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Olympic bid must bring Whistler to IOC



Whistler can be trusted to put on a great event, in a sustainable manner, in a spectacular setting

The Vancouver-Whistler bid team for the 2010 Winter Games can’t just phone up members of the International Olympic Committee and invite them here to see for themselves the spectacular nature of B.C.’s venue.

So like many other cities vying for the Games the "hard sell" has been left to a team of "international relations" experts.

At the recent Olympic Info Zone meeting Steve Podborski, executive director of International Relations for the 2010 Bid, told a dozen or so people that it’s a challenge to try and describe how great it is here.

"It is so difficult to describe things in two or three pictures," Podborski said during an earlier interview.

"I try to create an image and one thing I do like to say is that imagine you come to the Winter Games and enjoy some of the greatest venues in the world and on the same day you will be able to play golf.

"It’s just a perfect place."

Cities have been banned from inviting IOC members to their venue sites since Salt Lake City was caught bribing officials in 1998 following their successful campaign to host the 2002 Winter Olympics.

"As an applicant city we are not really allowed to talk to anybody," said Podborski.

"So right now we are not doing anything."

But if Vancouver and Whistler are dubbed candidate cities this fall it’s their duty to go out and tell IOC members all about the bid.

"The biggest job IOC members have is to choose where the Games go," Podborski told those attending the meeting.

"They want to understand why our bid is better."

IOC officials still can’t be invited to the venue sites but Podborski and others can go and meet them at any number of international events and tell them all about B.C.’s bid for the 2010 Games.

"You don’t want to go and bang on their door but as it happens there are all these events around the world that they go to and it is sort of a good idea to go and talk to them," he said earlier.

But it’s a cautious game.

"There are no small moves in our bid," said Podborski describing the Games as the biggest prize in sports.

"You are under a microscope. Everything makes a difference."

The IOC is composed of up to 130 members who meet in Session at least once a year.