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OLYMPIC REVIEW27 VANCOUVER 2010 feature alpine ski events, the nearby Whistler Olympic Park has been stunningly laid out for cross- country, biathlon, ski jumping and nordic combined competitions. " The backdrop of the mountains and snow just takes your breath away," Furlong claims. Fasel seconds that emotion, stating, " Mother Nature will be Vancouver 2010' s greatest attraction." Adjacent to Whistler Creekside is Blackcomb Mountain, where the Whistler Sliding Centre, a 1,450- metre serpentine ice track for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events, has been neatly carved into the landscape. World- record times are apt to be posted there, as athletes competing in pre- Games contests have rated the track the fastest in the world. Athletes, coaches, officials and other sports personnel will be housed in a pair of newly erected Olympic and Paralympic Villages in both Whistler and Vancouver. The eco- conscious Whistler complex, built on land formerly used as a town dump, will be heated by methane gas trapped underneath. The Vancouver village, a 17- acre, 1,100- unit development located alongside the city's False Creek waterfront, will be converted after the Games into a sustainable community featuring apartments, retail shops, restaurants and public parks. As diligent as VANOC and the IOC have been in guaranteeing a long- lasting legacy for the Vancouver Games, they have tapped into Canada's rich origins, as well, by prominently including the nation's aboriginal groups in ? LeftMascot Quatchi poses with some volunteers Above The Torch travels on a traditional canoe

28OLYMPIC REVIEW VANCOUVER 2010 planning and hosting activities. " We have developed a profound partnership with the aboriginal people of this country," Furlong declares, referring to the indigenous First Nations, Inuit and Métis population. " They are full partners in delivering the Games." The IOC's objective of assuring aboriginal groups' full participation in the Games dates back to 1999, when the body adopted its Sport for Sustainable Development agenda. The Games in Vancouver will demonstrate that assurance. " Indigenous participation in past Games has focused primarily on ceremonies and cultural programmes," says Gary Youngman, Vancouver's Consulting Director of Aboriginal Participation. " We plan to go beyond that, to set the bar higher, with the hope that future Organising Committees can be inspired and learn from our experience." Fasel credits in particular the contributions of British Columbia's Four Host First Nations - the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil- Waututh - on whose native territories the Games will take place. " They've been involved since the bid phase," he says, " and not only have they participated in the organisation, but First Nations companies have helped build some of the venues." Aboriginal art and culture, a vital ingredient in forming Canada's history, will be on display through the Games and notably during the Cultural Olympiad. The two- month- long programme, from 22 January to 21 March, will celebrate the best artists from across Canada and around the world. Featuring music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, outdoor spectaculars and digital media experiences, " it tells a full story of what Canada is about and why Canada works," Furlong says. Furlong, who emigrated to Canada from his native Ireland nearly 30 years ago, recalls the words of a custom official who greeted him at the airport. "' Welcome to Canada,' he said, ' make us better.'" These Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, he firmly believes, will indeed make Canada better. " We've tried to have the Games unify the spirit of the country, to have Canadians see them as an opportunity to stop and celebrate and embrace their good fortune to live in a special place," he says. That energy will encourage the rest of the world to turn its attention to Vancouver and cheer for the 2010 Olympic Games. ¦ It's going to be nice to see so many people converging on Vancouver, people who are really open to exploring and seeing all the good things in a place. I'm looking forward to trying to get in to see some of the ice hockey games. It's great when you get to see something like that, literally a few minutes from your doorstep. Other things that would be fun to check out are curling and speed skating - they're going to be exciting and unique. I think it's going to be fantastic. TOM MASTERSON 24, BIOTECHNOLOGY MARKETER I was an escort runner with the Calgary 1988 Olympic Torch Relay and everybody lined the road with Canadian flags. I expect the same thing here in Vancouver - massive amounts of patriotism and enthusiasm for Canadian athletes. We tend to think that the world has discovered Vancouver, but we are actually quite small in the light of the world, so there will be many people who've never seen Vancouver, who'll be impressed. I think even Canadians who haven't been to Vancouver for a long time might be encouraged to come again. BRIAN MOGHADAM 51, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER ABORIGINAL ART AND CULTURE, A VITAL INGREDIENT IN FORMING CANADA'S HISTORY, WILL BE ON DISPLAY THROUGH THE GAMES AND NOTABLY DURING THE CULTURAL OLYMPIAD, CELEBRATING THE BEST ARTISTS FROM ACROSS CANADA AND AROUND THE WORLD