Posted by: PPHR | February 8, 2010

4 Days to Go!!! Victory Ceremony podiums at 2010 Winter Games a testament to the mountains athletes have climbed en route to Olympic and Paralympic success

Unique design echoes peaks and ridges of mountains in Vancouver, Whistler Custom-made ceremony costumes youthful and organic to reflect Canadian culture

Vancouver and Whistler’s rugged snow-topped mountains are the inspiration behind the dynamic sculptural podiums where the world’s best athletes will stand before the world to receive their hard-won medals at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The natural wood and acrylic glass podium design for the Vancouver 2010 medal presentations, known as Victory Ceremonies, was unveiled today in downtown Vancouver, along with the dramatic “haute-couture-meets-sport” costumes medal presenters and athlete escorts will wear. All the ceremony elements are designed to complement each other and have a youthful, modern and West Coast style reflecting the Host Region and Look of the Games.

The individual and team podiums ― 23 in all ― have a fluid and organic design, echoing the undulating peaks and ridges of the Coast Mountain Range. Each one is assembled from more than 200 pieces of precision-cut wood hewed from the forests of British Columbia, renowned internationally for their towering red cedars and Douglas firs.

“When the best winter athletes in the world step onto these magnificent podiums in mere days, they will also be standing on the shoulders of countless people who’ve helped them achieve their dreams,” explained John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

“Hundreds behind-the-scenes have been involved ― communities across British Columbia who donated the wood, designers who envisioned the look, and dozens of newly trained wood workers in Vancouver’s inner city who carefully constructed these podiums with pride at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop,” he continued. “Their work will make each Victory Ceremony at the 2010 Winter Games truly memorable for the athletes, their families and the millions watching here in Canada and around the world.”

The podiums range in size from 4.8 metres to 15.3 m in length, 1.7 m to five m in depth and half a metre tall at their highest point ― the spot reserved for gold medallists. The lightest podiums, built of Western Red Cedar, weigh approximately 200 kilograms while others range up to 260 kg. They will be used in 86 Olympic and 64 Paralympic Victory Ceremonies and are easily accessible for all athletes.

Wooden trays, matching the design aesthetic of the podiums, will showcase the Vancouver 2010 medals as they are presented to the athletes by the 51 volunteer flower and medal bearers. The ergonomic trays have a non-slip surface to protect the undulating medals, which all feature a unique hand-cropped portion of larger Aboriginal artworks. The trays and podiums were designed by VANOC’s late design director Leo Obstbaum and Vancouver-based industrial designer James Lee.

“Built from wood donated by communities, First Nations, businesses, and individuals across the province, each one of these podiums has a story to tell about the people and places that make up British Columbia and about the forest industry that is the heart of so much of our culture and history,” said the Honourable Gordon Campbell, premier of British Columbia. “We hope all the athletes feel this connection and are inspired by this close connection to the people of British Columbia when they step up to receive their medals on these incredible platforms.”

The donated rough lumber was converted into panels and then cut into hundreds of complex jigsaw puzzle-like shapes using sophisticated computer controlled machinery at the University of British Columbia’s state-of-the-art Centre for Advanced Wood Processing. These pieces were carefully assembled into the podiums at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication (Fab) Shop.

“RONA is extremely proud of our 2010 Winter Games partnership and the carpentry trainees from our Fab Shop. They’ve really done themselves proud with their workmanship and attention to detail on these amazing podiums,” said Claude Bernier, RONA’s executive vice president of marketing and customer innovations. “Our involvement in the podium project is a good example of our shared commitment with VANOC, to ensure that all Canadians feel part of the 2010 Winter Games.”

During the Vancouver 2010 Victory Ceremonies, which will take place in competition venues, as well as at nightly ceremonies held at BC Place (Olympic only) and Whistler Medals Plaza, a highly choreographed celebration will take place in the athletes’ honour.

Flanking the podiums will be members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in their famous red serge uniforms and Stetson hats. Carrying the medals and athlete bouquets on trays, as well as escorting the athletes, will be volunteers dressed in dramatic custom-made costumes in an organic palette of blues representing the Sea to Sky Games.

The three costumes, which fuse high fashion with the functionality of sport apparel, were designed by Yumi Eto and produced by leading fashion boutique Aritzia in collaboration with VANOC.

“The Vancouver 2010 Victory Ceremony costumes are designed with great style, are functional and dramatic. They add to the excitement of these historic events while paying respect to the athletes,” said Brian Hill, president and CEO of Aritzia LP, an official licensee of the 2010 Winter Games. “Our design team worked closely with VANOC to choose a colour palette and aesthetic that reflects who we are as Canadians ― youthful, modern and multicultural ― and we think this look will be embraced by all who are watching.”

The medals will be presented to the athletes by officials from their respective international sport federations and then the staggered flags will rise as the national anthem of the gold medallist triumphantly plays. Afterwards, the athletes will be feted during rock concerts by some of the top bands and solo acts in North America at the nightly Victory Ceremonies held at BC Place and Whistler Medals Plaza.

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