July 17, 2008 / 2:10 PM / in 9 years

No repeat of Beijing banner ban at 2010 Games

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada are not likely to follow the lead of China, which banned spectators from bringing banners to the Summer Games in Beijing, officials said on Wednesday.

Beijing unveiled “house rules” this week for spectators coming to next month’s Games, prohibiting all banners, even if they do not contravene rules forbidding the airing of political or religious views at Olympic venues.

Vancouver does not expect to do that for the Winter Games in Canada, said John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).

“Clearly, what we will be trying to do is to live up to the promise that we gave many years ago that the Games of Vancouver 2010 will be about sport and celebration,” he told reporters following VANOC’s regular board meeting.

Furlong quickly added he expects spectators at the Summer Games will also have a good time.

The Vancouver committee will send about three dozen staff members to Beijing to watch how organizers there handle issues such as medical service, accommodation and transportation during the August competition.

VANOC unveiled long-awaited plans on Wednesday for a facility that will test athletes for performance-enhancing drugs during the 2010 Games.

The C$5 million anti-doping laboratory will be built at the speed skating facility in Richmond, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver.

“You can’t stop people from taking drugs, but if you come to Vancouver you will be found,” said Richard Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, who was in Vancouver for the announcement.

The facility, expected to be completed in early 2009, will be overseen by Christiane Ayotte, director of the Doping Control Laboratory in Montreal.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)

"Countdown to Beijing Olympics" blog at blogs.reuters.com/china

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