2010 Olympic torch unveiled
Announcement marks one-year countdown to the Games
The 2010 Olympic torch and relay uniforms were unveiled by the first two torchbearers in Whistler Thursday, a year to the day before the Games begin.
Dressed in the mostly white tracksuits, Vancouver resident Patricia Moreno, 18, and Regina resident Caleb Taylor, 35, held the all-white Olympic torch aloft in their red-gloved hands in front of a crowd of onlookers at a special celebration marking the run-up to the Games.
The swooping design of the nearly one-metre long torch is meant to reflect the lines of a skier's turns carved in the snow and the undulating beauty of Canada's winter landscape, Olympic officials said.
The torch was engineered and designed by Olympic sponsor Bombardier to withstand the challenging conditions it will encounter along the 45,000-kilometre relay route through 1,000 communities, they said.
The relay will begin in October before arriving in Vancouver in February 2010. It will travel from the mild climate of Vancouver Island to the bone-chilling Arctic cold of Canadian Forces Station Alert located less than 900 kilometres from the North Pole.
Twelve-thousand torches will be manufactured — one for every torchbearer taking part in the relay — to withstand the range of conditions they are expected to face, including temperatures ranging from -50 C to 40 C and rain, snow and wind.
The torchbearers' uniforms were designed by Canadian fashion designers Vivienne Lu and Tu Ly for the Hudson's Bay Company. They include a white jacket accented with bright bursts of blue and green on the jacket's left arm, pullover pants, toque and knitted red mittens.
The first official torchbearers were selected by the relay sponsors, Coca-Cola and RBC.
Moreno plays a leadership role in her community and is dedicated to youth sports programs.
Taylor coaches with Regina's Outdoor Hockey League, a groups that give inner-city youth a chance to participate in organized hockey.
"This is a thrill of a lifetime. There are no other words to describe how I feel," Taylor said. "I am truly honoured to bring the Olympic spirit to my city, my community and the kids I care so much about."
RBC officials said there are more than 2,000 Olympic torchbearer opportunities and any Canadian 13 years of age or older can apply through the company's website to enter.