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Olympic Cauldron Controversy Resolved

The Olympic Cauldron ignited inside the stadium in Vancouver, Canada, 12 Feb 2010
The Olympic Cauldron ignited inside the stadium in Vancouver, Canada, 12 Feb 2010

Vancouver Winter Games officials have made some major changes to the viewing area by the Olympic cauldron that sits on a downtown waterfront plaza. The changes came after a huge public outcry.

An unsightly tall, chain-link fence some 50 meters from the cauldron had made it hard for visitors in Vancouver to take good photographs. Their complaints did not go unnoticed.

But since the giant steel and glass cauldron sits on the ground and is next the International Broadcast Center, organizers had to find a way to maintain security and protect it from vandals.

So they not only adjusted the position of the fence, making a portion of it much closer to the cauldron, but they also made sure it had an eye-level gap about 20 centimeters tall so viewers can take unobstructed photos.

Rob MacGregor
Rob MacGregor

Visitor Rob MacGregor told VOA it has made a big difference. "People want to come down and enjoy it, the scenery and everything else. And it's a good memento to take home with you, and you want to have it as authentic as possible. So I think what they've done and the measures they've taken are really good," he said.

In addition, the rooftop of a one-story building on other side of the cauldron that was empty is now accessible for visitors to get another vantage point for viewing and taking photos of the Olympic cauldron.

Head of the Vancouver Olympics Organizing Committee John Furlong believes they found the right solutions to the controversy. "The goal of the organizing committee is to make people as happy as we can, to look after everybody's needs. That's the commitment we made. And people said, 'look, can you fix this?' And we've gone after it as fast as we can. We now have a solution and everyone in the city who wants to come down and take a picture, they can," he said.

Nancy Conn, visiting from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada, told VOA she waited in line 45 minutes for the rooftop view of the Olympic cauldron. "It's really worthwhile. It's gorgeous here in Vancouver. Of course, I saw the flame for the first time in Nova Scotia, so I followed it all the way to Vancouver," she said.

Organizers hope the rest of the visitors to these Winter Games will feel the same way and go home with good memories of the Olympic cauldron.