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Vancouver wins bid to host 2010 Olympics

The Story

Prague, Czech Republic: Vancouver's four-year, $40-million job interview ends successfully. The International Olympic Committee awards the 2010 Winter Games to Vancouver -- barely. The first round of voting goes to Pyeongchang, South Korea. But Vancouver carries the day on the second ballot, winning by a mere three votes. As we see in this live CBC Television special report, Vancouver and Whistler residents greet the news with celebrations from sea to sky. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: July 2, 2003
Guest: Jaques Rogge
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Duration: 4:42

Did You know?

• The candidates for the 2010 Winter Olympics were:
- Andorra la Vella, Andorra
- Berne, Switzerland
- Harbin, China
- Jaca, Spain
- Pyeongchang, South Korea
- Salzburg, Austria
- Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
- Vancouver, Canada


• Only the Pyeongchang, Salzburg and Vancouver bids were selected for voting.

• To the surprise of many, Pyeongchang won the first round of voting with 51 votes to Vancouver's 40. Salzburg, an early favourite, was eliminated with 16 votes. In the second round, Vancouver squeaked in with a 56-53 win over Pyeongchang.


• In a strange twist, Dick Pound noted that for some reason a few International Olympic Committee members were out in the hall during the voting (four members missed the first round, three missed the second). Pyeongchang may have won if those members had voted.

• "Bid books" are a key component of any Olympic bid. Since the Salt Lake City scandal, most IOC members are not permitted to visit bidding cities. Vancouver's three-volume, 460-page "Sea to Sky Games" bid book took more than a year to design. It was presented to IOC members in a beautiful cedar box created from recycled wood poles, with a strip of aboriginal art carved into the front.

• Vancouver's win was met with mixed emotions in Toronto, which had lost to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Games. City officials had already written a letter of application for the 2012 Games. The Vancouver win wiped out Toronto's chances; the letter was never sent.

• The Vancouver bid estimated the Games would cost $620 million for sports facilities alone. The figure did not include a massive project to widen and straighten the treacherous Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, estimated to take five years and cost $600 million.

• The Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) links communities from West Vancouver to Whistler, about 150 kilometres north. The scenery is spectacular, with steep cliffs soaring to the sky on one side and plunging into the sea on the other. It's also dangerous; the site of some 2,500 accidents that caused 1,300 injuries and two dozen deaths over the past five years (2003). During the Olympics an estimated 700 buses will carry some 30,000 people making the journey each day.

• The bid also recommended a $2 billion SkyTrain link to the airport, but said that it was not essential. As of June 2004 that project had funding approval but was still in the planning stages.


• Some B.C. native groups opposed the 2010 Olympics, fearing it would threaten pristine lands still used for native hunting and fishing. Three bands fought a ski resort expansion near Kamloops, claiming aboriginal title to the land. They petitioned the IOC to reject the Vancouver-Whistler bid on human rights grounds.


Getting the Games: Canada's Olympic Bids more