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Vancouver and Whistler could be up against some formidable competition in their bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Vancouver-Whistler was the first to officially throw its hat into the ring but now it looks like challenges will be coming out of both Switzerland and Germany. A Feb. 16 newspaper article out of the central Swiss canton of Graubünden indicates Chur, the canton’s major city with a population of around 100,000, will also be entering a bid for the 2010 Games. Chur has asked Zurich to help host ice hockey and figure skating while the rest of the events are proposed for the nearby resorts of Davos, Klosters, Arosa, St. Moritz, Lenzerheide and Flims/Laax. A Munich-Garmisch alliance is also reported to be preparing a bid. These German and Swiss bids are new but other European cities that bid for the 2006 Winter Games could recycle their efforts and make a go for the 2010 nomination. Sion, Switzerland was the runner up to winner Turin, Italy in the bidding for the 2006 Winter Games. There are also rumblings competition could be coming out of Korea and possibly Japan. The International Olympic Committee will award the 2010 Winter Olympics in the fall of 2003, but a formal bid has to be submitted to the IOC by the fall of 2002. Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics may, however be Vancouver-Whistler’s biggest competition. Many have speculated that if Toronto is awarded the 2008 Games in 2001 the IOC would not give the 2010 Olympics to another Canadian city. The COA has received assurances from the United States that it will not put forward a candidate city for 2010. The Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation is in the meantime looking to garner more public support. The corporation will be hosting a public meeting at the Whistler Conference Centre Saturday, March 11 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The gathering will be geared toward encouraging better public participation. Bid corporation CEO Don Calder will provide an update on activities so far and talk about key future dates plus a two-way communications strategy. After an initial presentation attendants will be split into working ‘round table’ groups with a facilitator to share and document thoughts and concerns. Board members mayor Hugh O’Reilly and Steve Podborski will also be on hand to answer questions.

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