Real lawns, real houses, real village
By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun
SYDNEY - The Olympic Village will be the home away from home for 10,800 athletes and 5,100 officials.
They're living in homes. They built an actual suburb. People will move into the houses when the athletes move out.
"The athletes village is amazing.'' says Haley Wickenheiser.
"It's a real village with real houses. Our entire team is staying together in one house.
"How amazing is that?
"It's much better than Nagano,'' says the girl who played hockey for Canada at the Olympic Winter Games.
"We've got grass and trees ...
"I guess you couldn't have that at the Winter Olympics, could you?''
But there has never been anything like this at the summer show either.
"A lot of times villages tend to be on the institutional side,'' said Canada's chef de mission Diane Jones Konihowski.
"This village has houses and terraced gardens and patios and verandas ...''
The village is within walking distance of Sydney Olympic Park where 15 of the 28 venues are located.
COST WAS $590 MILLION
It includes 513 permanent houses, 355 apartments and 336 modular homes.
The cost to build it was $590 million and it will be the fifth-largest city in Australia during the Olympics.
When the Games are over it becomes Newington. It will include a shopping centre and a school.
Capable of serving 60,000 meals a day, as many as two million meals may be served during the Olympics and the Paralympics which follow.
The main dining hall seats 4,800 people and features 18 hot and cold buffets plus a McDonald's outlet.
There's also a casual dining facility next to the Olympic village dance club.
There are also two other buildings for breakfast and barbecues.
BANK, FLORIST ...
The village has a large retail section featuring a bank, a florist, a general store, a newsstand, a pharmacy, a hair salon, an Olympic souvenir shop and a parcel packing and shipping centre.
There is a photo shop, a post office, a phone centre where athletes can make free phone calls around the world, a telecommunications centre, a ticket office, a travel agency, a movie theatre, a dance club and a games hall with 100 state-of-the-art electronic games.
Add an Internet surf shack, street performers, a library, a religious centre with services in the five main faiths of the world (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism), a spa, a sports massage centre and a pub.
There are plenty of interesting statistics about the village.
My favorite is the expected volume of toilet paper to be used by the athletes at the village: 14,960 km or four times the distance from Sydney to Perth.
The beds will be made 396,000 times.
The amount of towels, if stacked on top of each other, would be equal to three times the height of Mt. Koskiusco.
It's just an amazing place.