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Firm Foundations The Olympic Stadium progress in London has heightened with a 30m- long steel section of the roof being lifted into place, taking the height of the venue to almost 37m above the ground level where spectators will enter the Stadium in 2012. A further 27 sections of the roof will be lifted into place over the next nine months with the aim of completing this section of steelwork by October 2009. Olympic Delivery Authority ( ODA) Chairman John Armitt said: " The construction of the roof starts to give a real indication of the height of the structure and people can start to see for themselves how the Olympic Stadium will look during the Games." One year out from the Games in 2010, sporting events such as the World Cups and World Championships are being hosted at the venues in Vancouver and Whistler, providing the opportunity to test Games- time operations as well as to train potential volunteers. Early February saw the inaugural competitions on the sliding track for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games during the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup. The Whistler Sliding Centre confirmed its moniker as the world's fastest track when Latvia's Janis Minins became the first man to drive a four- man bobsleigh faster than 150 kilometres per hour. In front of a sold- out crowd of 3,000, Minins and his team mates won gold on the 1,450 metre course. The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships that took place from 2 to 8 February in the Pacific Coliseum were another good occasion to get an impression of the preparations for next year's Vancouver Olympic Games. The event featured the best figure skaters from non- European countries, and no fewer than 108 athletes from 16 nations competed in front of approximately 30,000 spectators. February also saw more than 300 of the world's best snowboarders meet at Cypress Mountain for the Snowboard FIS World Cup. The Richmond Olympic Oval opened in December – 14 months before the start of the 2010 Games. Built by the City of Richmond, the venue will host the long track speed skating competition on its 400m track. BelowBrent Bommentre and Kimberly Navarro of the United States compete in the Four Continents Figure Skating The British public is being invited to design 50 pence coins to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The competition, being run by the Royal Mint, is open all UK residents over the age of 13. A total of 29 designs will be chosen, depicting each of the sports at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They will feature on the back of millions of 50 pence pieces from March 2010. The winners will also receive £ 1,000 cash and a gold coin featuring their own design. Two of the 29 sports will be designed by children: the Athletics coin will be chosen from a special children's competition for 6- 12 year olds; a coin for Cycling will be chosen from secondary school entries ( 13- 19 year olds). For a list of permitted sporting themes and the full entry criteria and competition terms and conditions, visit www. royalmintcompetition. co. uk SPORTSEVENTS ASUCCESS COINCOMPETITION IOCVISITS SOCHIAHEAD OFMILESTONE A delegation from the IOC visited Sochi for a working visit with organisers of the 2014 Winter Games. The scheduled Project Review visit on 30 and 31 January 2009 took place just before Sochi 2014 began its ' five-years- to- go' countdown on 7 February 2009. The IOC delegation in Sochi included Jean- Claude Killy, Olympic skiing legend and Chairman of the IOC's Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, and Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Olympic Games Executive Director. Particular attention was paid to the progress made on the governance structure for the 2014 Winter Games, including collaboration with private investors and contractors. Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of Sochi 2014, said: " We have been able to update the IOC on the progress we've been making across a full range of areas. Due to the unique nature of our Olympic project, we need to consistently make rapid progress, and this means that every time the IOC visits, we have a lot of good news to share." Jean- Claude Killy, Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, said: " Since our last visit, the Sochi 2014 project has made good progress and a lot of exciting initiatives are now underway. We had the opportunity to not just meet with Dimitry Chernyshenko and his team but also held very productive discussions with Prime Minister Putin, Deputy Prime Ministers Zhukov and Kozak, and Victor Kolodyazhny of Olympstroy. This once again underlined to us the strong support of the Russian Government and people for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games." BelowMembers of the IOC Coordination Commission in Sochi OLYMPIC REVIEW21 LONDON 2012

Sports festival in Cameroon The NOC of Cameroon held its 2008 Dixiades in Yaoundé. This first edition of the country's national games attracted some 1,664 athletes, 228 coaches, 126 artists and 20 cultural officers, 400 volunteers and 309 young athletes select-ed for the Cameroon Olympic School. Prime Minister Inoni Ephraïm presided over the clos-ing ceremony at the Yaoundé multi- sports stadium. The city of Ngaoundéré will host the second edition in December 2010. Ecuador NOC awards prizes The walker Jefferson Pérez and weightlifter Alexandra Escobar received the " Citius, Altius, Fortius" prize for the best athletes of 2008 at the 3rd Olympic Gala of the Ecuadorian NOC. In Beijing, Pérez won his second Olympic medal ( silver) in the 20km race walk, while Escobar placed fifth in the 58kg category. During the Gala, the NOC also presented prizes to 103 other athletes representing 16 disciplines. The Olympic Day 2009 on 23 June will be activated under the theme: " Move, Learn and Discover". National Olympic Committees ( NOCs) across the globe are currently planning this year's activities that, like in the last years, will go far beyond the traditional Olympic Day Run. " We encourage all NOCs to keep the run, but to show the variety of the Olympic Movement, including other sports, and adding in particular educational and cultural elements," says IOC President Jacques Rogge. " It is about reaching out to the local communities as best as possible and get many people moving – regardless of age or ability." To support the NOCs in the planning and the implementation, the IOC is providing a toolkit with helpful background information on the concept, a full set of ideas for activities, useful tips for communication and promotional items such as banners, videos, and publications. As a reminder: on 23 June 1894 Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games and created the International Olympic Committee during a meeting in Paris. AboveChildren from around the world taking part in the 2008 Olympic Day Run OLYMPICDAY: MOVE, LEARN& DISCOVER! CANADA INDUCTSINTO HALLOFFAME OLYMPIC VALUES NOC PRESIDENTS RE- ELECTED On 26 March, in Vancouver, several athletes and other sports personalities will be inducted into the 2009 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. The inductees are Olympic and world champion figure skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier; the 2002 men's and women's Olympic hockey teams; Howard Firby, a swimming coach for almost three decades; and Robert Hindmarch, who has left a lasting legacy to amateur hockey in Canada. In addition, Jean Grenier will receive the Canadian Olympic Order. A past president of Speed Skating Canada and an NOC executive member, Jean Grenier was Chef de Mission for the first Winter Games to be held in Canada, in Calgary in 1988. Full details on www. olympic. ca. The Spanish NOC announced the launch of its second Olympic values promotional cam-paign, " Todos Olímpicos" (" All Olympic"). This campaign is aimed at secondary school pupils in the Madrid region. Its main aim is to familiarise pupils with Olympic and sporting values such as equality, respect and excellence. More details on www. coe. es Pál Schmitt, President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee since 1989, has been re- elected President for a sixth term. The Olympic champions, Zsolt Borkai ( gymnastics, 1988) and Zsolt Gyulay ( canoeing, 1988) were elected Vice- Presidents. Zvi Varshaviak has been re- elected President of the NOC of Israel for a further four- year term, with Efraim Zinger being re- confirmed as Secretary General. Meanwhile, the Czech NOC re- elected Milan Jirasekas as President and confirmed Peter Hrubec as Secretary General. NEWS INBRIEF 22OLYMPIC REVIEW