IOC demands 5-star treatment in Vancouver: documents
When the top names on the International Olympic Committee visit Vancouver for the 2010 Games next February, little expense will be spared to see that they're comfortable and tuned in to virtually every athletic competition underway, CBC News has learned.
Documents acquired through access-to-information requests reveal that IOC president Jacques Rogge will be housed in a five-star waterfront Vancouver hotel, at IOC expense.
Rogge's room also must be equipped by VANOC with floor-to-ceiling banks of television sets with video feeds "enabling simultaneous viewing of all events of the games," the documents say.
In terms of getting around in Vancouver and Whistler, Rogge and other IOC members will get their own cars and drivers, as will members of all the international sports federation bodies.
Families of IOC members, as well as their interpreters, advisers, and agents will have their bills paid for by the IOC, but if they get sick, there must be free medical care for them, according to the documents.
No five-star treatment for athletes
But where the IOC members get five-star treatment, the documents said accommodation for athletes need only be at the three-star level.
The documents were specific about other requirements athletes must have, including 50 litres of hot water each per day and rooms decorated with children's art.
TVs in the athletes' rooms were not listed as a necessity.
"The IOC sets the program, and our job is to execute the program as best we can," Vancouver Organizing Committee vice-president Caley Denton told CBC News.
Despite the apparently lavish treatment for some officials, VANOC's chief executive said these Olympics would not be opulent as some in the past.
"Everybody is still paying attention to the [economic] environment we're in and [will] manage themselves accordingly," said John Furlong.
One Vancouver city official also came to the defence of expenses revealed in the documents, even as the city struggles with a multimillion-dollar deficit of its own.
City manager Penny Ballem said sponsorships and TV rights pay many of the Olympic bills.
"It's the best economic development strategy in the shortest period of time you could hope for," Ballem said.
- An earlier version of the story stated that VANOC will pay the expenses of families of IOC members, as well as their interpreters, advisers and agents. In fact, the IOC will pay those expenses.Oct 02, 2009 12:00 AM PT