News » Whistler

VANOC goes on the offensive

Furlong, Pound respond to criticism


Page 2 of 3

Warm weather - and rain the first few days - has been an issue. At Cypress all standing room tickets for snowboarding and freestyle events were eventually cancelled and soft snow has been a bit of an issue at Whistler Olympic Park.

The alpine ski venue on Whistler Mountain has also received some criticism for the difficulty of the courses. The top athletes, however, defended the track and track crew, and most seemed glad to have an Olympic-calibre venue rather than a course made easier for the weaker skiers.

Whistler Olympic Park is also under the microscope since Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic slipped off the side of an icy curve in training and fell into a deep gully where she broke four ribs. She competed anyway and won bronze in the women's sprint - an event she was favoured to win. She was forced to pull out of other events. The Slovenian team is considering legal action against the Olympic organizers.

Spectators were also injured when a barricade collapsed at the Alexisonfire concert in Yaletown last week. Fans reportedly rushed the stage, collapsing the barrier and injuring 19. It has since been rebuilt and reinforced.

And the ice at the Richmond Oval is softer than organizers could have expected, as temperatures in the Lower Mainland crept into the double digits. To boot, an ice surfacing machine malfunctioned early in the competitions and created holes in the ice surface.

In Vancouver windows were smashed and property damaged during an opening day protest. There have also been sit-ins and a tent village was erected in a VANOC parking lot to bring attention the plight of homeless in Vancouver. However, there have also been huge, friendly crowds in the streets of Vancouver and Whistler Village every day and evening during the Games.

There have also been some minor security issues. There was the man who got within a stone's throw of U.S. vice-president Joe Biden using a homemade pass. And last week the Integrated Security unit announced that 11 members would be sent home - seven RCMP members and four members of the Canadian Forces for a variety of breaches. The ISU was quick to point out that more than 10,000 officers and military are with the ISU, and that the 11