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Sep 23, 2009
Vancouver, BC — Residents of seven British Columbia communities received a special preview today of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay convoy and celebrations as the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) put their operational plans to the test in a simulation exercise representing an actual day along the national relay route.“The training exercise was tremendously valuable for the team and the communities to validate our plans. For the most part, our major planning assumptions were proven correct,” said Jim Richards, program director for the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relays. “We’ll use the next several weeks to incorporate what we learned today, including the need to fine-tune media operations, torchbearer transitions, as well as ensure we have continuous communication with our route communities on any last minute changes. We are very thankful to the communities and media who participated in this event today and the residents for their patience.”
With a main convoy of vehicles that stretched the distance of a football field, staff, observers and partners rehearsed an actual day from the relay route to refine and ensure the proper coordination of the many staff and vehicles it takes to stage this pan-Canadian celebration.
Approximately 150 volunteer stand-in torchbearers experienced first-hand what it will feel like for the 12,000 Olympic Torchbearers involved in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada.
“We’re no longer counting the months until the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay begins, we’re counting the days,” said Richards. “Staging such an engaging and inclusive relay, we can’t do all of our planning in boardrooms or in meetings. An Olympic Torch Relay is a complex project with many moving points that need to work within precision timing. We had to take our plans and test them out on the very streets the Olympic Flame will pass through on its way to light the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver.”
Similar to when the relay will visit each of the 1,036 communities across Canada, the host communities and local law enforcement provided rolling road closures to allow the torchbearers and convoy to travel through the community. Residents in Chilliwack and Abbotsford also saw a setup of the celebration stages that will be used at the nearly 200 community celebrations over the course of the 106-day relay.
Key lessons from the training event included:
• A vehicle in the core convoy had a dead battery this morning causing a departure delay of 10 minutes. All vehicles will be outfitted with booster cables for relay time.
• Advance vehicles responsible for management of arrivals and departure of the convoy during the day will require double the amount of pylons to help manage this process.
• Unexpected road construction in Chilliwack did not delay the convoy but at relay time the team will double-check with communities to ensure they are aware of the routes and road projects on the relay day.
• Confirmed our pacing for torchbearers and the convoy was accurate as the team was always within five minutes of projected times.
• Ensure torchbearers are provided with clear direction to understand the exchange with the next torchbearers, as well as torchbearers with special needs.
• Position media zones on the same side at celebration site to ensure unobstructed camera positions for photo opportunities.
• Clearly identify media relations staff at celebration sites.
Media One Vehicle in core convoy
• Further retrofits to vehicle are required to accommodate additional camera positions.
• Pre-registration of media interested in being on Media One vehicle will be required to ensure smooth transitions between segments. This registration will need to be separate from the torch relay registration that closed mid-summer 2009.
• Adjustments to some set elements will be required.
The 45,000-kilometre route, which will bring the Olympic Flame within one hour of over 90 per cent of the Canadian population, has now been mapped out metre by metre and each day more torchbearers are receiving official notifications offering them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. While communities put the finishing touches on lively and entertaining celebrations that showcase local talent, torch relay staff, including flame attendants and escort runners, continue their rigorous training to prepare physically and mentally for the challenges of a relay through a Canadian winter.
With less than a month to go before the Olympic Flame is lit in Olympia, Greece in a time honoured and celebrated ceremony, communities are getting ready to welcome the world and showcase their part of Canada through the torch relay which will begin in Victoria, British Columbia on October 30, 2009.
Planning for the torch relay has been ongoing since 2006, VANOC has been working in close collaboration with relay partners including the provinces, territories, communities, RCMP, and many sponsors and suppliers who have loaned their time, talent and energy to stage the longest domestic torch relay in history.
Those wanting to follow the Olympic Flame online, see video and video highlights and read daily stories from the road can do so at www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay An enhanced interactive map of the national relay route will be unveiled in mid-October and updated continuously to provide detailed maps of the Olympic Flame’s path through each community in the days before the exciting celebrations take place in every corner of Canada.
NOTE: Photos taken during the torch relay training event are available to interested media on request.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com
If you are a member of the media, please contact mediarelations[at]vancouver2010.com
For all other inquiries, please contact info[at]vancouver2010.com
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