Good test for VANOC

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The Vancouver Organising Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) successfully completed its operational testing at the bobsleigh and skeleton sport events at The Whistler Sliding Centre, which ran from 5 to 7 February.

As approximately 250 athletes from 24 countries battled for track bragging rights, VANOC tested field of play, workforce, Games–time operations and trained potential Games–time volunteers over the course of three training days and three competition days. The venue will also host the luge sport event from 20 to 21 February. The week prior to the FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup, The Whistler Sliding Centre held the FIBT International Training Week. Similar to the FIL International Training Week held in November 2008, the FIBT International Training Week saw 250 athletes from 24 countries learn the intricacies of the track's technical turns–all in preparation for the bobsleigh and skeleton sport event and Olympic competitions in 2010. The sliding sport events provided VANOC with a valuable opportunity to test the field of play on one of the fastest and most technical tracks in the world. Ice and Field of PlayWith the FIBT International Training Week taking place days prior to the bobsleigh and skeleton sport events, this was the first time the track saw the intensity and volume of sleds over a sustained period of time–requiring the track's experienced ice team to put their world–renowned status to work to maintain the integrity of the ice. Seen as both an art and a science, ice maintenance was the biggest test for the venue this week. Throughout training and competition, the track's corner profiles (shape of a corner, typically a constructed concrete structure with layers of ice on top) had to be adjusted to manage a level playing field. Another factor affecting the track was the weather at the venue all week–running the gamut including: fog, rain, light snow, sunny skies, low humidity and chilly nights. Such variance required track shades to be pulled down to protect the ice from melting or key areas to be "spritzed" with water to re–build ice. WorkforceWhilst smaller than at Games time, a specialised team of approximately 118 workforce and 276 volunteers worked back–to–back weeks at the sport event and International Training Week–providing a true taste of the contribution needed should they volunteer in 2010. Spectator AccessWith 3, 000 spectators circulating in the track area for each of the final two days, the venue team monitored spectator flow and service. As a new facility, key learnings in spectator communication and movement will be examined to ensure that fans are able to find where they need to go, as they line the track to cheer on competitors. Medical ServicesIn conjunction with the rigorous testing by the International Federations and VANOC to ensure The Whistler Sliding Centre meets the highest athlete standards and safety features, VANOC's medical services team tested itself in advance of 2010. Working with FIBT medical director, Dr David McDonagh, and in addition to providing first response care, medical services ran mock scenarios of stabilising an athlete on the track in the result of a turn over, as well as refining extraction scenarios within the confines of the ice. Remaining sport events include:FIS Snowboard World CupDate: February 12–15, 2009Location: Cypress Mountain, West VancouverFIL Luge World CupDate: February 16–21, 2009Location: The Whistler Sliding Centre, WhistlerWCF World Wheelchair Curling ChampionshipDate: February 21–28, 2009Location: Vancouver Paralympic Centre, VancouverHockey Canada Cup–Sledge HockeyDate: February 24–March 1, 2009Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena, VancouverIPC Cross–Country Skiing and Biathlon World Cup FinalDate: March 4–7, 2009Location: Whistler Paralympic Park, WhistlerWorld Junior Curling ChampionshipsDate: March 5–15, 2009Location: Vancouver Olympic Centre, VancouverIPC Alpine Skiing World Cup FinalsDate: March 9–14, 2009Location: Whistler Creekside, WhistlerIBU Biathlon World CupDate: March 11–15, 2009Location: Whistler Olympic ParkISU World Single Distances Speed Skating ChampionshipsDate: March 12–15, 2009Location: Richmond Olympic Oval, RichmondHockey Canada Cup–Women's HockeyDate: August 31–September 6, 2009Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena and Canada Hockey Place, Vancouver

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