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Unique ideas in hosting 2010 Olympic Winter Games increase cost

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The release of bid competitor Bern’s mini-bid book sheds light on differing budgets

The unique nature of the Vancouver-Whistler bid to win the 2010 Winter Olympic Games adds costs that some other bids may not experience.

For example the Vancouver bid includes $5 million for the Legacies Now program, said president and chief operating officer John Furlong.

This program, developed by the province, the Bid Corp, and sponsors, has already put in place services province-wide to develop sport.

The Legacies Now program is "part of a determined effort to get Canada to No. 1 in the world (of sports) by 2010," said Furlong.

"It’s a long-term, consolidated effort to get Canada to first place."

He said the International Olympic Committee wants the host country to do well at the Olympics.

"It creates the best theatre for sport," he said.

"Look at Salt Lake where the Americans did so well, or at Sydney where the Australians did very well."

Furlong, in Whistler to give an update to council on the bid, was reacting to cost comparisons being drawn between the Vancouver bid and the bid by Bern, Switzerland.

Both are considered to have a good chance of winning the 2010 Games. The final decision on who will get the Games will be made in 2003.

Last weekend, in an unprecedented move, Bern decided to make public its mini-bid book, a questionnaire each applicant city had to hand in to the International Olympic Committee by May 31.

The questionnaire poses 22 questions covering themes such as motivation, finances, and venues.

Furlong said Vancouver’s mini bid book will be made public at some point. But for now the Bid Corp refuses to release the details of its "playbook" as it might tip the competition.

"The people who have worked on (the mini-bid book) are very proud of it and would like nothing better than to show it off – and we will at some point," Furlong told council.

There are seven other cities bidding for the right to host the 2010 Winter Games.

Furlong, speaking after the council meeting, added that its difficult to compare the Bern and Vancouver bid costs as it is not clear what is included and what is excluded.

"A lot of the European bids are getting government support for technical planning," he said by way of an example.

"I think if you put a value to the entire process it would be different."

He said the Vancouver and Whistler teams were doing all their own work.

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