The Canadian Olympic Association chose Vancouver as the Canadian candidate city over Calgary, which sought to re-host the Games and Quebec City, which had lost the 2002 Olympic bid in 1995. On the first round of voting on November 21, 1998, Vancouver-Whistler had 26 votes, Quebec City had 25 and Calgary had 21. On December 3, 1998, the second and final round of voting occurred between the two leading contenders, which saw Vancouver win with 40 votes compared to Quebec City's 32 votes. Vancouver had also previously bid for the 1976 games, which were first awarded to Denver, then to Innsbruck and the 1980 games, which were awarded to Lake Placid.
After the bribery scandal over the candidacy of the Salt Lake City bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics (which resulted in Quebec City asking for compensation (C$8 million) for its unsuccessful bid), many of the rules of the bidding process were changed in 1999. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) created the Evaluation Commission, which was appointed on October 24, 2002. Prior to the bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympics, host cities would often fly members of the IOC to their city where they toured the city and were provided with gifts. The lack of oversight and transparency often led to allegations of money for votes. Afterward, changes brought forth by the IOC bidding rules were tightened, and more focused on technical aspects of candidate cities. The team analyzed the candidate city features and provided its input back to the IOC.
Vancouver won the bid to host the Olympics by a vote of the International Olympic Committee on July 2, 2003, at the 115th IOC Session held in Prague, Czech Republic. The result was announced by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Vancouver faced two other finalists shortlisted that same February: Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Salzburg, Austria. Pyeongchang had the most votes of the three cities in the first round of voting, in which Salzburg was eliminated. In the run-off, all but two of the members who had voted for Salzburg voted for Vancouver. It was the closest vote by the IOC since Sydney, Australia beat Beijing for the 2000 Summer Olympics by two votes. Vancouver's victory came almost two years after Toronto's 2008 Summer Olympic bid was defeated by Beijing in a landslide vote.
The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) spent C$16.6 million on upgrading facilities at Cypress Mountain, which hosted the freestyle (aerials, moguls, ski cross) and snowboarding events. With the opening in February 2009 of the C$40 million Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre at Hillcrest Park, which hosted curling, every sports venue for the 2010 Games was completed on time and at least one year prior to the Games.
In 2004, the operational cost of the 2010 Winter Olympics was estimated to be Canadian $1.354 billion (about £828,499,787, €975,033,598 or US$1,314,307,896). As of mid-2009 it was projected to be C$1.76 billion, mostly raised from non-government sources, primarily through sponsorships and the auction of national broadcasting rights. C$580 million was the taxpayer-supported budget to construct or renovate venues throughout Vancouver and Whistler. A final audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers released in December 2010 revealed total operation cost to have been $1.84 billion and came in on budget resulting in neither surplus nor deficit. Construction of venues also came on budget with a total cost of $603 million.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' study estimated a total contribution to the BC economy of $2.3 billion of Gross Domestic Product, and as well creating 45,000 jobs and contributing an additional $463 million to the tourism industry while venue construction by VANOC and 3rd parties added $1.22 billion to the economy, far short of the $10 billion forecast by Premier Gordon Campbell. The study also said that hosting the Olympics was one of many reasons why the provincial debt grew by $24 billion during the decade. In 2011, the provincial auditor-general declined to conduct a post-Games audit.
C$200 million was expected to be spent for security, which was organized through a special body, the Integrated Security Unit, of which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was the lead agency; other government agencies such as the Vancouver Police Department, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Forces, and police agencies across Canada. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) also played a role. That number was later revealed to be in the region of C$1 billion, an amount in excess of five times what was originally estimated.
Some venues, including the Richmond Olympic Oval, were at sea level, a rarity for the Winter Games. The 2010 Games were also the first—Winter or Summer—to have had an Opening Ceremony held indoors. Vancouver was the most populous city ever to hold the Winter Games. In February, the month when the Games were held, Vancouver has an average temperature of 4.8 °C (40.6 °F). The average temperature as measured at Vancouver International Airport was 7.1 °C (44.8 °F) for the month of February 2010.
