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Vancouver Winter Games 2010 - 06. August 2007.

Giving dreams a field to play on

A view of the installation of one of the ski jump super structures.To that end, the goals of the entire Vancouver 2010 team are clear: to stage outstanding Games and leave positive, lasting legacies that extend long after the Flame has been extinguished.

Preparations are proceeding well across all Games functions and venue construction is on schedule and on budget. The goal of early completion of venues is well on the way to being realized, with the first test events scheduled for the 2007-08 winter season.

People from across Canada and around the world are working hard to make these venues a reality. These are some of their stories.

Kate Perkins, second vice president of the Grandview Community Association of Trout Lake
Kate Perkins believes Trout Lake Community Centre is the heart of her vital, diverse East Vancouver neighbourhood. It is where Perkins got married, enrolled her son in pre-school, works out and meets up with other families in the neighbourhood.

A board member of the Centre for the past five years, she also knows that the facility has had a long decline.

"Our [ice] rink is really on its last legs," said Perkins, who noted that it has been 40 years since the last renovation. "We actually lost our Junior B Hockey team because our rink is no good and it was unsafe for them to use it."

When Vancouver 2010 announced that it would need a training rink for short track speed skating for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Perkins realized it could be a golden opportunity for the Centre's revival. She soon discovered the Trout Lake community agreed.

"We had 200 people turn up for an open house, wanting get involved," Perkins said. "I don't think anyone really expected how much we would want it. But we campaigned hard and diligently ... I think we made it very difficult to say no."

The persistence of the Trout Lake community paid off. This year, the rink will be renovated into a training facility for the world's greatest speed skaters. And, after 2010, Trout Lake will get its Junior B Hockey team back.

"I'm excited we can be involved and experience that magic that is very brief, but incredible," said Perkins. "And after the Games are over, we'll have a world-class facility in our little eastside neighbourhood."

Lauren Harbrow, administrative assistant, Whistler Nordic Venue
For Lauren Harbrow, the journey to Vancouver 2010 began with a decision to change her life.

"I thought – there must be so much more than working nine to five," said Harbrow, who was an event coordinator in Australia at the time. "I woke up and thought ‘you know what? I'm going to go travelling.'"

Harbrow traversed the globe for five years, until she arrived in the Whistler-Blackcomb area. In this snowy resort town, she found something extraordinary.

"I felt connected," Harbrow said. "It was something that I haven't had anywhere else; even though I've travelled all over the world ... it really hit me how much I felt right at home here."

Harbrow became the administrative assistant at the Whistler Nordic Venue in the Callaghan Valley. With no background in construction, the learning curve was steep, but Harbrow loved the work.

When her visa expired, Harbrow had to return to Australia, but she didn't stay long.

"I just missed British Columbia so much – and I found another type of visa that would allow me to return," Harbrow said. She soon found herself back in her old position, this time until the project was complete.

"I absolutely love my job and the people that I work with here. It's amazing to see a venue built from start to finish," Harbrow said. "Seeing it in 2010 on the news, or even in person, and being able to say that I was part of building this venue that everyone will come to – that's the most exciting thing."

The Whistler Nordic Venue will host biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. During the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, it will host biathlon and cross-country skiing events.

Michael Rose, manager, Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre
Michael Rose always knew he wanted a career in sports, and so he jumped on a chance to work at the UBC Thunderbird Sports Centre in 2000. What he didn't know was that the job would land him a part in one of the highest-profile sports events in the world.

"I can't imagine having the chance to do this again. It's a one-shot deal," said Rose. "To be part of something that is this exciting for the University of British Columbia, the community and people across the country is something that will probably be unmatched in my career."

Rose manages the Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre, which is currently being refurbished into a competition venue for the 2010 Winter Games. During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the venue will host ice hockey events; during the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, it will host ice sledge hockey. The venue is also becoming multi-functional, with opportunities to host many new kinds of events.

Rose said that, in a way, the facility is "coming full circle." In 1963, UBC was home to the first-ever nationally based Olympic hockey program.

"It's exciting to tie those things together and know that the Olympic spirit is still here at UBC," Rose said. "And for the minimal amount of time that the Games are on, people are drawn to it and it brings them together."

"My fingerprints are on this building ... and that's something I take a lot of pride in."

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