Toronto Strong Contender For Olympic Games – IOC President

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, in Vancouver for the countdown to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, said despite losing twice before in its bid to host the Olympic Games, Toronto is a strong contender.

He said, “we want Toronto to bid”, reports the Toronto Star.

Rogge said despite the controversy in Montreal, which paid off its Olympic debt 30 years after the Games, the 1976 Olympics was organized well.

He added Calgary’s 1988 Games were a success and Vancouver appears to be heading towards a successful Olympics.

Rogge said, “we know Canadians have organized major events. You like sports, you know sports and you are capable of organizing the whole country”.

He acknowledged fewer people in British Columbia support the Games than in the rest of the country but said it was to be anticipated due to the high cost of the Games and the potential burden on taxpayers of funding the athletes’ village. There are also long-standing grievances over the lack of affordable housing and homelessness, reports the newspaper.

During Thursday’s celebration of the Vancouver 2010 countdown, about 150 protesters marched downtown and threw paint at the Olympic countdown clock.

Rogge said Friday that protests were always anticipated and are part of the Games because of the large media spotlight focused on the host city.

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