The opening and closing ceremonies were held at BC Place Stadium, home of the CFL's BC Lions and the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer. BC Place received over C$150 million in major renovations. Competition venues in Greater Vancouver included the Pacific Coliseum, the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre, the UBC Winter Sports Centre, the Richmond Olympic Oval and Cypress Mountain. GM Place (now known as Rogers Arena), home of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, played host to ice hockey events, being renamed Canada Hockey Place for the duration of the Games since corporate sponsorship is not allowed for an Olympic venue. Renovations included the removal of advertising from the ice surface and conversion of some seating to accommodate the media. The 2010 Winter Olympics marked the first time an Olympic hockey game was played on a rink sized according to NHL rules instead of international specifications. Competition venues in Whistler included Whistler Creekside at the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, the Whistler Olympic Park, the Whistler Celebration Plaza and the Whistler Sliding Centre.
The 2010 Winter Games marked the first time that the energy consumption of the Olympic venues was tracked in real time and made available to the public. Energy data was collected from the metering and building automation systems of nine of the Olympic venues and was displayed online through the Venue Energy Tracker project.
Leo Obstbaum (1969–2009), the late director of design for the 2010 Winter Olympics, oversaw and designed many of the main symbols of the Games, including the mascots, medals and the design of the Olympic torches.
The 2010 Winter Olympics logo was unveiled on April 23, 2005, and is named Ilanaaq the Inunnguaq. Ilanaaq is the Inuktitut word for friend. The logo was based on the Inukshuk (stone landmark or cairn) built by Alvin Kanak for the Northwest Territories Pavilion at Expo 86 and donated to the City of Vancouver after the event. It is now used as a landmark on English Bay Beach.
The mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games were designed by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy of Meomi Design and introduced on November 27, 2007. Inspired by traditional First Nations creatures, the mascots include:Miga — A mythical sea bear, part orca and part Kermode bear.
Quatchi — A sasquatch, who wears winter boots and blue earmuffs.
Sumi — An animal guardian spirit who wears the hat of an orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty Thunderbird and runs on the strong furry legs of a black bear.
Mukmuk — A Vancouver Island marmot.
The Royal Canadian Mint produced a series of commemorative coins celebrating the 2010 Games, and in partnership with CTV allowed users to vote on the Top 10 Canadian Olympic Winter Moments; where designs honouring the top three were added to the series of coins.
Canada Post released many stamps to commemorate the Vancouver Games including, one for each of the mascots and one to celebrate the first Gold won in Canada. Many countries' postal services have also released stamps, such as the US, Germany, Australia (who present medallists with a copy of the stamps depicting their image), Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.
Two official video games have been released to commemorate the Games: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games was released for Wii and Nintendo DS in October 2009, while Vancouver 2010 was released in January 2010 for Xbox 360, Windows and PlayStation 3. The official theme songs for the 2010 Winter Games used by the Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium (commonly known as CTV Olympics) were "I Believe" performed by Nikki Yanofsky and "J'imagine" performed by Annie Villeneuve.
Three albums, Canada's Hockey Anthems: Sounds of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Sounds of Vancouver 2010: Opening Ceremony Commemorative Album, and Sounds of Vancouver 2010: Closing Ceremony Commemorative Album, composed, arranged and produced by Dave Pierce, were released to accompany the Games. Pierce's Music Direction for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies led him to win the Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Music Direction" in 2010.
The Olympic Games in Vancouver were broadcast worldwide by a number of television broadcasters. As rights for the 2010 Games have been packaged with those for the 2012 Summer Olympics, broadcasters were largely identical for both events.
The host broadcaster was Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver, a subsidiary of the IOC's new in-house broadcasting unit Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). The 2010 Olympics marked the first Games where the host broadcasting facilities were provided solely by OBS. The executive director of Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver was Nancy Lee, a former producer and executive for CBC Sports.
In Canada, the Games were the first Olympic Games broadcast by a new Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium led by CTVglobemedia and Rogers Media, displacing previous broadcaster CBC Sports. Main English-language coverage was shown on the CTV Television Network, while supplementary programming was mainly shown on TSN and Rogers Sportsnet. Main French-language coverage was shown on V and RDS.
