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Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation’s eyes fixed firmly on the prize



Bid officials move into final blitz as July 2 decision day looms

The bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler and Vancouver has moved into the final stretch.

The 2010 Bid Corporation has just given its last presentation on its plan to the International Olympic Committee executives before they reach their decision in Prague July 2.

It was also the first time IOC president Jacques Rogge had experienced Vancouver’s presentation.

And the bid corp. has sent its formal response to the report of the IOC evaluation team, which visited Whistler and Vancouver in March, to the Olympic Committee offices in Lausanne, Switzerland.

But executives at the bid corp. aren’t resting on their laurels, though many outsiders believe Vancouver’s bid is out front.

"We’ve still got a lot of promotion to do and the presentation in Prague is very, very important," said the bid corp. president John Furlong.

Furlong was part of a team of six who went to a sports conference in Madrid, Spain last week to give a multi-media presentation extolling the virtues of the Canadian bid.

"It was a very important meeting for us and the presentation went well. We were well received and warmly received," said Furlong.

"My sense of what happened in the room was they were paying close attention and were very interested.

"And I also had this feeling that they knew a lot about us before we got there.

"I think the word about Vancouver and Whistler is out there now and people are beginning to get a real sense of who we are and what we have to say and what is special about us compared to anyone else."

Opportunities such as this one to give presentations to IOC executives have grown in importance because IOC delegates are not allowed to visit candidate cities under new rules brought in after the Salt Lake City bribery scandal.

The Madrid SportAccord conference catered to all those involved in the sports industry at the highest levels.

So as well as speaking to the IOC executive it gave the bid corp. representatives another chance to talk to those with various sport federations.

Furlong said the talk was positive and it is generally accepted that Vancouver and Whistler’s facilities for athletes are excellent.

"One of the really reassuring things about our bid is that I think we have managed to convince the world that the concept is really a very, very good concept," said Furlong.

"For sport and athletes it is really quite special.