Speed Skating Canada unveiled a large aluminum inukshuk in Richmond Thursday on the shores of the Fraser River that they hope will guide skaters to the podium in 2010.

The inukshuk, superimposed with the image of a speedskater made of gold-coloured aluminum, was erected on the dyke outside the University of B.C.’s boathouse — the home of Canada’s speedskaters during the Games.

“Speed Skating Canada has adopted this symbol to lead our teams to success,” said Dr. Peter Dankers, SSC’s chair of the 2010 inukshuk initiative.

The five-metre-tall sculpture was fabricated from 10 to 12 tonnes of aluminum by trades students in Trois-Rivières, Que., who spent three months casting and welding the large sections.

Gilles Dufour, the director of technologies for Alcoa Innovation, said the inukshuk was cast at 900 C, about 400 C higher than its melting point. The cooling gave the aluminum a “sweaty” appearance. The skater by comparison is made of “beautiful” gold-coloured anodized aluminum, Dufour said.

Two similar, but smaller, structures will be erected at skating centres in Trois-Rivières and Quebec City.

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