Olympic village a hub of activity

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency



None of the 2,850 athletes or officials who will live at the Whistler Olympic Village has arrived, but it's a hub of activity nonetheless.

“Everyday I walk into this venue there’s something different, today it’s the scrim all along the fence lines,” general manager Tim Morrison said during a Wednesday media tour.

There are 255,000 square feet of temporary overlay facilities at the Cheakamus Crossing site, including a massive 43,000 square dining tent with a McDonald’s and counters for Asian and Italian cuisine. Service begins Jan. 23 and athletes arrive Feb. 4. Cooks will dish up 11,000 meals a day, Morrison said. Athletes will be able to learn more about the nutritional content of every morsel of food by entering their daily intake details online.

The Whistler Athletes’ Centre is outfitted with fitness equipment in the gymnasium and the rec room has a selection of foosball and bubble hockey tables for athletes to unwind.

Athletes will try to avoid the polyclinic, but if they are ill or injured there is a full-range of medical services available: physiotherapy, chiropractic, dental, podiatry, orthotics and imaging.

Everything but an in-patient ward and elective surgery is offered, said VANOC medical director Dr. Mike Wilkinson.

The temporary mini-hospital, which includes a GE-provided mobile surgical unit, will be staffed by 171 certified volunteer doctors, nurses, therapists and administrators. As many as 100 patients can be treated at a time throughout the facility.

A mysterious obelisk -- could it be a remote Olympic flame cauldron? -- rises in the courtyard while dozens of diesel generators hummed throughout the site. Even a Canadian army vehicle from the nearby military camp dropped by while media buses left at midday.

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