympic Centre (Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium
     Park), Vancouver

     Hockey Canada Cup - Sledge Hockey
     Date: February 24-March 1, 2009
     Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena, Vancouver

     IPC Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon World Cup Final
     Date: March 4-7, 2009
     Location: Whistler Paralympic Park, Whistler

     World Junior Curling Championships
     Date: March 5-15, 2009
     Location: Vancouver Olympic Centre (Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium Park),

     IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals
     Date: March 9-14, 2009
     Location: Whistler Creekside, Whistler

     IBU Biathlon World Cup
     Date: March 11-15, 2009
     Location: Whistler Olympic Park

     ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships
     Date: March 12-15, 2009
     Location: Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond

     Hockey Canada Cup - Women\‘s Hockey
     Date: August 31-September 6, 2009
     Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena and Canada Hockey Place, Vancouver

     About VANOC

     VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

For further information: Media Contacts: John Gibson, VANOC Communications, (604) 403-1585,; John French, VANOC
Communications, (778) 229-6124,

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Keywords · Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) · The Whistler Sliding Centre

Name: Chris Brumwell
Organization: Vancouver 2010
Phone: +1.(604) 403-1869

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