- Torch endures extreme winter weather on longest host country relay in Olympic history
After traveling more than 45,000 kilometres across Canada through snow, rain, hail, wind and sub-zero temperatures, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch will transport the Olympic Flame to the Host City of Vancouver on February 11, 2010.
The 2010 Olympic Torch was designed and manufactured by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc., a Canadian company founded in 1942 that stands as the largest supplier of rail equipment, systems and services, and the third largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the world. Inspired by the contours of Canada’s winter landscape, the design of the 2010 Olympic Torch symbolizes the tracks created in snow and ice by winter sports.
In collaboration with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), Bombardier engineers and industrial designers spent more than two years designing and testing the 2010 Olympic Torch. A fuel blend of propane and isobutane allows the torch to burn in colder temperatures than any other torch in Olympic history. A vent in the side of the torch allows the Olympic Flame to unfurl like a flag.
“Designing and manufacturing the 2010 Olympic Torch has given us an opportunity to apply our ingenuity in aerospace and rail transportation in a way that has inspired Canadians,” said Pierre Beaudoin, President and CEO of Bombardier. “Our team is very proud to have played an important role in making the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay a success.”
This week, as the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay nears the end of its successful journey, the engineering and design team from Bombardier is recalling the harsh Canadian winter weather that put the 2010 Olympic Torch to the test.
Prototypes of the torch were tested in a weather simulation chamber before the final design was put to the test in Canada’s bone-chilling winter. Bombardier manufactured 12,000 torches – one for each torchbearer – with final assembly completed by hand in Montreal, Quebec.
After beginning in the mild climate of Victoria, BC, on October 30, 2009, the torch relay came within 900 kilometres of the North Pole at Canadian Forces Station Alert in the North-West Territories, and experienced –38 degrees Celsius in Old Crow, Yukon. Bombardier worked closely with VANOC throughout the relay to recalibrate the torches to ensure they would withstand extreme winds.
“During the Torch Relay, the weather was at times frigidly cold, but in communities across Canada hearts were warmed by the Olympic Flame and what it represents,” said Jean-Francois Clusiau, Bombardier’s Torch Assembly Manager.
When the torch relay concludes on February 12 at the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the torch will have journeyed through 1,037 communities over 106 days in the most eastern, western and northern points of the country. Twelve thousand torchbearers carried the flame by foot and on a variety of modes of transportation, including quintessentially Canadian methods such as canoes, skis and snowmobiles.
Bombardier’s Guide to the 2010 Torch, which contains technical data and commentary from the design team, is available at the following link:
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2009, were $19.7 billion US, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
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