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2010 Olympic torch will stop in Whistler

Route communities already planning how to take advantage of opportunity

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“We will work with the relay team to take this opportunity to set a route that represents what Pemberton is. Maybe part of the time it is on a horse. We will have to use our creative powers to see how we want to take part in this thing.”

Richards also said having the flame come to Whistler a full week before the start of the Games was deliberate, so that Whistler had time to celebrate the flame prior to getting down to the business of the Games.

VANOC and the two torch relay sponsors, Coke and RBC, also want lots of everyday Canadians to have a chance to carry the flame.

The sponsors control about 9,000 spots and a majority of those will be up for grabs through various contests. VANOC controls the rest and those will be handed out to partners, sponsors and suppliers for internal use, including employee incentive programs.

Both companies are running contests on their websites for those who want to carry the flame. (www.icoke.ca or www.rbc.com/carrythetorch)

The B.C. leg of the $30-million Olympic torch relay will span 27 days — or about one-quarter of the 106 days the torch spends criss-crossing Canada. It will visit 266 communities in the province and will be carried by 3,500 B.C. residents during its 9,750-kilometre journey.

In all it will travel 45,000 kilometres across the nation, starting in Victoria on Oct. 30, 2009. More than 12,000 people will carry it as it goes through 1,100 communities. It will travel 26,000 kilometres by land, 18,000 by air and 1,000 kilometres by sea.

More than 100 different modes of transportation will be used. VANOC CEO John Furlong said they would include plane, train, canoe, ferry, snowshoe, snowmobile, snowboard and skis.

The Calgary relay route was 17,000 kilometres and 6.6 million Canadians requested a chance to carry the torch.

Choosing the communities the torch will touch was no easy matter Furlong said recently as he addressed a Squamish Chamber of Commerce lunch.

“The most phone calls I get are from mayors of communities asking if they are going to be on the route,” he quipped.

“… If we have had one argument that has been a consistent argument all through the last year and half it has been arguments about the places we wouldn’t be able to go to, so determined is our team to try to get to every community we possibly can.”

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