2010 VANCOUVER WINTER GAMES
Where and when: Vancouver and Whistler, Canada; Feb. 12-28.
Venue budget: More than $550 million, with two venues to be completed.
Athletes to watch: Skiers Bode Miller and Lindsey Kildow Vonn. Reigning world champion figure skater Mao Asada of Japan (trivia note: she was first a ballet dancer), and two rising 15-year-old skaters from Southern California, Caroline Zhang of Brea and Mirai Nagasu, who attends Arcadia High School.
Obstacles to overcome: Weather, namely that famous regional rain; and travel issues, such as the winding road between the venues in Vancouver and Whistler.
Changes in format: Hockey’s home will be GM Place, home of the Vancouver Canucks, meaning that men’s and women’s hockey games will be played on an NHL-size rink at the Winter Olympics, rather than international size. This could also be, quite possibly, the last hurrah for the NHL’s participation in the Olympics. Also there is a new event in the continuing attempt to skew younger: ski cross.
Biggest thing to look forward to: Bode does Whistler. Will that quaint hamlet ever be the same? Put TMZ.com on high, nighttime alert.
Sponsors who are already signed up: Vancouver’s sponsorship target is $760 million (Canadian) and organizers say they are already 90% or so there. Worldwide sponsors are the usual Olympic suspects: Coca-Cola, Omega and Visa, among others, as well as a host of national sponsors and official sponsors.
Quote: “In Canada, protesting is common. It’s embraced in our culture,” said John Furlong, chief executive for the Vancouver Organizing Committee, on how it will deal with potential protests.
-- Lisa Dillman