Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ceremony podium unveiled

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The natural wood and acrylic glass podium designed for the Vancouver 2010 medal presentations was unveiled Tuesday in downtown Vancouver, along with the dramatic "haute-couture-meets-sport" costumes medal presenters and athlete escorts will wear.

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).

The podiums range in size from 4.8 metres to 15.3m in length, 1.7m to 5m 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 260kg. 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.

"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 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."

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, according to VANOC.

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