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Rogge: Vancouver Athletes Village is among Olympic Best


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Rogge: Vancouver village is among Olympic best

The Canadian Press

Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010 4:48 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Some athletes stopped and stared, others went on playing video games as the president of the International Olympic Committee and Canada's Governor General toured the Vancouver Olympic athletes village on Tuesday.

Jacques Rogge said he's been told the Vancouver and Whistler villages are the best people have ever seen.

He declared the Vancouver site was "wonderful.''

"Everything that I have seen is really outstanding,'' he said, before heading off to his own room at the village.

"It's a prime location, a good-quality building, a lot of comfort for the athletes.''

Rogge toured the site with other IOC executive members, stopping by an entertainment centre complete with pool tables, video games and leather-backed lounge chairs.

He chatted briefly with athletes there before moving through to one of the townhouses on the site.

As is his custom, Rogge will spend part of his time staying at site, dividing his nights there with those at the Olympic family hotel.

He said he's already heard that the rooms are quiet - an important feature for athletes.

"Sometimes after a victory an athlete can make some noise,'' he said.

"So you must be sure the other athletes are not woken up.''

Before heading off to his own room, Rogge stopped and had lunch at the dining hall, choosing some cheddar cheese, B.C. salmon, pasta, a diet Coke and a chocolate bar from among the various food stations available.

The Vancouver village is home to about 2,700 athletes and officials during the Games.

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean made a beeline for Canadian athletes in the dining hall as she toured the village on Tuesday.

"I tried to bring as much snow as I could with me,'' Jean told women's hockey team captain Hayley Wickenheiser.

She posed for photographs with members of Canada's curling team as well.

The 1,100 units in the billion dollar project are being sold off to the public after the Olympics and Paralympics are over.

While the Vancouver organizing committee contributed $30 million to the village, the cost and construction of the village was the responsibility of the City of Vancouver.

They were forced to take over the financing after the project's initial lenders stopped payment to the developers at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem said she's given the village a "white-glove test'' and thinks athletes are in for the time of their lives.

"We should be so proud of this,'' she said in an interview in the village square.

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Olympians a-Twitter about ‘awesome’ Athlete’s Village

By LORI CULBERT, Vancouver Sun

February 9, 2010 6:02 PM

VANCOUVER -- With the possible exception of any Aussies still upset over the flag flap, it seems most Olympians are giving top marks to Vancouver's new athletes' village.

Many of the competitors now arriving in Vancouver are abuzz on Twitter about their temporary home on south False Creek.

Canadian women's hockey team member Meaghan Mikkelson tweeted at 11:15 a.m. Monday: "Checked in at the AMAZING Olympic Village! Loving every minute of it."

Her teammate Hayley Wickenheiser agreed, posting earlier Monday: "Arrived in the Village and everything looks great!"

U.S. curler Nicole Joraanstad gushed on her Twitter page Sunday: "I am still in awe of the Olympic Village. Someone pinch me!"

Joraanstad posted a photo of an attractive, although sparsely furnished, room with floor-to-ceiling windows and endless views of boats docked in False Creek and downtown skyscrapers.

It's likely good karma for city hall that the athletes like the eco-friendly building, since the $1-billion project went approximately $130 million over budget.

The only public protest within the village so far was from Australians who were ordered last week to remove their beloved boxing kangaroo flag from the outside of the building, because the International Olympic Commission had corporate marketing concerns about it. The IOC eventually relented, and the kangaroo is still flying.

Apolo Ohno, the popular U.S. short track speed skater, tweeted on Sunday that he and other athletes were having fun hanging out at the village. "Have some downtime and we are marinating in the village while watching the Superbowl."

In an earlier post on Saturday, Ohno gushed: "The Olympic Village here in CA is beautiful. Awesome facilities and the hospitality is amazing. Vancity is an incredible place."

Another U.S. speed skater, Chad Hedrick, told his Twitter followers: "The athlete village here in Vancouver is incredible! I have a two-bedroom condo overlooking the city and water. Good times!"

A later post by Hedrick is perhaps the highest praise Vancouver could hope for: "I keep telling everyone this years Olympics is going to be tough to beat in the future. Congrats Vancouver for making this one to remember."

But perhaps Lauren Cholewinski, a U.S. long track speed skater, said it the best in a post on Thursday: "moved into the olympic village today!! i think i have fallin in love with the olympics."

lculbert@vancouversun.com

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Always maintained that the variety of building facades,designs and the overall feel and masterplan, location, accessibility makes this arguably the best OV for a winter Games ever, and while on a smaller scale, will challenge London 2012 architecturally.

So refreshing after the rows of identical buildings in Beijing.

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