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The Olympic Cauldron


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Sorry to say -- but this is a very strange question which gives me the impression that you haven't witnessed any Olympic Games (either personally or via TV) so far.

Otherwise you would know that every edition of the Olympic Games (summer and winter) had outdoor cauldrons which only very rarely (I only know of two cases, Montreal 1976 and Athens 2004) go out due to bad weather conditions or technical difficulties.

And despite they are having the more difficult weather conditions with snow and icy wind, I know of no edition of the Winter Games at which the cauldron went out.

So there are really tons of expertise out there how to build a functioning outdoor cauldron which doesn't go out in rain, snow and wind. So there's no reason to worry.

I seem to recall some technical problems with the torch in Albertville as well, but I think those were the sub-cauldrons out at the venues and not the main cauldron in the stadium.

This is actually the first I heard of there being a problem in Athens. I was working during the time of those games and rarely saw much. Whahappa?

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The weather in Vancouver is no harsher than in any other place. In fact, it is far milder than in the vast majority of Canada. Those windstorms that wrecked Stanley Park a few years back were an extraordinary event. Even so, if an outdoor cauldron does happen to go out, it doesn't mean the games suddenly end and everyone goes back home. They just light it again and off they go.

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I was chatting with a non-fan friend about the outdoor cauldron and he said "could it be those big pipe-things near the Village and the south side of the Cambie Street Bridge?"

Anyone know what he's talking about?

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This is actually the first I heard of there being a problem in Athens. I was working during the time of those games and rarely saw much. Whahappa?

On the early morning after the opening ceremony, the flame suddenly went out. I remember that there were jokes (I believe, also on this board) that Gianna hadn't paid the gas bill. But they relit the cauldron and from that point, the flame didn't go out again (until, of course, the closing ceremony ;) ).

Strangely, I couldn't find any news item on that incident so far. Only this German blog entry from August 14, 2004:

Ein Licht geht aus ...

Die olympische Flamme ist erloschen! Was mag das nur bedeuten? Ein schlechtes Omen? Das IOC hat seine Gasrechnung nicht bezahlt? Die Griechen haben die Bremer Stadwerke mit der Beleuchtung des Olympiastadions beauftragt? Wie auch immer, show must go on -- wir freuen uns auf eine weitere spannende Olympiade.

Source: http://www.quotenclique.de/blog/2004_08_01_arc.php

Translation: "A light goes out. The Olympic Flame has gone out! What does that mean? A bad omen? The IOC hasn't paid its gas bill? The Greeks have entrusted the Bremen municipal energy supplier with the lighting of the Olympic Stadium*? Whatever, show must go on -- let's look forward to an exciting Olympiad."

* Only one week before the Athens Games, the opening match of the German soccer league Bundesliga in the city of Bremen was delayed for more than an hour because the floodlights at Bremen's Weser Stadium had gone out due to an electrical failure.

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i guess i should post this in it's appropriate thread as well, since a side discussion regarding the cauldron started in "look of the games" thread.

so it looks like a cauldron is being built at the vancouver convention centre. i went for a walk down there during my break about an hour ago after speculation peaked about whether the structure in this image posted by "mr.x" was potentially a cauldron. i couldn't really see much, so i poked my head in one of the openings at the fence and got the attention of a security guard. i asked him what was being built here and he happy and nonchalantly said in broken english, "not a building, it's the torch for the olympics". i said, "you mean the olympic cauldron"...he looked confused and said, "no you know, this is where they will light the flame. there will be a big flame here during the olympics!" i was quite shocked how easily i got it out of him. i asked how he knew and he said he's been posted here for a month now and seen everything as he put it. a little in disbelief, i walked around to the north side of the fence as far as i could and poked my head in again, saw another security guard and asked him this time, "will they finish this olympic flame in time??". he said, "i surely hope so!"

so if you believe these 2 security guards (and me of course), there will indeed be a cauldron at the VCC. my question is how they will seamless tie this into the opening ceremony, considering they are at opposite ends of downtown vancouver. i just hope its not on big screen in bc place- ack!

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Can't wait to see its full body...the cauldron at its current height is at least 4 storeys tall.

It's definitely not done - the top of the structure looks lipped.

And just to the left of it, that diagonal pole, looks like it has the same design on it as the existing structure, indicating that it's still got a ways to go (upwards)

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It was already quite obvious that they're building a cauldron there -- remember this video with that telling smirk of the construction worker?

CTV video

I'm very certain that the cauldron will become taller and that it will have some kind of bowl or pipe structure (comparable to that of the Torino cauldron) on its top. And obviously they don't want to keep the cauldron very secret anymore, since the scaffolding is getting too low for that "growing" cauldron. Probably they will use a crane to put the top on the cauldron, so that will be for everyone to see.

