Lend a Hand for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games

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Just because you live in Hamilton or Edmonton doesn’t mean you can’t take part in the Games. After all, when something needs done, Canada is the type of country that rolls up its sleeves and gets dirty.

Approximately 25,000 volunteers are needed to stage the Winter Olympics. Organizers can plan every detail, but in less than a year it will be the volunteers who will help put on the biggest show the West Coast has ever seen.

Donna Savage, VANOC workforce specialist, said volunteering in 2010 is truly a chance to be part of history. “You’ll have the opportunity to share our country with the world, and be part of the global village atmosphere of the Games, memories that will last a lifetime.”

A huge variety of roles are available for volunteers. There are jobs for those who want to be involved with the opening and closing ceremonies. There is also a massive need for welcoming committees, and medical, technical and financial staff. And the list goes on since there is a need for volunteers with just about every skill set and level of experience. To get engaged and get involved: Vancouver 2010

Watchful eyes

Not everyone agrees the 2010 Winter Games are the best thing to hit the West Coast since Sarah McLachlan. After the 2010 bid announcement in 2002, a variety of independent Olympic watchdog groups formed to keep an eye on planning.

Vancouver’s leading 2010 watchdog, the Impacts of the Olympics on Community Coalition (IOCC), releases report cards on planning among other initiatives. The mission of the IOCC and many other watchdogs is to evaluate the development of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games from social and economic perspectives.

Although these groups sometimes serve as a bee in the bonnet of 2010 Games planners, they ensure information is kept public. One of the earlier achievements of the IOCC was playing a key role in the development of the Inner-City Inclusively Commitment Statement, which ensures the needs of Vancouver’s homeless are met during the 2010 Winter Games.

Homes for Homeless

After an agreement between the Province of B.C. and VANOC, up to 156 units of affordable housing for the homeless will be created. The plan is to reconfigure 320 temporary modular housing units from the Olympic and Paralympic Village at Whistler and relocate them to six B.C. communities: Chetwynd, Chilliwack, Enderby, Saanich, Sechelt and Surrey. The total cost of the project is $43.6 million. The province will contribute more than $20 million for the relocation, reconfiguration and site preparations. It seems it’s all about recycling in 2010.

Ski cross debutante

Ski cross is a new Olympic sport for the 2010 Winter Games and one in which Canada has big hopes for hardware. Whistler’s Julia Murray is ranked as one of Canada’s top skicross athletes after winning two Europa Cup events and the King of the Mountain competition in Sun Valley, Idaho. Her results shocked coaches last season because she switched to ski cross from alpine racing only a month before becoming a member of the Canadian ski-cross team.

Ski cross not your average alpine race. Four skiers compete head-to-head against bumps, turns, the clock and each other. Inspired by motocross, the ski-cross course is designed to test skiers’ skills incorporating rolls, banks, turns and ridges similar to those found on a normal ski slope. After her first race, Murray was hooked.

At 19, Murray has proved that she has the speed and determination, not to mention the pedigree, to win on the world ski-cross scene. Her father happens to be the late Dave Murray, one of the original Crazy Canucks who dominated downhill skiing in the 1970s and early 1980s, and her mother, Stephanie Sloan, was a three-time world champion freestyle skier. So it seems fitting that Julia Murray has found her niche in a sport that incorporates both freestyle and alpine skiing.

“My dad played a huge role in the ski world,” Murray said, “and if it weren’t for the Crazy Canucks, alpine racing would not be the same. In a way, it’s the same with ski cross. We are a next generation of Crazy Canucks blazing a new path. So in a very real sense, I am following in my dad’s footsteps.”

Kim Thompson
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