Thursday, February 11, 2010

Delaney: Whistler Athletes Village secure

At least two tour buses took media to the Whistler Athletes Village on Wednesday for media tours.

When we arrived, the buses pulled into a big white tent. Think of the movie 'Stripes' in the scene where Bill Murray and Harold Ramis are "guarding" the Urban Assault Vehicle. That's how big this tent was.

Security personnel passed metal detectors under the bus. I looked out the window and four-wheel drive Olympic vehicles were getting the same treatment.

Before the bus moved, a Toronto policeman boarded and checked to see media had the proper credentials. Before we boarded the buses, media exchanged Olympic credentials for a special pass for the athletes village. We got the Olympic credentials - very, very precious - back when we left.

In the dining hall, media were only permitted to walk on the perimeter of the room. An escort was needed to get closer to the food stations. In the fitness centre, though, we mixed in with athletes as they worked out.

Swedish downhill skier Hans Olsson did not mind media being so close.

"Some people are scared of newspapers and stuff," said first-time Olympian Olsson, ranked 12th in the world. "You've got to sell the sport and be open minded."

The 25-year-old from Mora, Sweden - located in the central interior - said there should be multiple opportunities for media during the Olympics to get close to athletes.

"I think at least five times to get the opportunity to see everyone," Olsson said. "You should show more than the sport. Show the characters."

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