And I also have a feeling that they will connect BC Place and the cauldron with a relay of fireworks. I just hope that they will only use that as "visual setting" for the lighting of the outdoor cauldron and not as actual flame lighting "mechanism" as in Torino!

So they'll need also a platform for the final outdoor torch bearer from which she/he can light the cauldron. Or it's such a kind of cauldron in which the flame crawls upwards, as in Moscow or Salt Lake City. Or it will be lit by wires. Or by a totally new mechanism.

Help, my brain is starting to glow and fume! ;)

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Great idea - the Media and Broadcast would want a flame near them!

Questions though - I assume this won't be the final location of the torch relay - I'm guessing there will still be a cauldron in BC Place

Does this mean no flame around False Creek?

Not expecting answers - but these are my thoughts at the moment!

Edited by London2012
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Maybe there will be more than one external cauldron? The general public wont have access to the media village area when the Games are on.

Do they necessarily have to have immediate access to the cauldron? I guess it will be tall enough to be seen from many parts of the city. The Salt Lake cauldron wasn't accessible either for the general public, I guess -- sitting on top of one of Rice Eccles Stadium's stands and the stadium probably being fenced off for the course of the Games.

And don't forget the cauldron inside BC Place which will be accessible at least for the victory ceremony visitors (and the opening and closing ceremony visitors, of course).

I think, however, that more than those two cauldrons in Vancouver would lead to a "cauldron overkill" in the city. And I'm not talking about an additional cauldron in Whistler, of which I'm very certain that they'll have one.

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the flame is off to the left of the convention centre, so i'd be surprised if they closed that off to the public. im hoping that once the games start, a lot of that fencing will come down around that area. it would be quite uneventful if there was a flame indoors for only those going to the opening/closing ceremony & VC would see and then close off the area to the outdoor cauldron.

now that it is established that there will be an outdoor flame at the VCC. what are the chances of vanoc working in an outdoor flame at bc place?

Do they necessarily have to have immediate access to the cauldron? I guess it will be tall enough to be seen from many parts of the city. The Salt Lake cauldron wasn't accessible either for the general public, I guess -- sitting on top of one of Rice Eccles Stadium's stands and the stadium probably being fenced off for the course of the Games.

And don't forget the cauldron inside BC Place which will be accessible at least for the victory ceremony visitors (and the opening and closing ceremony visitors, of course).

I think, however, that more than those two cauldrons in Vancouver would lead to a "cauldron overkill" in the city. And I'm not talking about an additional cauldron in Whistler, of which I'm very certain that they'll have one.

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the flame is off to the left of the convention centre, so i'd be surprised if they closed that off to the public. im hoping that once the games start, a lot of that fencing will come down around that area. it would be quite uneventful if there was a flame indoors for only those going to the opening/closing ceremony & VC would see and then close off the area to the outdoor cauldron.

now that it is established that there will be an outdoor flame at the VCC. what are the chances of vanoc working in an outdoor flame at bc place?

The area you speak of is Jack Poole Plaza, where the cauldron is and it's part of the convention centre. In fact, that's where the NBC studio will be...and below the plaza are the exhibition halls, where the IPC is. It'll most likely be sealed off as part of the security zone.

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Maybe there will be more than one external cauldron? The general public wont have access to the media village area when the Games are on.

In Albertville 1992, there was a cauldron on each sport venue (and they are still there nowdays). They were replica of the main cauldron, just a little bit smaller i think (3/4...)

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In Albertville 1992, there was a cauldron on each sport venue (and they are still there nowdays). They were replica of the main cauldron, just a little bit smaller i think (3/4...)

Albertville 1992...a.k.a. "The Forgotten Winter Olympics".

That's a pretty cool concept though, but perhaps it's a little overkill? Personally, I'd rather have one big outdoor cauldron that can be seen from all over the city.

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One big cauldron best. In Vancouver there needs to be an outside one at False Creek really. So 1 inside, 1 at the media centre, 1 at false creek and 1 at whistler and I'm happy!

So many torches in Albertville because it was SOOO spread out! Each village really needed one if people were going to see the flame at all!

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YES! i agree...i'm telling you, a floating cauldron in false creek would be uber original, at least i think it would be. we should just discount the indoor one at bc place as it will not be seen in person by anyone other than ceremony goers. it will be all alone...encased in a glass cylinder, allegedly...in an empty concrete building.

One big cauldron best. In Vancouver there needs to be an outside one at False Creek really. So 1 inside, 1 at the media centre, 1 at false creek and 1 at whistler and I'm happy!

So many torches in Albertville because it was SOOO spread out! Each village really needed one if people were going to see the flame at all!

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