Reuters - Wed, 03 Feb 16:08:00 2010
Vancouver Olympic organisers unveiled 23 unique podiums that Canadian athletes expect to make frequent use of having set the target of topping the Games medal table.
Made from 18 different woods donated by 23 British Columbia communities, the rough lumber was cut into hundreds of complex jigsaw puzzle-like shapes using computer-controlled machinery and assembled into 23 one-of-a-kind podiums by new trained wood workers from Vancouver's inner-city.
"These podiums have been very carefully designed, they look and reflect the image of Vancouver Island in the most beautiful way," Vancouver Olympic Organising Committee chief John Furlong said at the first press conference held in the Games' main press centre.
"When you think back over Olympic Games and podiums, I'm not sure if we all remember what they look like. But we wanted to make sure that you did remember.
"When you look at these podiums you would absolutely for sure know that they were from here, they were Canadian, they were from this part of Canada."
Wooden trays on which the medals will be placed match the design of the podiums.
They will be carried by 51 volunteers and flower bearers, who will be dressed in winter gear of mostly sombre grey and dark tones described by organisers as "haute-couture meets sport".
The indoor medal bearers will wear one-of-a-kind hand-knit sweater coats while outdoor presenters will have dark blue cocoon parkas.
Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will also be included in the nightly medal ceremonies wearing their tradition red serge uniforms.
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