Rogge salutes Vancouver


VANCOUVER, February 25 – International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge described the 2010 Winter Olympics as "very, very good on Wednesday" and said he'd never seen a city embrace a Games so warmly.

Rogge’s comments came with just five days left of these Olympics which were overshadowed by the death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on the opening day and then suffered a series of organisational glitches as well as problems with the weather.

"The Olympics are very, very good and this will be stressed in my closing speech. The athletes are happy, the public are excited, the infrastructure is good and the transport is functioning," said Rogge.

"TV figures are also superior to the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, but the most important thing is the enthusiasm of the people. I have never seen a city embrace the Games in this way.

"Sydney in 2000 was certainly at the same level, but you can’t compare Summer Games with Winter Olympics. The Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994 were also superb but the city didn’t have the same profile."

Rogge admitted that the record-breaking performances of Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann, who won both individual events for the second time after also sweeping the normal and large hills in 2002, had been a standout performance.

He also acknowledged that despite the death of Kumaritashvili, the Games had been boosted by Canada’s first ever gold on home soil.

"The Games started in difficult circumstances with the death of Kumaritashvili," he said.

"This also weighed on Canadians. But when Alexandre Bilodeau won freestyle gold, it kick-started the Games. It was the beginning of joy for the country."