Feb. 2, 2010


On the Ground in Vancouver

From Bob Condron, Director of Media Services, U.S. Olympic Committee


Hello and Bienvenue to each of you.  As the natives say in French, "Si vous aimez le hockey et le curling, vous aimerez le Canada."  Or in English, "If you like Hockey and Curling, you’ll love Canada."


What’s going on in British Columbia, Canada? 


Nick Didlick, the VANOC photo chief who doubles as a guide in his non-Olympic life , says life is full in BC.  The steelhead are running, the bears are hibernating, the moose are running around the low country and the bald eagles are eating what’s left of the salmon after an upstream run to their long-ago homes. 


And the Olympic Games are happening.


Workmen and women are putting the final touches on the venues and the streets of Vancouver/Whistler/Richmond.  It’s all a sky blue and green wonderland here. 


All the staff is dressed in turquoise blue.  Like a movie star’s eyes.


Everybody is nice.  Cops, airport staff, homeless people.  They have that Canadian attitude of "Let’s try nice first and see how that goes."


Here are some thoughts to guide you to this extremely hospitable place.  They are meant to be taken in a kindly spirit to aid a fellow traveler through travel delays, long lines, credential problems and the rush to get online and send something meaningful  back home.



First Impressions

The airport in Vancouver is outstanding.  It has it’s own personality.  As you exit the plane you get to see some scenes from the country. There are  rainbow trout, a griz or two, totem poles as high as the ceiling, a beaver in there somewhere.  Landing in Vancouver is like few places in the world.  The eyeball appeal is off the charts.  Landing in Sydney and San Francisco come to mind as you soak it all in.  You kind of hope there’s some kind of problem on the ground and you can circle for awhile. 


You breeze through the airport because there’s a special Olympic line (just to your right as you go down the stairs towards passport control).  You get validated…it’s a big moment.  You’ll always think back on it.  Get your luggage, go out the door and seek out your media transportation to your housing.  Don’t pack your Olympic ID in your luggage.  You go through validation before you go through baggage claim. 


When our small group  hit the Main Press Center about a week ago we walked into a huge deserted media workroom that night, a full moon beaming in the harbor, and there it was…all in it’s resplendent glory…100 TVs, all lined up from wall to wall…glistening in brilliant big screen color…Hockey and Curling …as far as you could see.  We were home.


The Main Press Center

The MPC is like something like Disneyland Meets the Press.  It’s basically a cruise ship stop located on the bay in Vancouver.  It juts out into the beautiful salt water.  There’s an area you can walk around with five large sails visable for miles.  Cruise ships land all the time.  Seagulls land on the railing.  The first time I walked around the building, I was looking towards Cypress Mountain, watching a seaplane take off, and a ….bald eagle landed on the light pole next to me.  That’s never happened to any MPC I’ve been a part of.  Maybe a bald sportswriter….



The weeklong prediction for Vancouver is cloudy with a bit of rain and high 40s.  In Whistler there may be some snowfall Friday and into the weekend with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.  Cypress Mountain, about one fourth of the way north to Whistler, is expected to have a weekend high of 50 with a low of 41.  At the moment, they are trucking in the white stuff and spreading it on a layer of hay and mixing it with chemicals to freeze. 


Think of it this way…Vancouver is 2 meters above sea level.  That’s one Charles Barkley.  If Charles stood on the beach, Vancouver would be his height.  You don’t get that cold at 6-6.  Whistler is 2284 meters above sea level at its highest mountain peak,,,about 1142 Charles Barkleys.  Cypress is 1440 meters.  The snowboard and freestyle courses are lower than that.



Bring an outer layer of clothing that is water repellant.  Wrap that around everything else and dress in layers.  The bottom layer might be a golf shirt, which you’ll need in the MPC.  One tip you need to know is that you’ll probably need to shuck a few items in the busses.  They are normally a bit warm, crowded and your lifeblood of getting anywhere at the Olympic Games.  Good socks are mandatory…not Cotton, but wool or good moisture-wicking socks you can get at a ski shop.  Ice rinks vary, but they’re usually damp and cold.   Good boots are mandatory at an Olympic Winter Games. 



