Head of Australian Olympic Committee Shares Tips On Sport Hosting

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In December 2007, the RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series brought Craig Phillips, secretary general of the Australian Olympic Committee, to British Columbia to discuss how communities and local businesses can capitalize on business, tourism and team hosting opportunities leading up to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Phillips is team executive for Australia’s 2010 Winter Olympic Team. He described what National Olympic Committees (NOCs) look for from communities and businesses for pre-Games training and acclimatization. He presented in Vancouver, Kamloops and Prince George as part of the speaker series.

"There are great hosting opportunities and many resources to help communities learn what is needed to bring teams to the area," said Phillips. Many countries will bring more than 200 athletes to BC to train in the pre-Games period and to compete at test events.

Phillips cited Hosting BC, a 2010 Legacies Now program; the RBC Guide for Business Opportunities; and the 2010 Commerce Centre as key resources for communities hoping to host Olympic teams. These resources list information about team needs so communities can offer relevant programming, services and facilities.

Philips says NOCs look for proximity to Vancouver and Whistler; appropriate accommodation; healthy eating venues; as well as amenities such as fitness centres, sports medicine practitioners, transportation and banking. He emphasized that additional opportunities arise surrounding the Paralympic Winter Games and that hosting communities also serve media, visitors and spectators. Media coverage of training sessions often showcases the local area which can boost tourism.

In addition to economic returns, communities can benefit socially by engaging with athletes in schools or at special events. Community members can host athletes’ families in their homes or rent homes to families.

"British Columbia is well-placed to stage a fantastic Winter Games," concluded Phillips. "And BC communities can leverage opportunities which will enrich them for years after the Games are over."

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at 2010LegaciesNow.com. The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.