In the United States, Associated Press (AP) announced that it would send 120 reporters, photographers, editors and videographers to cover the Games on behalf of the country's news media. The cost of their Olympics coverage prompted AP to make a "real departure for the wire service's online coverage". Rather than simply providing content, it partnered with more than 900 newspapers and broadcasters who split the ad revenue generated from an AP-produced multi-media package of video, photos, statistics, stories and a daily Webcast. AP's coverage included a microsite with web widgets facilitating integration with social networking and bookmarking services. On NBC, Bob Costas hosted the primetime telecast, while Al Michaels did so during the day. Together they co-hosted NBC's coverage of the Closing Ceremony.
In France, the Games were covered by France Télévisions, which included continuous live coverage on its website.
The official broadcast theme for the Olympic Broadcasting Services host broadcast was a piece called 'City Of Ice' composed by Rob May and Simon Hill.
The Olympic Torch Relay is the transfer of the Olympic flame from Ancient Olympia, Greece — where the first Olympic Games were held thousands of years ago — to the stadium of the city hosting the current Olympic Games. The flame arrives just in time for the Opening Ceremony.
For the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the flame was lit in Olympia on October 22, 2009. It then traveled from Greece, over the North Pole to Canada's High Arctic and on to the West Coast and Vancouver. The relay started its long Canada journey from the British Columbia capital of Victoria. In Canada, the torch traveled approximately 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) over 106 days, making it the longest relay route within one country in Olympic history. The Olympic Torch was carried by approximately 12,000 Canadians and reached over 1,000 communities.
Celebrity torchbearers included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Nash, Matt Lauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Bublé, Bob Costas, Shania Twain, and hockey greats including Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, and the captains of the two Vancouver Canucks teams that went to the Stanley Cup Finals: Trevor Linden (1994) and Stan Smyl (1982).
82 National Olympic Committees (NOC) entered teams in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Cayman Islands, Colombia, Ghana, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru and Serbia made their winter Olympic debuts. Also Jamaica, Mexico and Morocco returned to the Games after missing the Turin Games. Tonga sought to make its Winter Olympic debut by entering a single competitor in luge, attracting some media attention, but he crashed in the final round of qualifying. Luxembourg qualified two athletes but did not participate because one did not reach the criteria set by the NOC and the other was injured before the Games. Below is a map of the participating nations and a list of the nations with the number of competitors indicated in brackets.
The following nations which competed at the previous Winter Games in Turin did not participate in Vancouver:
86 events over 15 disciplines in 7 sports were included in the 2010 Winter Olympics. The three skating sports disciplines were figure skating, speed skating, and short track speed skating. The six skiing sport disciplines were alpine, cross-country skiing, freestyle, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding. The two bobsleigh sports disciplines were bobsleigh and skeleton. The other four sports were biathlon, curling, ice hockey, and luge. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of medal events contested in each discipline.
The opening and closing ceremonies and the events categorized as ice sports (excluding bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) were held in Vancouver and Richmond. The sports categorized as "Nordic events" were held in the Callaghan Valley located just to the west of Whistler. All alpine skiing events were held on Whistler Mountain (Creekside) and sliding events (bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) were held on Blackcomb Mountain. Cypress Mountain (located in Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver) hosted the freestyle skiing (aerials, moguls and ski cross), and all snowboard events (half-pipe, parallel giant slalom, snowboard cross).
Vancouver 2010 was also the first winter Olympics in which both men's and women's hockey were played on a narrower, NHL-sized ice rink, measuring 200 ft × 85 ft (61 m × 26 m), instead of the international size of 200 ft × 98.5 ft (61 m × 30 m). The games were played at General Motors Place (now Rogers Arena), home of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, which was temporarily renamed Canada Hockey Place for the duration of the Olympics. Utilizing this existing venue instead of building a new international-sized ice rink facility saved $10 million in construction costs and allowed an additional 35,000 spectators to attend Olympic hockey games. However, some European countries expressed concern over this decision, worried that it might give North American players an advantage since they grew up playing on the smaller NHL-sized rinks. By contrast, the only other NHL venue to host Olympic hockey, the Calgary Flames' Olympic Saddledome, started construction before Calgary won the bid for the 1988 Winter Olympics and it was designed to accommodate an international ice rink.