If you go to Whistler, you’ll be a visitor to the Sea and Sky Highway.  Inside scoop, if you’re on the media bus, get on the left side.  It’ll take your breath away when you hit the bay.  Also if you happen to hit the Lion’s Gate Bridge at sunrise, soak in the beauty.  Get set for a ride that mixes the emotions…wide, beautiful stretches.  Curvy, narrow- laned patches with thin pylons separating the lanes that made you wish you’d bought stock in Dramamine.  Throw in a touch of drizzle and you’re going to be glad you’re not driving.  From the MPC to the first stop at the transportation hub in Whistler could be in the two-hour range.  Don’t drink a gallon of coffee before you leave.  Also, don’t make a point of making this trip too many times.  That would be about 6 hours of traveling per day, not counting the time you’re actually covering an event.  A real short-term solution at best.



Media Transportation

To reach a shuttle bus to your hotel from the airport, go past the information desk just outside of the customs area and angle to the left and go outside the main doors. Then continue across a street and go to the area that is covered by a green awning. The busses from various hotels pass at intervals. It might be a good idea to have the information desk call your hotel to verify shuttle information.


Once at your hotel, check for the location of media bus pickup. The location is marked with a blue sign that has MEDIA printed at the top. The media busses are all white, but check with the driver for his destination before entering. For going to the main press center, the media bus operation is a feeder system to Sky Train stations. Remember the station because that's where you will get off on the return. On the way to the press center, board trains going to the Waterfront Station. While on the train, you'll have more than adequate audio and visual information on the approaching station. Once at the Waterfront Station, go out the main doors to the right at the street level. Go right about two blocks and then right again to the entrance to the MPC. Canada Line trains run every five to eight minutes, depending on the time of day.


On the return, the Canada Line station is to the left as you enter Waterfront Station. Ask to make sure until you know the territory. For most hotels, you can board either the train to the airport or the train to Richmond. Once off the train, you take the media bus back to the hotel. The media bus stop is the same going and coming.


The media busses are scheduled every 15 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. If traveling outside of those hours, media busses leave every 60 minutes.


A few travel tips:

Don't depart hotel without credentials.

The media bus-Sky Train schedule is by far the quickest and best way to go. However, don't push it much past midnight for returning to hotel.

However, the system will have expanded hours beginning Feb. 12.

Allow adequate travel time.  

Bus drivers are well trained and have answers to most questions.

VANOC volunteers wear light blue coats and are plentiful.

Transit employees are located in the stations. They wear green coats.


Managing Victory

The USOC will attempt to bring the medal winners on a media tour after competition.  One of the stops will be the Main Press Center.  We’ll announce the times and individuals on our Breaking News Bureau. 



Vancouver is one of the few major cities in the Americas without a downtown freeway.  It is basically a 100-square mile neighborhood.  Looks great, quaint, lot of places to eat, shop, drink and watch but it doesn’t really flow.  The basic street is two lanes on both sides of the road, a stop light every few blocks, no left turn lanes.  Here is a hint if you ever drive.  The left lane looks really appealing.  It usually goes faster than the right, because every other car in Vancouver turns right.  And they only turn right when there’s a pedestrian walking across the street.  But, when a car in the left lane wants to turn, it might be a generation before he actually gets to.  Whatever ground you might have made up by being in the left lane, is jettisoned into the universe.  You will be behind a left blinking light for the foreseeable future.  So a word to the wise, think carefully about being in the left lane.  It’s like life…it looks good over there but it’s a mine field. 



On the second floor of the MPC. Right by the IOC office.   They’re free.


Food and Dining

The MMC has a food court on the first floor that features McDonalds, Asian culture,Canada Carvings  In about a mile circle around the MMC are some great little restaurants that you’ll love.  Also, you can go to the underground food court across the street and grab a variety of meals.  Good food and drink.  You’ll find what you want.  It’s easy and close and you have a ton of choices.


