Vancouver residents psyched for Games

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    By Nicole Seymour

    Ask any of the Canadians on campus about their silver dollar nicknamed “loonie,” and he or she will tell a story of superstition.

    The “loonie” supposedly helped Vancouver, British Columbia to win the bid to host the world in the Winter Games of 2010.

    As the Canadian men won their first hockey gold in 50 years at the 2002 Games, the “loonie” was sitting in the ice.

    In Prague, as the winner of the 2010 bid was announced, each member of the bidding committee for the Vancouver Olympic Games ( including hockey-great Wayne Gretsky ( had a “loonie” in his or her pocket.

    “It was meant to be a good luck charm; obviously it worked,” said Sam Corea, media director for the Vancouver Games of 2010.

    Twenty locations were available throughout the province for residents to watch the announcement of the bid winner broadcast from Prague. Around 15,000 people gathered at the GM Place in Vancouver, and 5,000 watched from Whistler”s village square.

    The International Olympic Committee decided against Pyeongchang, South Korea in favor of Vancouver.

    “The air was filled with pure elation,” Corea said.

    Of the 2.3 million residents of Vancouver, Corea said that every nationality and every language in the world is represented, making it an ideal location for the world to assemble.

    “Vancouver in part is very multicultural, with the second largest Chinatown in North America and lots of Indians and Asians and all kinds of different nationalities, so they”ll probably emphasize that,” said Amy Walton, a junior from Surrey, British Columbia, studying MFHD.

    Venues in Vancouver will host freestyle skiing, snowboarding as well as all ice sports. Two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler, a world-class ski resort voted best in North America by ski magazines, will offer alpine skiing, Nordic sports and sliding sports.

    “These games are unique in that they are christened the Sea-to-Sky games with Vancouver as an oceanside city and Whistler as the other site, 80 miles away, in the mountains,” said Corea. “With Vancouver as the host city, it is the first ocean side city to host the Winter Games since 1952 when they were in Oslo, Norway. Whistler paired with Vancouver make quite the compelling setting.”

    The NHL is questioning whether its players will participate in the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. However, Vancouver Games officials are hopeful that as host city, the NHL will choose to keep its players in the games.

    As host of the games, Vancouver as well as Canada in general, is looking forward to solid economic prospects.

    In a news release, Premier Gordon Campbell said that investments in games-related projects would result in a 400 percent return.

    Benson Porter, a junior studying construction management from Barnwell, Alberta, said, “We can see from Salt Lake City that it turned out and it was a great success. The Olympics will help more people to see that it”s a wonderful place to visit; it”s a beautiful place.”

    Walton said that Vancouver is a tourist destination already, but it will flourish with all of the publicity as Salt Lake City has.

    “Maybe there will be some Americans that will learn a little more about their neighbors to the north,” said Walton.

    Plans are being formed for construction and renovation starting as early as 2004, but all projects will be completed by 2008.

    “When they come to Canada, they can expect great games by a passionate people who believe in the Olympic movement,” said Corea.

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