VANOC boss downplays woes

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER – Every day is an interesting day when you’re the head of the organizing committee for Vancouver 2010.

But John Furlong is starting to have a chance to get out and experience his own Olympics.

“The first day was the most challenging day of my life,” said the VANOC boss. “That first day set us back a little bit. But we’ve come through it as best as we could and now things are starting to go very well,” he said.

Furlong is starting to admit some mistakes were made.

“We have 50,000 people working at these Games and there are a lot of moving parts,” he said.

Some, he admitted, were in the area of transportation.

“We had to decommission some of the buses,” he said of equipment they brought in from elsewhere to help move people around.

The Zamboni has arrived from Calgary at speed skating. The British press has settled down.

“Sebastian Coe informed us that the two people who wrote those articles aren’t even here,” he said. “I think if you’re here, you can see some pretty special things. I think there are 60,000 to 70,000 people on Robson St.,” he said of the celebrations.

With plus-9 C temperatures forecast in both Vancouver and Whistler Friday there are fears the weather will affect more events. Already 28,000 tickets have been cancelled at Cypress, although all the events have been held.

“Nine degrees in Vancouver and nine degrees in Whistler are two different things,” said Furlong. “There’s lots of snow at Whistler and it freezes overnight.”

Canadian bobsledders, however, say the track was “slushy” for the last run at practice Thursday.

Robson was at the curling venue Thursday night and thrilled with what he witnessed.

“I never thought I’d see people doing the wave at curling. The atmosphere at this venue is amazing. I think curling clubs are going to enjoy a real membership boost in every corner of the country. The TV pictures from curling are brilliant.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

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