Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay plans revealed

Three days after the Olympic flame is extinguished in Vancouver, a new flame will light in Ottawa sparking the official start of the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay on March 3, 2010.

Paralympic Torch

The relay will involve an estimated 600 torchbearers and visit several celebration sites, which the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has stated they are actively working on and will announce at a later date. The Paralympic flame will travel to BC Place in downtown Vancouver for the opening of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games on March 12th, which will mark the first time Canada has hosted a Paralympic Winter Games.

“The Paralympic Games are about celebrating unbelievable athletic performances and triumphing repeatedly over adversity. The flame – and the Paralympic Torch Relay – is a powerful physical reminder of this, of how a dream can spark a personal and emotional transformation in the pursuit of excellence,” said Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). “I know in 2010, Canadians will give a warm welcome to the flame wherever it visits, and be great hosts to the world’s finest Paralympians.”

As well, for the first time the Paralympic Torch Relay will have its own unique emblem. The 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay emblem – “Spark Becomes Flame” – shows a human figure with its arms raised and joined, much like a candle’s flame. Contained within the arms is the glow of the fire within everyone, symbolizing the moment when imaginations are ignited and dreams are born. The design was created by Vancouver 2010’s in-house design team.

The March 3rd lighting ceremony in Ottawa will have a uniquely Canadian flair; the Paralympic flame has no ancestral home, hence each Organizing Committee has the freedom to choose a lighting method and celebration significant to the host country. The details of the ceremony will be revealed this fall by VANOC, along with the torchbearer selection process and the relay celebration stops en route from Ottawa to Vancouver.

Over 1,300 athletes and officials from more than 40 countries will take part in five sports (alpine and cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, wheelchair curling and biathlon) during the 10-day 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler next March. The big international sporting event comes just 12 days after the region hosts the Olympic Winter Games.

VANOC also unveiled the torch and uniform design for the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay. Brad Lennea of Whistler, BC, a retired member of Canada’s Para-Alpine Ski Team and a Paralympic Torchbearer in Beijing, and fellow skier Karolina Wisniewska of Vancouver, BC, carried the distinctive steel blue torch, inspired by the Canadian winter landscape and the lines etched on ice by winter sports.

The one-metre-long torch, designed by Bombardier, has an ergonomic, curved and modern design and features the emblem of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, a red maple leaf air intake cut-out and an engraving of the Games motto With Glowing Hearts/Des plus brillants exploits. It also has robust technology created by Bombardier’s aerospace and transportation design teams to weather the extremes of the Canadian winter. The torch can be operated in temperatures ranging from -50 C to over 40 C, through rain, sleet, snow and wind.

The Paralympic Torchbearer uniform, which blends in with the torch design, is steel blue in colour and accented with bright bursts of blue and green on the jacket’s left arm. The uniform, designed and produced by the Hudson’s Bay Company, consists of a jacket, pullover pants, toque and knitted red mittens. The uniform is a commemorative keepsake for torchbearers.

The uniform also features the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay emblem on the chest and the IPC symbol, known as agitos, on the back. Silver reflective elements, including “Vancouver 2010” on the right jacket sleeve and right back pant leg, have been added for prominence and visibility.

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