Vancouver 2010: Venues and Events
Vancouver is rolling out its snowy carpet to welcome athletes from around the world for the Winter Games. Winter sports venues are spread out from downtown Vancouver to Whistler's mountains, just 2 hours outside the city. Here's a rundown of the venues for all of the main events around town.
With a prime location in False Creek, this 60,000-person stadium will host both the opening and closing ceremonies. It's also the spot where the athletes will be honored each night for the victory ceremonies presentations. The venue is indoors -- a bonus considering the frigid winter weather -- and has the largest air-supported dome in the world.
Canada Hockey Place
Canada Hockey Place, also known as GM Place, is home to the NHL team the Vancouver Canucks. Nearly 20,000 fans will converge here to celebrate Canada's beloved sport during the Winter Games.
Cypress Mountain is part of Cypress Provincial Park located in West Vancouver just 30 minutes from downtown. With an elevation around 3,000 feet, the mountain offers great views of the city and harbor. But all eyes will be on the slopes as Cypress is the official home of freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Events include aerials, moguls, snowboard half pipe and snowboard parallel giant slalom. Fast-moving ski and snowboard cross athletes wind their way down a narrow obstacle course with plenty of jumps, twists and turns.
Speed skaters will zoom around the rink during short track competitions at the Pacific Coliseum. Then a series of smooth changeovers prepares the venue for the triple salchows and fancy footwork of figure skating.
Richmond Olympic Oval
The Richmond Olympic Oval was constructed for the 2010 games. The facility is on the banks of the Fraser River, about 9 miles south of downtown and a short drive to the airport. The venue's first claim to fame may be as host for the long-track speed-skating events as well as many medal events. But there are grand plans to use this space as a wellness and training facility long after the games are over.
UBC Thunderbird Arena
The UBC Thunderbird Arena, also known as the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, is part of the University of British Columbia. The arena is hosting 17 men's and women's ice hockey games and 20 ice sledge hockey games.
Vancouver Olympic Centre
A new venue near Queen Elizabeth Park, the Vancouver Olympic Centre is home to the competition's curling events. After the games wrap up, this venue will become a community facility with ice rink, curling club and more for residents of this Riley Park neighborhood.
Whistler Mountain is the setting for the alpine skiing events including downhill skiing, slalom, giant slalom, super G and combined. The base at Whistler Creekside will be bustling with activity as the athletes prepare, in the facilities, for the races to begin.
Whistler Olympic Park
Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley is the host for one-third of the game's events including biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping. The venue's capacity is 12,000 people, offering ample room for spectators to take in all 28 events.
The Whistler Sliding Centre
The bobsled, luge and skeleton will slide away at the Whistler Sliding Centre on the southeast slope of Blackcomb Mountain. The alpine track is built on shared territories of the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations in a spot known as the "spirited place." With 1,450 meters of ice, it's said to be the fastest, steepest and wildest alpine track in history.