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The CBC Vancouver team on the Olympic experience

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CBC News Vancouver's Ian Hanomansing, Priya Ramu and Kirk Williams

As Vancouver gets ready for the 2010 Olympics, are you wondering what the Games will be like?

Ian Hanomansing, co-anchor of CBC News Vancouver, has covered the past three Winter Olympics for CBC Television.

He was in Turin in 2006, Salt Lake City in 2002, and Nagano in 1998.

Priya Ramu of CBC Radio and Kirk Williams of CBC Television are covering the Vancouver games in 2010 .

This is your chance to ask them about the Olympic experience.

Submit your question now!

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Comments: (5)

Bruce Puttock (Bracebridge_Ont) wrote:

Q| Lived in New Westminster 31yrs just moved to Ont. in May 08. So I know a bit about B.C. politics. So the $100 question is what is the total cost including the sea to sky, and why didn't anyone outside of Vancouver get to vote on whether we'd host the olympics? Why did Whistler not vote?

Ian: On the cost question, the Premier and the province's auditor-general disagree on what should or should not be included in the costs of the Olympics but when I interviewed Gordon Campbell about this just before Christmas, he said it is up to people in B-C to decide for themselves.

For the information to make that decision, you can start with a google search of "BC Auditor General Olympics". That turns up, among other things, one of the A-G's report on costs.

As for a vote, that's a question for elected representatives to answer. There was no requirement, of course, to hold a vote. The city of Vancouver did and I remember watching a stream of people going to my local community centre to cast their vote.

Posted February 13, 2009 02:29 AM

Matthew French (Edmonton_Alberta) wrote:

Q| Why was the choice made to build the new roof on BC Place after the Olympics and not before? Now there will be no fireworks at the ceremonies.


Kirk: Way back in 2003, when the IOC chose Vancouver-Whistler's bid, there was a lot of discussion about BC Place being the site of the opening and closing ceremonies. One commentator mentioned how refreshing it was, with the memories of Montreal's "Big Owe" still painful, that Vancouver would not be building a new Olympic Stadium. However, the IOC had to be sold on the concept of that opening and closing being held under a roof for the first time in Olympic history. Voters obviously didn't object.

So, there was no reason to spend the money to create a retractable roof in time for 2010. As I understand it, the new roof is part of the bid for Major League Soccer to come to Vancouver. The timing in relation to the Olympic is, I believe, coincidental.

Posted February 11, 2009 07:27 PM

Joe Harkins (Vancouver) wrote:

Q|We have heard so many stories recently about the shortage of hotel rooms for visitors other than the privileged groups. Is this unique to the Vancouver Olympics, or have you encountered this before? How was it handled, and do you have any suggestions for ticket holders who are having difficulty booking a room. What about those internet sites like rentatthegames.com that offer private homes for rent- are they effective? I think we have a like a big public relations nightmare for Canada in the making, and I think we need to pull together to find solutions. What do you suggest?


KIRK: If you talk to the John Furlong, the CEO of VANOC, a shortage of hotel rooms isn't necessarily a bad thing. It shows that a lot of people want to come to Vancouver, adding to the success of the Games. He says that having empty rooms would be a far worse situation. That being said VANOC was required to provide about 16500 rooms for its partners, sponsors and members of the International Olympic Committee. Now its looking to book 21000 rooms. It would appear that the economic downtown hasn't affect the demand for rooms for these games. If rooms are freed up, they are quickly snapped up by others. That being said that doesn't leave much space left over for regular spectators from the rest of Canada or around the world. No doubt you have looked at the 2010destinationplanner.com website and found very little available. That may soon change. In a few weeks VANOC should have a better idea of its needs and may released some of the rooms it has blocked booked. Also many hotels don't even accept bookings more than a year in advance. Now that we are less than 365 days to the Games, make sure you check both official and individual hotel websites frequently because rooms may come up often. If you have tickets for events in Whistler, you are in luck. Tourism Whistler says VANOC has only booked 45% of the 10,000 bedrooms available in the resort. Those remaining rooms can sleep 16,500 people. Check out its website: www.whistler.com . As for private rentals, VANOC recommends this site: www.emrvacationrentals.com. Make sure you do your research by checking out comparable properties and various websites in the same neighbourhood to see if you are paying too much. Finally, you may want to take a chance and not book anything. There were empty rooms near some of the events in Salt Lake City during the games. Sometimes rooms go empty because greedy owners were charging too much leading up to the Games---and they ended up slashing rates to fill them up.

Posted February 10, 2009 09:41 AM

squib (Vancouver) wrote:

Q| When will we see a return to the roots of the ancient olympics, where the games provided a common event for the broader population? We could stop our wars to play the games. Why have they dropped so significantly from the ancient to the modern games in our estimation?

IAN: I wonder if they have, in fact, "dropped...in our estimation"?

Certainly there is much to debate about the Olympics and, indeed, we have been having that vigorous debate in Vancouver. Is the cost justifiable? Should professionals be competing for medals? Do doping controversies cast a shadow over all of the events?

And yet, the Olympics remain the gold standard when it comes to public attention. There is something about the Olympics that drives a lot of people to their televisions every four years to cheer on people who, for the three years and 350 days in between, they don't think twice about.

Now, I know there are exceptions. Still, how many of the millions of Canadians who shouted in celebration when Cindy Klassen won medal after medal in Turin have any idea how she fared on the World Cup circuit in 2007?

For all of the attention the men's 100 metres gets at each summer Olympics, how many people know who the "world's fastest man" is right now?

For all the debate, for all its flaws, there is something about the Olympics that stirs our passions. And perhaps the critics of the Games will be comforted by this: almost to a person, the Olympians I have met have been remarkably humble and gracious. Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising. It takes a special kind of person to train for hours, every day, for years, to represent their country for a day...or even a few seconds. And then, start all over again.

Posted February 6, 2009 04:59 PM

Dave Sygrasha (Vancouver) wrote:

Q| Did you ever get out of the security bubble, and try to enter the games as a 'civilian'? Does the press ever get a layman's view of the games?


IAN: As a reporter covering the Games I spent about half of my time outside that "bubble" and a couple of things come to mind for people here in Vancouver to consider.

First of all, whether you're attending an event or just spending time in the city, expect huge disruptions. In all of the Olympic cities I was in there was confusion over traffic flow changes, closed sidewalks, downtown hotel lobbies that were no longer open to the public and security. Lots and lots of security, with some of the rules changing from day to day or even hour to hour.

Second, the Olympic "spirit" seemed to build in the days after the opening ceremonies. I would arrive in the host city about a week before the Games began and in each city, there were stories in the local papers about how many people seemed disinterested in the games. But by the end of the first week of events that seemed to change, with a surge of support.

Of course, this kind of assessment is completely subjective...maybe I was just getting over my jetlag. But there is no question that having athletes from the host country win gold infused the city with energy. That was certainly the case in Nagano when the Japanese ski jumpers started doing very well and in Salt Lake, when the US team climbed atop the medal standings.

Another factor in creating excitement was having places where the public could visit and feel a connection to the Olympics without having to pay or line up or go through security. In Salt Lake City, there was a public plaza with booths and displays and, yes, over-priced souvenirs, where people could visit, stroll or just hang out and feel like they were in an Olympic city.

Posted February 6, 2009 04:52 PM

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