There were a number of events that were proposed to be included in the 2010 Winter Olympics. On November 28, 2006, the IOC Executive Board at their meeting in Kuwait voted to include ski cross in the official program. The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) subsequently approved the event to officially be part of the Games program.
Events proposed for inclusion but ultimately rejected included:Biathlon mixed relay
Mixed doubles curling
Team alpine skiing
Team bobsled and skeleton
Women's ski jumping
The issue over women's ski jumping being excluded ended up in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver during April 21–24, 2009, with a verdict on July 10 excluding women's ski jumping from the 2010 Games. A request to appeal that verdict to the Supreme Court of Canada was subsequently denied on December 22 – a decision that marked the end of any hopes that the event would be held during Vancouver 2010. To alleviate the exclusion, VANOC organizers invited women from all over Canada to participate at Whistler Olympic Park, including Continental Cup in January 2009. Women's ski jumping was included in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.All times are in Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
In the following calendar for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, each blue box indicates that an event competition, such as a qualification round, was held on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport were held with the number in these boxes representing the number of finals that were contested on that day.
The top ten listed NOCs by number of gold medals are listed below. The host nation, Canada, is highlighted.
Host country (Canada)
To sort this table by nation, total medal count, or any other column, click on the icon next to the column title.
Some in the foreign press, including London 2012 organizers, had criticized the lack of city decorations to acknowledge that Vancouver was the host of the Games. The original plans to decorate the city in Olympic colours, a tradition followed by other recent Games host cities, were canceled for several reasons. Anti-Games activists repeatedly vandalized the existing 2010 Olympics monuments such as the countdown clock, forcing the city to install CCTV cameras, and adding more Games decorations would have inevitably required more security presence to deter protesters, so VANOC opted to minimize these symbols to avoid making the city a police state. Besides local opposition, budget cutbacks also forced the organizers to scale back on the elaborate plans.
VANOC initially benefited from an economic boom and was able to secure lucrative and record domestic sponsorships, however this boom period also suffered from rapidly rising construction and labour costs. Due to these factors, as well as the late 2000s financial crisis and economic recession, VANOC built minimalistic functional venues with little aesthetic appeal though they were well-designed for post-Games usage. This approach, as well as the fact that most of the infrastructure already existed, meant that the direct costs of the Vancouver Games were much lower than recent Olympic editions.
Before the Games began and as they commenced, a number of concerns and controversies surfaced and received media attention. Hours before the opening ceremony, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a training run, intensifying questions about the safety of the course and prompting organizers to implement quick modifications. However, officials concluded that it was an athlete error rather than a track deficiency. The International Luge Federation called an emergency meeting after the accident, and all other training runs were cancelled for the day. The President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, thanked the hosts for the way that they handled Kumaritashvili's death which included a moment of silence and a tribute to Kumaritashvili at the opening ceremony.
One critic questioned the choice of Cypress Mountain as a venue because of its frequent lack of snow due to El Niño. Because of this possibility, organizers had a contingency plan to truck in snow from Manning Park, about 250 kilometres (160 mi) to the east of the city. This allowed events to proceed as planned.
Political decisions involving cancellation of promised low-income housing and the creation of a community of mixed economic backgrounds for post-Games use of the athletes' village was criticized.
Opening ceremonies were stalled while organizers dealt with mechanical problems during the cauldron lighting ceremony. Speed skating events were delayed due to breakdowns of the ice resurfacers supplied by Olympia, an official sponsor of the Games.
Thousands of tickets were voided by organizers when weather conditions made standing-room-only areas unsafe. Visitors were also upset that, as in previous Olympics, medal ceremonies required separate admission and that blocks of VIP tickets reserved for sponsors and dignitaries were unused at events. Other glitches and complaints have included confusion by race officials at the start of the February 16 men's and women's biathlon pursuit races, and restricted access to the Olympic flame cauldron on the Vancouver waterfront.
Opposition to the Olympic Games was expressed by activists and politicians, including Lower Mainland mayors Derek Corrigan and Richard Walton. Many of the public pre-Olympic events held in Vancouver were attended by protesters.
On Saturday, February 13, as part of a week-long Anti-Olympic Convergence, protesters smashed windows of the Downtown Vancouver location of The Hudson's Bay department store. Protesters later argued that the Hudson's Bay Company, "has been a symbol of colonial oppression for centuries" as well as a major sponsor of the 2010 Olympics.
