January 21, 2010: With just three weeks to go until the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the board of directors of the Vancouver Organizing Committee met for the final time and gave the Games a seal of approval, proclaiming, "The project remains on target to finish with a balanced budget."
However, the board said that some venues are still to be completed, traffic in downtown could be a concern and tickets to events still remain unsold.
Also being closely watch is the weather. the board said that "after days of unseasonably warm and wet weather," VANOC and Cypress Mountain management agreed to close the ski resort’s alpine runs to the public and that workers on site are monitoring the situation "24 hours a day to preserve and protect the integrity of the snowboard and freestyle skiing courses."
VANOC said that its overlay teams have not finished the "complex process of making Games venues ready for the world’s top winter athletes and spectators." Construction of temporary structures, such as bleachers and tents, and dining halls for the athletes and other structures in the city are still being worked on.
Regarding traffic conditions, VANOC admitted that "there is more work to be done to encourage drivers who frequently travel by car in downtown Vancouver to start practicing their Games-time travel plans." City planners and VANOC have been temporarily closing streets in the city to prepare locals for conditions to come. VANOC is encouraging all spectators to buy tickets for the Olympic Bus Network "as there is no public parking at any of the Games venues and daily traffic restrictions" will be in place. To date, only 50% of tickets available on the OBN have been sold.
VANOC also said that tickets for certain unspecified events were still available and encouraged fans to visit www.Vancouver2010.com/tickets.
Selling much better is licensed merchandise. VANOC said that the Vancouver 2010 red mittens "continue to be a hot item beyond expectations [with] more than 1.8 million pairs sold since the launch last fall. Inventory has been added in advance of the Games." In addition, more than 725,000 units of plush mascots have been sold to date, according to VANOC.
“The board is confident the organizing committee and its partners are well prepared to meet the extraordinary day-to-day challenges of hosting one of the largest international sporting events,” board chairman Rusty Goepel said in a statement. “Many hurdles have been overcome in the past few months —both with ingenuity and a lot of long hours by dedicated staff, contractors and volunteers, which will make all Canadians proud.”
Added John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, “It’s been a remarkable journey up to this point and we take a moment now and again . . . to enjoy the moment but then it’s back to work as our team continues to work around the clock to make sure every detail is tended to."
2010 Winter Olympics IOC Worldwide Partners: Coca-Cola,. ACER, Atos Origin, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa
2010 Winter Olympics National Partners: Bell, Hudson's Bay, RBC, GM Canada, Petro Canada, RONA
2010 Winter Olympics Official Supporters: Air Canada, BC Hydro, Bombardier, British Columbia Lottery, Canadian Pacific, ICBC, Jet Set Sports, Ricoh Canada, Royal Canadian Mint, Teck
2010 Winter Olympics Official Suppliers: 3M Canada, Acklands-Grainger, Aggreki, Alda Pharmaceuticals, Aquilini Investment Group, Birks, Britco, Canada Post, Cold-FX, Deloitte, Dow Canada, Epcor, Garrett Metal Detectors, General Mills, Hain Celestial Canada, Haworth, Jackson-Triggs, Karl's Global Events, Milennium Development, Molson, Nike Canada, Nortal, Offsetters, Port Metro Vancouver, Purolator Courier, Saputo, Sleep Country Canada, Sun Microsystems Canada, Tickets.com, TransCanada, Vancouver Airport Authority, Weston Bakeries, Workopolis, Wrigley Canada.
2010 Winter Olympics Official Media Suppliers: Canwest Publishing, The Globe and Mail, La Presse