From glitch Games to gorgeous;dark cloud disappears from over Vancouver

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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VANCOUVER - The sun has come out and it seems the dark cloud that had been hanging over the Vancouver Games might be gone.
Vancouver Games officials say the weather is finally on their side. The sun is shining on the city, and on the troubled Cypress Mountain venue where incessant rain last week washed away some of the already scant snow.
"I was out this morning and the cherry trees are blossoming. The weather is beautiful," said Renee Smith-Valade, spokeswoman for the Vancouver organizing committee, known as VANOC.
"The sports are fantastic. The athletes are happy. The people of Vancouver and Whistler and British Columbia, and I would dare say, Canada, are so proud."
The mood seemed to brighten by Friday even among the international press, which has largely savaged the Vancouver Games for everything from the weather to protests and a tragic pre-Games training death at the luge track.
The vaunted New York Times declared Vancouver "gorgeous."
"No need for an apology," wrote Timothy Egan.
The Pulitzer-prize winning writer lauded our health-care system, our low murder rate and our "boring" banking system, which held steady even as the world economy pitched and reeled.
"But the rough patches in the opening days of the Games, and savaging from a snit-loving British press that has no athletic feats of its own to cover, have put Canadians on the defensive."
Even the U.K.'s highly critical Guardian newspaper had a sheepish story Friday that acknowledged that the British press has taken some criticism of its own "for relentless negativity and schadenfreude - ill-timed, according to some, considering the proximity of London's 2012 celebrations."
Oh, what a difference a few days can make. The weather was no friend of Olympic organizers last week, when the temperate rain forest climate conspired to have these dubbed the "Rain Games."
The incessant downpour threatened to wash away all the snow - what there was of it.
Olympic organizers worked around the clock in the weeks leading up to the Games to truck and fly in enough snow from other mountains. It has been one of the warmest Februarys on record and it was too warm even to make any.
Officials cancelled standing-room spectator seating for all snowboarding events after days of rain, saying the area had become unsafe.
And then the sun came out, and dried up all their pain.
Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, said he'd been up to Cypress and the venue was looking "fantastic."
"I think once the Games get going, beautiful weather, fantastic events, fantastic performances, the city of Vancouver is absolutely rammed, you can hardly move, the excitement is fantastic. It can only continue," he told reporters.
"I think the weather is with us now. I'm looking forward to another week of great competition."
Environment Canada said it was expected to get up to 9 C at Cypress on Friday, dropping to 2 C overnight. There's no possibility of snow until next Wednesday.
In metro Vancouver, it was expected to climb to 10C, and stay sunny until at least next Tuesday.
That's not to say the weather problems are over. An Olympic men's aerials training session at Cypress Mountain was cancelled Friday as crews scrambled to preserve the deteriorating course. Organizers opted to cancel the men's portion of training to allow more time for maintenance and to prevent further wear-and-tear on the course.
Warm temperatures and a lack of new snow has left both the jumps and landing areas in rough shape.
"Cypress is a venue that because it is located where it is and (its) proximity to the city, we're keeping an eye on the weather all the time," said Smith-Valade.
Whistler, on the other hand, is "fantastic," she said.
They've stockpiled snow and will use it as needed to keep the course at Cypress in the best condition possible for competition, she said.
"We are looking and watching very carefully every day and taking measures as required to ensure that Cypress is the very best competition field of play for the athletes and safe for spectators."

Organizations: British press, New York Times, Pulitzer International Olympic Committee Environment Canada

Geographic location: Vancouver, Cypress Mountain, Whistler Cypress British Columbia Canada U.K. London

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