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Togo, Sweden give thumbs up to 2010 Games

Olympics organizers, city officials and ordinary Vancouverites can now sleep easy. Togo and Sweden think the 2010 Winter Games will be just great.

Ambassadors from the tiny African nation and Canada’s northern neighbour addressed about a dozen reporters at the Athlete’s Village today. They spoke on behalf of 95 visiting dignitaries on a guided tour of the $1.1 billion project.

“I think we will have a fantastic Games,” said Swedish ambassador Ingrid Maria Iremark, as an arc of sparks shot up from a buzz saw behind her.

It would appear that Togo, a tropical West African republic with few relations to Canada, feels the same.

Togolese ambassador Bawoumondom Amelete echoed his Swedish compatriot’s enthusiasm during a short address in French. He smiled politely as Iremark raved about Vancouver’s natural beauty.

Reporters crowded close to hear her above the din of a fully active construction site – shouts, bangs and beeps from trucks backing up.

“I can see here still that there is some work be done,” Iremark said. A hard-hat wearing man carrying a metal pipe almost double his height passed on a dirt road, appearing to illustrate her point.

The dozen or so reporters stood behind two small yellow ropes in the middle of an unfinished plaza.

Questions for the ambassadors were few. A City official stood off to the side with his hands clasped behind his back.

“Vancouver is breathtaking,” Iremark said. The cloud-covered North Shore Mountains were indeed striking in the distance.

After six minutes, the two ambassadors left. Feel free now to resume your life.

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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