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More corporate sponsors commit to Olympic bid

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Some major new partners for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games bid were announced this week.

They include Pacific Press, Air Canada, and Microsoft.

"It provides us with the ability to showcase to the world the diversity of our community, the natural beauty of our province and the leading businesses that believe in the Olympic movement," said Dennis Skulsky, president and publisher of the Pacific Newspaper Group, which includes the Vancouver Sun and The Province. As a founding media supporter Pacific Press is committed to at least $1 million in support.

Also joining the above supporters are Finning International Inc, Alcan Inc, Concert Properties Ltd., Duke Energy, Ricoh Canada Inc and Seattle’s Best Coffee – shade grown and free-trade – which have committed support between $150,000 to $1.5 million.

Another 22 businesses, including the Blackcomb Lodge, Wildwood Lodge and Crystal Lodge in Whistler, all became Friends of the 2010 Bid, committing up to $150,000 in support.

That brings the total number of supporting companies to more than 70, raising $28 million of the $34 needed to fund the bid phase of the competition to host the 2010 Winter Games.

Five million of the $34 million budget funds the Legacies Now program which commits funds from the government of B.C. and corporate sponsors of the 2010 bid to enhance athlete youth and sport development programs throughout the province.

To date the provincial government had given $9.1 million – that includes money from B.C. Hydro, B.C. Lotteries, Tourism B.C., and ICBC. The federal government has matched this contribution.

The balance of the funds comes from all levels of sponsors and municipal governments.

Earlier this month a reorganization of the senior levels of management within the Bid Corporation also took place.

Jack Poole, formerly president and chief executive officer, becomes chair of the board and CEO. Combining the roles of chair and CEO allows the Bid Corporation to underline to the international sport community Poole’s role as "chief salesman" for the Vancouver Whistler Bid and to streamline relationships with various stakeholder groups, said a recently issued press release.

"With any organization as it moves forward you align people with their tasks," said bid media manager Sam Corea.

"This is the team now that is going to move forward for the 15-month push."

In May the Bid Corporation will present a mini-bid book to the International Olympic Committee outlining their plans. Some community activists hope the mini bid book will clarify the impact the Games might have on Vancouver and Whistler.

On Tuesday a watchdog group, Impact of the Olympics on Community coalition, led by Am Johal appeared before Vancouver City council to ask for the adoption of a motion to carry out an independent study on the impact the Games would have on the community.

City council did agree to a study, but it will not be done independently. It will be completed by the Bid Corporation in conjunction with interest groups in the community.

In August Vancouver and Whistler will learn whether the International Olympic Committee has put the Canadian bid on its short list of candidates. A final decision by the IOC will be announced in July 2003.

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