Olympic torch relay raises questions of VANOC partnership

When it gave the Vancouver Olympics committee $166,667 on September 12, the Yukon government was promised three things — a Yukon Day at the…

When it gave the Vancouver Olympics committee $166,667 on September 12, the Yukon government was promised three things — a Yukon Day at the Games, the privilege of participating at the Cultural Olympiad and influence over the route of the torch relay through the territory.

However, the torch relay has gone off the course of the original agreement with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Contrary to earlier statements, the Yukon government had no involvement with the selection of the route.

“That’s part of the VANOC mandate,” said Tourism and Culture Minister Elaine Taylor. “They’re the ones who actually make the decisions. They certainly look at the respective communities and I guess that (question) would be best directed to VANOC.

“But they ultimately make the decisions on where the route goes.”

(The Yukon was never in danger of being excluded from the torch relay, since the Vancouver Organizing Committee announced last January that all territories and provinces would participate, many months before the territory’s purchase of the partnership.)

Still, Taylor has great confidence that the territory’s relationship with the Vancouver Organizing Committee, although hierarchical, will reap rewards.

“It enables Yukon’s participation on a number of different fronts,” said Taylor. “By being able to participate in, certainly, the Olympic torch relay, we will be providing assistance and certainly the necessary support to our respective communities to ensure that they have great celebrations.

“We’ll be working with VANOC on that front.”

Yukon Day at the Olympics will take place February 20 and the Yukon is working with the other territories in planning their Days, said Taylor.

“We want to collaborate and make sure we have the biggest return on our investment by having the three of us working together,” she said.

Just before the torch relay flag was raised Friday afternoon in front of city hall, acting mayor Florence Roberts showed her enthusiasm over the official announcement of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics torch relay route, which includes a lengthy tour of the territory.

“It is exciting to think that in less than a year our community will be gathered at Shipyards Park as we celebrate and wait for the torch’s arrival,” said Roberts, evoking November 3, 2009, when the treasured flame will enter Whitehorse.

“This is an opportune time for our children to learn what the journey to 2010 Olympics means for these inspiring athletes and how that translates into everyday life,” she said.

This will not be the first time that Whitehorse is the scene for the torch relay, having hosted the sacred flame while it was on its way to Calgary in 1988, but it will be a historical event nonetheless.

Next year’s relay will be the longest in the Games’ lengthy history, stretching a total of 45,000 kilometres. During its journey, the torch will be passed between 12,000 bearers throughout 1,000 communities.

The torch will enter the territory from the north, passing through Old Crow, Dawson City and, eventually, Whitehorse.

Those who wish to apply to become a torch bearer can fill out an application online at rbc.com/carrythetorch, iCoke.ca or sogoactive.com.

“They have a selection committee and all the entries will be reviewed and it’s just going to be wonderful,” said Roberts. “Everybody’s got a chance.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Team Togo member Katie Moen sits in a sled behind a snowmobile for the ride from the airport to Chief Zzeh Gittlit School. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Coming together: How Old Crow became one of the first communities in the world to be fully vaccinated

Team Togo and Team Balto assembled with a mission to not waste a single dose of vaccine

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. If council moves forward with bylaw changes, eating and drinking establishments could set up pop-up patios in on-street parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Patios may be popping up in Whitehorse this summer

City considers program for downtown restaurants and bars

The Yukon Coroner's Service has confirmed the death of a skateboarder found injured on Hamilton Boulevard on May 2. Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News
Whitehorse man dies in skateboarding accident

Coroner urges the use of helmets, protective gear, while skateboarding.

The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)
Liberal cabinet sworn in at legislature before house resumes on May 11

Newly elected MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s baby bison, born April 22, mingles with the herd on April 29. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukon Wildlife Preserves welcomes two bison calves

A bison calf was the first 2021 baby born at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

A map provided by the Yukon government shows the location of unpermitted logging leading to a $2,500 fine. (Courtesy/Yukon government)
Man fined $2,500 for felling trees near Beaver Creek

The incident was investigated by natural resource officers and brought to court.

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Most Read