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VANOC sells assets, tallies budget

Vancouver's Olympic and Paralympic organizers still hope to balance the $1.76 billion operations budget and possibly donate money to amateur sport, but the tally could take months.

"There is no way we're going to be exactly balanced to the penny, we're either going to be a little bit below or a little bit better," deputy VANOC CEO Dave Cobb said Sunday. "We're very confident now we will be better."

The International Olympic Committee pledged up to $22 million last summer after it failed to find two more global sponsors amid the worst recession in 70 years. Cobb said VANOC expects to use a majority of those funds, but he cautioned there are many variables, such as compensation to owners of Whistler Blackcomb and Cypress Mountain.

Vancouver 2010 was the most-watched Winter Olympics in history and its website visits were more than double Beijing's. VANOC, however, didn't seek performance bonuses from sponsors.

"I would not be out for going back and saying, well given that you got an extra five percent out of us, you should give us another five," CEO John Furlong said. "That just wouldn't be sporting."

The dismantling of VANOC has already begun with staff layoffs and the sale of assets. Workers and volunteers got the first chance on Saturday to buy computers, TVs, furniture and other items in the VANOC warehouse at 7530 Hopcott Road in Delta. The provincial government-conducted sale opens to the public on March 27.

Bob Mackin reports for 24 Hours Vancouver.

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