Passing The Torch, Common Goals See Nations Working Together

In Vancouver for the First Annual Leaders' Forum of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger began his day bright and early by carrying the Olympic Flame along the Sea Wall of Vancouver's beautiful Stanley Park. The flame glowed especially bright against the backdrop of the sky and Vancouver Harbor at sunrise. 


 Photo Courtesy Darryl Dyck/ Canadian Press  

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell joined the Governator and both enjoyed fans and Olympic spectators who turned out by the thousands to watch this historical run on the Opening Day of Olympic Winter Games 2010.

Since mid-November when the flame arrived in Vancouver from Greece, each day it has been shepherded lovingly from one town to another, all over Canada. Torchbearers have carried it on horseback, in sailboats, on wheelchairs, on dogsleds and even by air when it went up to the Arctic Circle.

The Leaders' Forum of the Pacific Coast Collaborative brings together Washington State, Oregon, British Columbia and California to discuss the economy and environment and other areas of mutual interest.  In addition to Governor Schwarzenegger and Premier Campbell, Christine Gregoire, Governor of Washington and Oregon's Secretary of State Kate Brown were also in attendance.

The region of Oregon, Washington and B.C. is sometimes referred to as "Cascadia," alluding to more of a bio-regional and geographical area rather than geo-political boundaries.  To include California, with its forward-thinking policies on environmental issues and its wealth of natural resources, is a logical move.

The Pacific Coast Collaborative was formed in June 2008 as a "partnership for leadership, co-operative action and a common voice on issues affecting the Pacific coast region." Alaska is also a member of the collaborative. Its ongoing priorities are Ocean Conservation and Climate Change.

International icon Arnold Schwarzenegger was invited to carry the torch on the day of the Official Opening of the Olympics 2010 by his friend, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell.  He was, in fact, one of 20 Americans to carry the Olympic torch during its 106 day relay throughout Canada. Two American Olympians also enjoyed the honor, Shawn Johnson, gymnast and darling of the Beijing games and Taekwando Olympic Gold champion Steven Lopez both ran with the torch during its cross-country journey.


Photo Courtesy Stephanie Clary

Crowds shouted their warm greetings to the former Mr. Universe Body Builder as he passed by. "He looks so strong," remarked a child who got to see the Terminator up-close, in person.  As Schwarzenegger came to the point along the Stanley Park Seawall where he passed the flame off to Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee, one of the assembled fans yelled out a greeting in Ahhnold-speak "Arh, Arh, Get to the Choppa." The packed in crowd erupted in laughter, and even the Governator busted a smile. You had to be there.

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Olympic Sport 2010 - Bobwheeling - For The Warmer Winters

At today's unveiling of Olympic Rendezvous at Samsung (OR@S) Gerhard Heiberg of the International Olympic Committee stated with full confidence, "We chose the right place," when referring to Vancouver, B.C., in which to hold the Winter Games. Except maybe, for the weather, he quietly added. Ironically, the unusually mild 2010 winter that the city is experiencing gives the greenies a great backdrop to drill down on the point of global warming. 

"We were on Cloud 9 when we were awarded the games back in 2003," stated Premier Campbell at the Samsung WOW Rendezvous launch, attended by Super Athlete, Wayne Gretzky. Amazingly, as recent as 2003 there was still debate about the "real" or "imagined" existence of global warming.

Enter The Offsetters: Offsetting the Winter Games one ton at a time.

So while headlines point to the trucking in of snow for the Winter Games, these kids from Kelowna, Canada dreamed up a new Olympic sport for our ever-evolving Earth.  Of course, they did so tongue-in-cheek and in conjunction with OffSetters, a carbon offsetting company founded by two University of British Columbia professors. Offsetters is encouraging every Olympic attendee and guest to do their part in offsetting their impact on the globe during the games.Calculate your Impact Here.

The 2010 Winter Games’ footprint will be an estimated 118,000 tonnes of direct carbon emissions – all emissions that are directly attributable to the 2010 Winter Games like venue construction, facility heating, and athlete travel. Additionally, this event will produce 150,000 tonnes of ‘indirect’ emissions – emissions that are largely attributable to flights and accommodation for spectators, media, corporate sponsors and their partners.

