Residents of seven British Columbia communities received a special preview Wednesday 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, 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 Wednesday 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, including pre-games volunteer Bet Tuason pictured right, experienced first-hand what it will feel like for the 12,000 Olympic Torchbearers involved in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.
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.
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.