At the moment – just one year out from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – many excited winter sports athletes and spectators are gathering at the different competition venues in Vancouver and Whistler. It is high season for various sports events, such as the World Cups or World Championships that are taking place at the 2010 venues and providing the opportunity to test Games-time operations as well as to train potential volunteers. Furthermore, local sports fans are thus getting the chance to experience the 15 sports disciplines that will be showcased at the 2010 Winter Games – along with the athletes who are likely to compete at the same spot next year.
For instance, last week saw the inaugural competitions on the sliding track for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games during the FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup. The Whistler Sliding Centre confirmed its moniker as the world’s fastest track when Latvia’s Janis Minins became the first man to drive a four-man bobsleigh faster than 150 kilometres per hour. In front of a sold-out crowd of 3,000, Minins and his team mates won gold on the 1,450 metre course.
The ISU’s Four Continents Figure Skating Championships that took place from 2 to 8 February in the Pacific Coliseum were another good occasion to get an impression of the preparations for next year’s Vancouver Olympic Games. The event featured the best figure skaters from non-European countries, and no fewer than 108 athletes from 16 nations competed in front of approximately 30,000 spectators. ISU Vice-President David Dore, who is also an Olympic Winter Games Figure Skating Technical Delegate, states happily: “The success of last week’s ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships heralds a thrilling Olympic event in this venue just 12 months from now. We are pleased with the level of preparations for the Games, which are well advanced. This event tested Olympic figure skating procedures, and we are very happy with the outcome. It was a week of top competition with exceptional skating, crowd enthusiasm and impeccable organisation.”
World’s Best Riders
Further sports events are to follow in the coming days and weeks, such as the Snowboard FIS World Cup from 12 to 15 February. The world’s best riders are meeting at Cypress Mountain, close to Vancouver. More than 300 athletes from 31 countries will compete in a snowboard cross, a halfpipe contest and a parallel giant slalom at the 2010 Olympic snowboard venue. Read more soon on www.olympic.org.