Torch design a tough task

Published: Friday, Nov. 16 2001 10:20 a.m. MST

Come rain or sleet or wind or heat, Olympic torches are supposed to survive the 13,500-mile trek across the United States.

Coleman Co., made 11,500 torches for the relay that will commence in Atlanta on Dec. 4, and end at the 2002 Winter Games opening ceremonies Feb. 8 in Salt Lake City.

"The specs that were given to us were not easy" to meet, said Brian Rawson, Coleman vice president for brand marketing.

The company designed torches to withstand temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees and higher than 80 degrees as well as 35 mph winds and wet weather, he said.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee trotted out its Olympic torch relay accessories Thursday including torchbearer uniforms and the vehicles that will accompany or carry the flame. It also announced that Utah Starzz player Natalie Williams will be a torchbearer.

Williams, who grew up in Taylorsville, said it will be wonderful to carry the torch in her home state. "This is a dream come true," she said.

The planes, trains and automobiles used during the relay are painted with stylized orange, yellow and red flame. A 2002 Corvette will be the pace car.

In Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Union Pacific Railroad showed off the specially painted Olympic train consisting of two locomotives, 13 passengers cars and a cauldron car as the caboose. The flame will ride on the cauldron car more than 3,200 miles through 11 states as part of the 65-day relay.

Julie Wilsterman, director of the torch relay for Coca-Cola, an event sponsor, said the run will "renew the spirit of America" in light of recent tragedies.


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