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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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April 25, 2008 2:45 PM

Time for a blue-tarp relief effort for Vancouver 2010?

Posted by Ron Judd

Like the Chinese -- attention, sensitive Canadians: We are NOT comparing Maple Leaf Nation in any other way to China -- Vancouver's Olympic organizers are largely ahead of schedule in getting their venues assembled.

The goal -- in keeping with the Canadian government's "Own the Podium" program -- was to have them all finished in time for a full winter of competition before the Games, which could and should give Canadian athletes an advantage, particularly in sports such as skiing and bobsled/luge/skeleton, where courses are wildly different from place to place, making practice time invaluable.

For the most part, that goal has been met. But the B.C.'ers, true to their soggy roots, seem to be having more than their fair share of roof problems.

From the Vancouver Province comes dual roof-related reports, one about repairs already being needed for the big B.C.-timber roof over the new $180 million (and rising) speedskating venue, the Richmond Oval, the wooden roof of which is said to be moldy -- sorry, mouldy -- in so many places that up to 70 percent of it is now suspect and must be "inspected."

Gentlemen, start your lawyers.

Another report speculates about the possibility that the storm-damaged soft roof at B.C. Place Stadium, home of opening, closing and nightly medal ceremonies, might be replaced with a retractable roof -- which, needless to say -- would be very cool.

If they could pull off the latter, within the limited time and within limited budget, they'd head our list of all-time Olympic venue geniuses. But it's a pretty risky proposition. Our own government (insert your own Katrina joke here) began planning a couple years ago to build an enhanced U.S. customs facility at the Blaine border crossing in time for the Games. And the CBC reports it's already looking like we won't even be able to accomplish that by 2010.

For all of them, we offer three words of thrifty Northwesterner's advice: Big Blue Tarps.

We're always willing to lend a hand to our Canadian friends in a time of need. All it would take is the wave of a pen for President Bush to tap into FEMA's strategic tarp reserve.

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Blogroll and links

www.olympic.org: The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information.
www.nbcolympics.com: Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog
www.usolympicteam.com: U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site.
www.aroundtherings.com: Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription).
www.wcsn.com: News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions.
www.beijing2008.com: Beijing Organizing Committee Web site.
www.vancouver2010.com: Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site.
www.london2012.com: London 2012 Summer Games site.
www.sochi2014.com: Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site.
www.chicago2016.org: Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.