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Whistler end of Olympic bid needs work

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Asked if he was saying Whistler needs to get the World Cup races back from Lake Louise, Pound replied: "The more international events you have organized and have demonstrated you can organize, well the better it is. It’s a matter of reducing any concern about risk that the IOC may have. These things are essentially risk management issues."

Asked about the biggest challenge the Vancouver-Whistler bid faces, Pound said: "It’s really hard to call that until you know who else is in the race. All races involve some element of choice and if you’re against some really superb other winter site, then it’s a little tougher. If you’re not and you start off the race as Whistler being the most known ski resort of all those in the competition then you’ve got an advantage and you plan your strategy."

Although there are no official bids for the 2010 Winter Olympics at this time, other cities that have expressed an interest in bidding include Helsinki, Finland; Jaca, Spain; Zurich and Bern-Montreux, Switzerland; Muju, South Korea; and Sarajevo, Bosnia. The IOC will select a host for the 2010 Games in mid-2003.

Common sentiment, however, is that Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics is the biggest obstacle to the Vancouver-Whistler bid. The general belief is that the IOC would not award two successive Games to the same country. Pound challenged that line of thinking.

"If Toronto wins 2008 the hill gets steeper for Vancouver, but it’s not insurmountable," Pound said. "There’s no need for anyone here to go out and sacrifice live chickens."

Earlier in the day a radio report quoted Paul Henderson, chair of Toronto’s unsuccessful bid for the 1996 Olympics, as saying having Toronto and Vancouver-Whistler bidding at the same time was hurting both bids’ chances.

Pound agreed some people see having two bids at once as confusing, "But I don’t think the success or failure of Toronto will have any material effect on Vancouver, or vice versa.

"With the new rotation of the Games every two years it’s inevitable that with a country as interested as we are that there will be bids running at the same time. I think that the opportunity to go for both has never been better."

That’s a reversal of Pound’s own position from 1998, when he too suggested it was unwise for Canada to put forward two bids at once. Marion Lay, chair of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corp., pointed out that the IOC process for choosing an Olympic host has changed since 1998. An IOC evaluation commission now evaluates bids and presents its findings to 45 IOC members who vote. Lay described the 45 voting members as "very credible sports people, 15 athletes, 15 national Olympic associations and 15 international federations. So I think we’re seeing the IOC change. I think Dick (made his statement in 1998) with sort of the old vision on. But I’ll tell you right now the athletes are very, very strong… I don’t think there will be another decision made by the IOC that is not athlete driven."