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A crowd of about 1,000 cheering people gathered in lightly falling snow in Whistler’s village square Thursday morning to welcome the torch that will carry the Olympic flame in its 45,000-kilometre, 12,000-torchbearer relay across Canada in the months leading up to Vancouver’s 2010 Games.
The torch, a graceful, curving modern design, is supposedly inspired by Canada’s winter landscape, particularly the “fluid lines” left in the snow from winter sports, said Pierre Beaudoin, CEO of Bombardier, the company that designed it.
The Vancouver 2010 torch is white on its sides and stainless steel on its front. It is 94 centimetres in length and weighs, with fuel, a light 1.6 kilograms. It widens in the middle and tapers gently upward to the burner. The Vancouver 2010 Inukshuk logo is emblazed on either side.
The burner, a vertical outlet that stretches the top 30 centimetres of the torch, will create a bright orange flame that will be like “a flag unfurling in the wind,” according to VANOC.
“I think the torch is beautiful,” said Vancouver’s Patricia Moreano, 18, the first of two selected torchbearers who ran the torch through Whistler Thursday, clad in the Hudson Bay Co.-designed torchbearer uniforms.
The uniforms, which were also unveiled Thursday morning, were inspired by Canada’s natural beauty, said HBC CEO Jeffrey Sherman, particularly the glow of the Northern Lights.
The uniforms are white with a blue/green left sleeve. The Olympic rings are reflective silver across the back and Vancouver 2010 runs down the right sleeve and pant leg. The outfit is capped by white toques and red mittens.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said he thought the Olympic torch was magnificent, he said its flame “is a symbol of the fire burning in the hearts of all athletes.”
VANOC CEO John Furlong said members of the Vancouver 2010 organizing committee would be travelling to Greece in October to bring the Olympic flame to Canada.
“From the back of this torch will come a huge flowing yellow flame matching the spirit that we believe exists in our country,” Furlong said. “As the flame goes around Canada it will go almost door-to-door, touching every life, every child, every family.”