In Whistler you also have a plethora of choices.  It’s a Ski Resort, Mate.  So they know how to cook and serve a beverage.



Wi-Fi is available at all media areas in all venues.  Netzone Cards are still available from the rate card for about $550 for a month.  It’s a user name and password account.  More than one person per organization can use this, but not at the same time. 



A quick way to figure out the temperature in Celsius to Fahrenheit is to double Celsius and add 30 degrees.  6 degrees Celsius is approximately 42 Fahrenheit.  If you want an exact number use 9/5C+32= F.


To convert kilometers to miles multiply by .6.  So 100 km is 60 miles.  Or 50 kph is 30 miles an hour.


The dollar, sadly to say, is about 1 to 1.  No more sweet deals in Canada for U.S. folks.


Power to the People

Canada is basically the same as the U.S. in electrical power. 110v., same type of plugs.  About the only way you’ll see a 220v is if you’re drying your clothes. 


Breaking News

The USOC will once again have a Breaking News Bureau.  This news bureau will provide flash e-mail results, breaking news in the field, quick quotes, media advisories, etc.  If you want to receive this service please let us know.  E mail our editor Craig Bohnert, craig.bohnert@usoc.org and give him your e-mail address.  You can also sign up at the USOC offices in Vancouver or   Whistler.  It’s a good way to keep on top of things at the Games.  Get this by e-mail or by checking http://www.usocpressbox.org.  If you are from a media organization that’s been accredited by the USOC, you’re already on the list. 



USA Daily, USA Wrapup

USA Daily will be a preview of events for the next day’s activities with a schedule, U.S. entries and notes about the competition. It will be ready each day by approximately 6 p.m. and will help you plan your coverage for the following day. 


USA Wrapup will be the results of the day with stories about the competition.  It will come out late at night after all competition is completed.


Both USA Daily and USA Wrapup will be available by e-mail and online at http://www.usocpressbox.org, the USOC’s media-specific website, and in hard copy form in the USOC offices



In most instances you can get your accreditation validated at the airport in Vancouver.  In case you don’t, or you pack your Olympic ID card in your luggage, you’ll need to come to the Main Accreditation Center outside of the Main Media Center.  Bring your passport.


If you are coming to Vancouver without an Olympic ID you need the registration number to access media transportation.  If you don’t know it, email peggy.manter@usoc.org. or call her at 604 403-3906 in the USOC office in Vancouver.


Bringing a Guest?

Many of you have asked about bringing a guest into media housing.  In Vancouver, all media housing is in hotels.  Bring ‘em on.  In Whistler you’ll have more of a problem because the units are all in condos.  There are usually two bedrooms and a sofa bed in a two-room suite.  You’ll also be sharing bathrooms in most cases.  Make sure you know what type of room you have in the condo…are you by yourself, or do you have a bunkbed

with a group of Bulgarian photographers?  Good question if you’re going to bring a guest.


Exercise, Strolling

If you like to walk, jog, stroll or just enjoy the beauty you’re in fantasy land in Vancouver.  Take a right outside the MPC and you’re on your way to a beautiful path through Stanley Park.  You’ll see a thousand boats tied up in Coal Harbour.  You can walk/jog/stroll as far as you want.  The path turns and goes to the other side of the bay. 