Bobwheeling: The Newest Olympic Sport

Can't See The Video?  CLICK HERE for BOBWHEELING

As humorous as this is, the concern is real. Snow is being trucked in, flown in, bussed in to Cypress Mountain. Come Friday the Winter Olympic's first event, women's moguls, will need snow.  Below, VANOC CEO, John Furlong, is escorted off the tarmac in downtown Vancouver after a look-see flyover the Sea to Sky route which is the Whistler to Vancouver road. At Samsung's Rendezvous Furlong said, "When the torch arrives here tomorrow evening, life as we know it will change.  More than anything we here in Vancouver want to leave behind the positive legacy that the power of sports can change lives." Let the snow, er, games begin.




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Olympics 2010 Technology Takes Gold

Olympics 2010 Winter Games  - Today's Gold Medal went to Technology.

From Ontario House to B.C. Place to Bell, technology is what's going to deliver the games to the world and make real the amazing Olympic feats of these world-class athletes.  What's the old adage?...

You gotta see it to believe it!

From the fun to the sophisticated, Olympics 2010 is the wired place to be.  Bell, VANOC and Avaya partnered up and have delivered not just tried-and-true technology for these Olympic games but also the first all IP Olympic Games - meaning all voice, data and internet is carried over a single network.  Justin Webb, V.P. for Bell, Olympic Services, admits that "technology is a silent partner of the games"...usually. During these games viewers will experience "flawless games"; We will watch events unfold because the images are carried at the speed of light over the network.  "Photographs will traverse the network and possibly post on the internet even before the skiier, for example, arrives at the finish line."

VANOC expects 60 million unique visitors to Vancouver2010 in 17 days, says Ward Chapin, VANOC's Technology guy.

Let The Fun Begin!

If you're a total Geek - like me - two things you've got to do, unequivocally, is watch the 4D movie at Ontario House and try out the Interaxon brain-wave controlled light real-life-game also at The Ontario House. That Ontario House is right next door to the Molson Canadian Hockey House, makes it another good reason to go.  But I digress...

Just when everyone's talking about 3D here comes 4D.  What's 4D?  Ever been to California Adventureland at Disneyland in SoCal?  This 4D theatre and movie at Olympics 2010 Ontario House is like that. You smell the hot chocolate as you see it on the screen; you're sprayed with snow as you watch the hockey players; you smell the pine needles as you soar across the landscape. It's like a little piece of Disneyland next to B.C. Place.

Thoughts. Matter.

The other Must Do, and this one is super trippy, is a real-life game developed by a young guy named Chris for his company Interaxon, "thought controlled computing."  Up on the three large screens are pictures of Niagara Falls, the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, and Toronto's CN Tower.  You are seated in a pretty comfy leather chair and a pair of earphones are placed on your head with a sensor touching your Third Eye.  This sensor measures your brainwaves.  When you focus on the image, the intensity of your brainwaves lights up the landmark.  For real.

Your brain ACTUALLY lights up the Parliament buildings in Ottawa in real time. It's not just an image on a screen.  Someone standing in Ottawa will see the building light up, thanks to your brain activity there in B.C.  Chris, the developer, admitted it took a bit of getting through some red tape to get permission to pull this off! For Niagara Falls, you can change the color reflected against the Falls.  You've got to try this. It's like playing God.

More fun stuff at Ontario House are the great eats and the beer, wine, and ice wine! Culinary staff and chef are borrowed from Opus, the Yaletown hotel favored by the entertainment folk.

Also, more techie games - a first-ever no-glasses 3D screen game that you power from your Blackberry. It was developed by a Sheridan student, the Ontario Technology advanced training school that has seen two Academy Award winners from its alumni.

Also, the whole House is paperless.  From the art installation, "Waterfall," that graces the far wall, made from discarded plastic water bottles, to the touch-screen digital image tables that showcase the upcoming concerts during the Winter Games at Ontario House, to the compostable cups. On Twitter @EventsOntario

In fact, sustainability is a thread that's woven throughout the entire technology infrastructure of the Games. Bell was able to reduce their copper footprint by a third because of the converged networks. "And the way we deployed the nodes, there's a 40% reduction in overall power consumption, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint in terms of energy consumption," explains Dave Johnson of Avaya, Bell's technology infrastructure partner.  And with partner Samsung, Bell is coordinating repurposing of the thousands of handsets being given out to staff and volunteers during the games.

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