Vancouver celebrates 10 years as an official Olympic city

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Ten years ago, the Vancouver Olympics opened with a succession of spectacular sights and Canadian heroes.

While most Winter Olympic ceremonies are held in the crisp air with the threat of snow — or worse, freezing rain — the Vancouver Games opened indoors in BC Place. 

The ceremony’s producers had to deal with the aftermath of a tragic incident earlier in the day. Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luge slider from Georgia, died in a training accident in Whistler, prompting a scramble to acknowledge Kumaritashvili’s death while still giving a fitting welcome to athletes and supporters who had been waiting for this moment for so many years.

The first tricky part went without a hitch, with snowboarder Johnny Lyall flying through the Olympic rings and a set of explosions. The lighting of the cauldron did not go as smoothly, with one of the four arms not rising up and leaving speedskater Catriona Le May Doan stranded with a torch. Le May Doan would end up getting another chance in the closing ceremony.

Then the Games headed toward the slopes, sliding track and arenas.

Ten years later, here’s how the Olympic venues are in use:

BC Place (ceremonies): The home of the CFL’s BC Lions and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.

Rogers Arena (ice hockey): Known as Canada Hockey Place during the Games for sponsorship reasons, the arena is the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors, along with plenty of concerts and UFC events.

Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (ice hockey): The University of British Columbia’s home hockey arena.

Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre (curling): Converted into a community recreational facility called Hillcrest Centre.

Richmond Olympic Oval (speedskating): Also converted into a recreational facility but also used to host various spectator events, including hockey, basketball, fencing, volleyball, and indoor track and field.

Pacific Coliseum (figure skating, short-track speedskating): The former home of the Vancouver Canucks hosts a variety of events, including Olympic sports events such as the recent 2020 Olympic volleyball qualifiers.

Cypress Mountain (snowboarding, freestyle skiing): Plagued by warm weather that forced organizers to bring in snow by truck, the ski resort has a healthy 119-inch base as of Feb. 12.

Whistler Creekside (Alpine skiing): One of the top ski resorts in the world continues to host snowboard and Alpine competitions, often well into April.

Whistler Sliding Centre (bobsled, skeleton and luge): The track is a frequent stop on World Cup circuits and hosted the 2019 bobsled and skeleton world championships.

Whistler Olympic Park (Nordic events and biathlon): Open for cross-country skiing and offering biathlon lessons. The World Cup cross-country circuit stopped here in January. The ski jumping World Cup tends not to come to North America, but the ski jumping facility still hosts competitions such as last year’s North American championships, and Canadian jumpers train here as well as in fellow Olympic site Calgary.

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Does Lance Armstrong believe doping contributed to cancer?

Lance Armstrong
Getty Images
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Lance Armstrong said on Sunday’s ESPN film “Lance” that he didn’t know whether he got testicular cancer because of his doping in the early-to-mid 1990s.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “And I don’t want to say no because I don’t think that’s right, either. I don’t know if it’s yes or no, but I certainly wouldn’t say no. The only thing I will tell you is the only time in my life that I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season [before being diagnosed with moderate to advanced cancer in October 1996]. So just in my head, I’m like ‘growth, growing, hormones and cells.’ Like, if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn’t it also make sense that if anything bad is there, that it, too, would grow?”

Armstrong was asked a similar question by Oprah Winfrey in his January 2013 doping confession.

“Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?” Winfrey asked.

“I don’t think so,” Armstrong said then. “I’m not a doctor, I’ve never had a doctor tell me that or suggest that to me personally, but I don’t believe so.”

That was not the first time doping and cancer were part of the same conversation.

Teammate Frankie Andreu and then-fiancee Betsy said that Armstrong told a doctor on Oct. 27, 1996, at Indiana University Hospital that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs; EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

Armstrong said he probably began doping at age 21, in 1992 or 1993.

“I remember when we were on a training ride in 2002, Lance told me that [Michele] Ferrari [the infamous doctor who provided performance-enhancing drugs] had been paranoid that he had helped cause the cancer and became more conservative after that,” former teammate Floyd Landis said in 2011, according to Sports Illustrated.

TIMELINE: Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall

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Cortina requests to postpone Alpine skiing worlds from 2021 to 2022

Alpine Skiing World Championships
AP
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The Italian Winter Sports Federation was making a formal request on Monday to postpone next year’s world Alpine skiing championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò revealed the plans during an interview with RAI state TV on Sunday night.

Considering the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic, Malagò said “this is the best solution” in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened.

“It’s a decision in which we both lose but we realize this is the best — or maybe the only thing — to do,” Malago said.

The Italian federation confirmed that the proposal would be presented during an International Ski Federation (FIS) board meeting Monday. The Italian federation added that the decision to make the proposal was made jointly by the organizing committee in Cortina, the Veneto region and the Italian government.

It will be up to FIS to decide on any postponement.

Cortina was already forced to cancel the World Cup Finals in March this year due to the advancing virus, which has now accounted for more than 30,000 deaths in Italy.

Moving the worlds to March 2022 would put the event one month after the Beijing Olympics and likely force FIS to cancel that season’s finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

The Cortina worlds are currently scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021.

Worlds are usually held every other winter, in odd years.

Cortina is also slated to host Alpine events during the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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