Telephone Directory

USOC Media Services Team

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games










Vancouver Main Press Center USA Office - Main




Whistler Media Center USA Office




Patrick Sandusky MPC Office




Bob Condron MPC Office




Peggy Manter MPC Office




Kevin Neuendorf WMC Office




Breaking News - Vancouver




Breaking News - Vancouver




Vancouver Main Press Center USA Office - General











Amanda Bird

Bobsled & Skeleton Press Officer, Luge Press Officer



Betsy McMillan

MPC Office



Bill Hancock

Special Ticketing, Press Officer Support



Bill Mallon

News Bureau, Historian



Bob Condron

Director, Media Services



Brett Johnson

News Bureau - Whistler



Candice McCallie

News Bureau, USA Daily



Chris Coleman

Athlete Marketing/Appearances



Christy Jeffries

Ice Hockey Press Officer - Women



Craig Bohnert

News Bureau, Press Officer Support



Dave Fischer

Ice Hockey Press Officer - Men



Doug Haney

Alipine Skiing Press Officer



Erica Hutchinson

Press Conferences



Gerry Helper

Ice Hockey Press Officer



Irv Moss

News Bureau



Karen Linhart

Hometown News Bureau



Keith Bryant

Village Press Officer (Vancouver), Speedskating



Kevin Neuendorf

Whistler Media Services



Kevin Sullivan

News Bureau, Press Officer Support



Linda Jager

Speedskating Press Officer - Short Track



Lindsay Hogan

Team Processing, Managing Victory, Sponsor Relations



Lindsey Sine

Ski & Snowboard Press Officer



Lisa Ramsperger

Editorial Director



Margo Christiansen

Nordic Skiing Press Officer



Maureen Weekes

Managing Victory, USA House



Mike Henderson

Freestyle Skiing Press Officer



Nick Alexakos

Snowboard Press Officer



Nicole Jomantas

Village Press Officer - Whistler



Nicole Saunches    

NBC, Morning Shows, Sponsor Relations



Patrick Sandusky

USOC Chief Communications Officer, Spokesperson



Peggy Manter

MPC Office Manger, Volunteer Coordinator



Peri Kinder

Speedskating Press Officer 



Sandy Caligiore

Luge Press Officer, Bobsled & Skeleton Press Officer



Scottie Bibb

Figure Skating Press Officer



Terry Kolesar

Curling Press Officer



Tom Kelly

Ski & Snowboard Press Officer



Viktoria Franke

Biathon Press Officer

778 960 0862







2010 U.S. Olympic Team Pre-Event Press Conferences


-- Subject to Change -- 


For questions, contact Erica Hutchinson at 778-938-3256


Sport                                      Date               Time               Room

Long Track Speedskating  2/7                   2 pm               Gabriola

Ski Jump                               2/8                   12 pm             Quadra

Freestyle Moguls                 2/8                   1 pm               Quadra

Nordic Combined                2/9                   12 pm             Gabriola

Short Track Speedskating  2/9                   2 pm               Gabriola

Figure Skating Pairs           2/9                   4 pm               Gabriola

Cross Country Skiing          2/10                9 am               Saturna

Alpine Speed Women        2/10                10 am             Gabriola

Snowboard SBX                  2/10                12 pm             Quadra

Curling Women                   2/10                2 pm               Gabriola

Curling Men                          2/10                5 pm               Quadra

Freestyle Aerials                  2/10                7 pm               Quadra

Women’s Ice Hockey          2/11                10 am             Gabriola

USOC Flag Bearer/             2/11                12 pm             Gabriola



Skeleton                                2/11                1:30 pm          Quadra                      

Men’s Boblsed                     2/11                2 pm               Quadra                                  

Women’s Bobsled               2/11                2:30 pm          Quadra

Halfpipe Snowboarding     2/11                3:30 pm          Gabriola

Snowboard PGS                  2/12                9 am               Saturna

Figure Skating Dance         2/12                12 pm             Gabriola

Figure Skating Men             2/13                8 am               Gabriola

Figure Skating Women      2/13                12 pm             Gabriola

USA Wrap-Up                       2/27                10 am             Gabriola


Whistler Press Conferences

Luge Singles M/W               2/9                   5 pm               Whistler Media Center       

Alpine Speed Men               2/10                4:30 pm          Whistler Media Center       

Biathlon                                 2/11                3:30 pm          Whistler Media House (non-accredited)

Luge Doubles                       2/11                7 pm               Whistler Media Center