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Cultural events key to winning the bid



Whistler key place to hold cultural festivals

The final farewell event in the 2010 Olympics is tentatively slated to take place in Whistler.

The closing ceremony of the Paralympics, while not as big in scope as the Olympics, marks to end of the entire event and organizers want Whistler to be the host.

The ceremony will focus on Whistler, giving something unique to the community, said Marti Kulich, consulting producer, ceremonies and festivals for the bid.

This is just one of a slew of ideas for the cultural components of the Games, the topic discussed at the Wednesday, June 12 Olympic InfoZone meeting at the Whistler Ski Club Cabin.

"(Culture) has always been a key part of the Olympics," said Kulich.

He went on to explain that culture is the second pillar of the Olympic Movement and, along with Sport and Environmental Sustainability, it is enshrined in the Olympic Charter.

Kulich said there is a lot of weight given to the cultural component of any Games.

This being the case, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid Corporation is enclosing a supplemental book to the bid book, detailing the cultural components for the Games, just as they are adding a supplemental book for the environmental sustainability components.

Kulich, who has years of experience hosting a number of large-scale sporting events and comes directly from the World Championships in Athletics in Edmonton, describes the cultural components to the bid as "a massive undertaking."

The required programs include:

• Opening and closing ceremonies;

• Olympic Flame (torch) Relay;

• Olympic Arts Festival;

• Welcoming Ceremonies for the International Olympic Committee and all teams attending the Games;

• Medal awards ceremonies and celebrations;

• Education programs about the Olympic movement;

• Youth programs, including an Olympic Youth Camp;

• Cultural Festivals in each of the four years of the Olympiad (2007-2010).

These events must also be matched for the Paralympics.

Unlike the sporting aspect of the Games, which comes preset with a list of defined rules and regulations, there is more leeway with the cultural programs.

"In the case of culture we don’t have anything preset," said Kulich.

But there will be one common theme throughout – a showcase of Canadian culture.

"National culture will be a core of what we do," he added.

The Olympic Charter also states that the cultural programs need to be international in scope.

This blend of national and international themes will be highlighted in the annual cultural festivals in the four years leading up to the main event. There are already tentative ideas for the themes of these annual events.

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