There were several other reasons for the opposition, some of which are outlined in Helen Jefferson Lenskyj's books Olympic Industry Resistance (2007) and Inside the Olympic Industry (2000). These issues include:Displacement of low-income residents.
Anticipated human trafficking for the purpose of forced prostitution.
Although the Aboriginal governments of the Squamish, Musqueam, Lil'wat and Tsleil-Waututh (the "Four Host First Nations"), on whose traditional territory the Games were held, signed a protocol in 2004 in support of the games, there was opposition to the Olympics from some indigenous groups and supporters. Although the Lil'wat branch of the St'at'imc Nation is a co-host of the Games, a splinter group from the Seton band known as the St’at’imc of Sutikalh, who have also opposed the Cayoosh Ski Resort, feared the Olympics would bring unwanted tourism and real estate sales to their territory.
Unrelated to the four host nations or other indigenous groups, members of the Native Warrior Society removed the Olympic flag from its flag-pole at Vancouver City Hall on March 6, 2007.
Local aboriginal people, as well as Canadian Inuit, initially expressed concern over the choice of an inukshuk as the symbol of the Games, with some Inuit leaders such as former Nunavut Commissioner Peter Irniq stating that the inukshuk is a culturally important symbol to them. He said that the "Inuit never build inuksuit with head, legs and arms. I have seen inuksuit [built] more recently, 100 years maybe by non-Inuit in Nunavut, with head, legs and arms. These are not called inuksuit. These are called inunguat, imitation of man." Local aboriginal groups also expressed annoyance that the design did not reflect the Coast Salish and Interior Salish native culture from the region the Games are being held in, but rather that of the Inuit, who are indigenous to the Arctic far from Vancouver.
On March 11, 2010, it was reported that the Polish cross country skier Kornelia Marek was tested positive for EPO by the Polish Olympic Committee. If found guilty of doping by the International Olympic Committee, Marek and the relay teams would be disqualified and stripped of their Vancouver results. She would also be banned from the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
Marek denied taking any banned substances, but the backup "B" sample from the Vancouver doping lab confirmed the "A" sample.
The massive celebratory crowds in downtown Vancouver were highly praised by the IOC. Jacques Rogge, the president of IOC, indicated that "the way Vancouver embraced these Games was extraordinary. This is really something unique and has given a great atmosphere for these Games." The atmosphere surrounding the Olympics, and its inclusion of foreign delegates and guests, was also praised, with many seasoned Winter Olympic observers putting the games at, or near, the top of the list of best ever Winter Olympics. They were also the best watched Winter Olympics since the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. They are also mentioned alongside the Sydney 2000 Summer games in regards to the best atmosphere. A large part is credited to the citizens of Vancouver and Canada.
Very few members of the media (mostly, and particularly the British media) criticized the Own the Podium and criticized the celebrations as having been somewhat nationalistic, but this was not an opinion shared by many. Some suggested that the British media were making these criticisms in order to make the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics more appealing. Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the 2012 London Olympic Games Organizing Committee, attended the Vancouver Olympics to see how the city coped with the challenges of hosting. Lord Coe noted the Games had "gradually recovered from its tumultuous start" and queried that he "never thought the British would find rivals in their preoccupation with the weather which is almost elevated to an Olympic event" as he credited VANOC for meeting unforeseen challenges such as the unseasonably warm weather of Cypress Mountain. Coe added "Rarely have I seen a host city so passionate and so ready to embrace the Games".
The Vancouver Olympics also organized and hosted the first Pride House for LGBT athletes in the history of the event.
Directly as a result of Canada's medal performance at the 2010 Olympics, the Government of Canada announced in the 2010 federal budget, a new commitment of $34 million over the next two years towards programs for athletes planning to compete in future Olympics. This is in addition to the $11 million per year federal government commitment to the Own the Podium program.
Also, as a result of hosting the 2010 Olympics, the British Columbia government pledged to restore funding for sports programs and athlete development to 2008 levels, which amounts to $30 million over three years.
The arenas in which the games were held are open for the public to use. The Richmond Olympic Oval has since been turned into an athletic centre.