With 51 weeks until the Olympics, organizers of Vancouver’s Games marked a major milestone Thursday with the opening of the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Centre, the final sporting venue for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
The centre, located in Hillcrest Park next to Nat Bailey Stadium, is home to curling during the Olym-pics and wheelchair curling during the Paralympics.
“It has given us an enormous advantage,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong, following an opening ceremony yesterday that saw Olympian Georgina Wheatcroft and Paralympians Gary Cormack throw ceremonial rocks.
“It’s not the advantage of having it finished and knowing it’s over, it’s the advantage of being able to put the Canadian team in these venues to get ready, to create home-field advantage.”
Wheatcroft, who won bronze with Kelly Law’s rink at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, said she was more nerve-wracked throwing out the opening rock than she was during the 2002 Games.
The building is environmentally friendly, incorporating a heat transfer system that uses waste heat to warm building spaces and water.
It also uses rainwater collection for toilets.