Ballooning construction costs soar for Vancouver Ballooning construction costs have boosted the budget of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics by 23 per cent to more than US$500 million. The Olympic committee originally estimated the cost of putting on the games at about US$408 million in bid documents but officials said the original budget for venues was not enough to meet rising construction and material costs. The costs did not include major upgrading of a highway from Vancouver to the Whistler ski resort and a mass transit line between the airport and city centre. Any debt accruing from the games is to be covered by the British Columbia provincial government, which has a contingency fund of about US$120 million to cover overruns. Your city needs you to volunteer for duty Beijing Olympic organisers are preparing to start recruiting volunteers for the 2008 Games. Officials say 70,000 volunteers will be needed for the Summer Games, while 30,000 will be used for the Paralympics. Posters urging people to sign up have started to appear about town, and applications will be accepted over the internet in the coming months. Olympic vocation for high school students Vocational secondary schools in Beijing are opening up new courses in the spring to teach students Olympic-related skills that will help them get a job before 2008. Courses range from leisure sports management to venue management to medical services for athletes. 2014 CANDIDATE CITIES ALL SET TO GO TO BATTLE The candidate cities for the 2014 Winter Games have been finalised. They are Sochi (Russia), Salzburg (Austria), Jaca (Spain), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Pyeongchang (South Korea), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Borjomi (Georgia). IOC advises Americans they should let Cuba play The International Olympic Committee said it would welcome a US bid for the 2016 Summer Games provided the government doesn't try to bar Cuba from participating. Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco have so far expressed interest.