On the evening of February 4, the design of the torch for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics was officially unveiled at the Ice Cube, or the National Aquatics Center, during a one-year countdown event.
The Beijing Winter Olympics torch "Flying" features a dynamic and energetic appearance. The colors are silver and red, symbolizing the fusion of ice and fire, and the passion to illuminate ice and snow sports and warm the world. The torch of the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games uses silver and gold, which symbolizes brilliance and dreams, and embodies the values of "courage, determination, motivation and equality". On the lower part of the torch is engraved "Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games" in Braille.
Beijing is the first city in the world to be awarded host city status for both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The torches have echoes of the main cauldron design from the Beijing 2008 Games, which highlights the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic spirit in the Chinese capital.
About the torch
Wang Xiangyu, Deputy Director of Culture and Ceremonies Department of Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
1. Why did you choose to debut the torch at the one-year countdown event?
Wang Xiangyu: The torch of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Winter Games is an important carrier to showcase the concept of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Chinese culture. It is a concentrated expression of the vision and spirit of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The design is well received by the public and recognized by the international community. The torch of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics is also an important legacy of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The torch relay is the opening event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The torch relay will advocate winter sports, promote the health of all people, and create a good atmosphere for the Beijing Winter Olympics. The torch design release on the one-year countdown to the Winter Olympics is to use the torch to ignite the world's enthusiasm and broad expectations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
2. What are the technological highlights of the torch?
Wang Xiangyu: The design of the torch adheres to the concept of green and sustainable, and strives to integrate art with technological innovation. One of the highlights is that the torch will use hydrogen as fuel. Our main consideration is the environmental friendliness of hydrogen fuel. At the same time, the torch relay needs to operate in a low temperature environment. The characteristics of hydrogen fuel ensure that the torch can be used in extreme cold weather, and the use of hydrogen fuel reflects the concept of green Olympics. The research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission, and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation was responsible for research and development.
The second highlight is that the torch shell is made of light-weight, high-temperature resistant carbon fiber material, and the torch combustion tank is also mainly made of carbon fiber. This research was supported by Sinopec, the official partner of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
3. What is the International Olympic Committee Executive Committee's comment on the design of this torch?
Wang Xiangyu: The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee strongly affirmed the design of the torch. They believe that the design of the torch once again proves that the Olympic Games is an ingenious combination of sports and culture, and art and technology. With both cultural heritage and technological innovation, Chinese culture and art are perfectly displayed. It not only embodies the characteristics of Beijing as a host of both Summer and Winter Olympics, but also showcases the spirit of the Olympics.
4. When will the route of the torch relay and the torchbearer selection policy for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics be released?
Wang Xiangyu: The torch relay route and torchbearer selection policy for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are being formulated. We will release them in due course as planned, so stay tuned.
Li Jianye, Torch Appearance Designer
1. What is the overall concept of the torch design for the Beijing Winter Olympics? What is the significance?
Li Jianye: This torch looks particularly dynamic. It has no straight line from the bottom to the top, and the curves are diverse, mainly to imply the dynamic and passionate event. So, it was named Flying. It is also very special in the colors. You see a gradual change from red to silver. These two dominant colors symbolize the pure passion of ice and snow as mentioned in the slogan and evoke a feeling of ice and fire. It has a main red line from the top downwards. The line itself is quite dynamic, and a bit like a ski track, or the mountain, or the Great Wall, which implies the host environment.
Then it has a feeling of growth, because it spirals upwards like a plant, sprouting and growing endlessly.
So I hope that the vitality of the torch itself can ignite some kind of hope. I think it is still a heritage and continuation, because Beijing earlier hosted the Summer Olympics. We hope the torch echoes the previous torch caldron and has some continuity. So we integrated tradition with new thoughts to realize a continuation of Chinese culture at its core.
2. Can you share the design concept and connotation of the Paralympic torch with us?
Li Jianye: The overall appearance of the torch of the Paralympic Games is actually the same as that of our Winter Olympics, but we made a change in the color scheme. It is changed to gold and silver, which represents or implies brilliance and dreams. Our Paralympic torch also has a highlight in the design, that is, at the bottom of the torch, the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Olympics is engraved in Braille.
Lu Xiaobo, Judge of the Torch Appraisal Committee, Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University
1. What are the final selection criteria?
Lu Xiaobo: In fact, before our judges participated in the review, the Winter Olympics Organising Committee had set up some standards. I think there are several aspects. First, the design of the torch had to reflect the spirit of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. And of course, it had to reflect Beijing’s regional characteristics and feature Chinese culture.
Second, I think it had to reflect a high degree integration of art and technology to ensure the realization of its functions.
Third, I it was necessary to consider the inheritance of the Olympic spirit.
2. What do you think are the highlights of the current torch design?
Lu Xiaobo: I think this design is a more comprehensive manifestation of the aforesaid characteristics. First, from a spiritual perspective, we see that the shape of the torch is fairly simple, but it has a strong sense of fluidity, modernity, artistry and elegance.
In addition, in terms of cultural connotation, the torch design evolves from the auspicious clouds in the Beijing 2008 Olympics to paper-cut-style snowflakes. In terms of technology, the torch is given some important functions and reflects integration of art and technology.
Huang Xiangyu, Carbon Fiber Expert, Deputy General Manager of Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co., Ltd.
1. Please tell us about carbon fiber. What are its advantages?
Huang Xiangyu: Carbon fiber, as the name suggests, is a carbon-containing fiber. In fact, its carbon content is very high, and reaches more than 90%. Carbon fiber is light and strong, is corrosion-resistant and stays stable in various environments. So, it is a high-tech product.
Torches for previous Olympics were all made of metal. Carbon fiber is light, intense and rigid, so it can replace traditional metal materials. But it has its own difficulties, because carbon fiber needs to be compounded with resin to shape a torch. To ensure the composite material is fire- and temperature-resistant needs high technical requirements. So, we had to crack many technical nuts in the design. Indeed, the torches embody many technological elements.
2. What are your reflections on technological innovation in the torch, especially in terms of new materials?
Huang Xiangyu: The first aspect is the three-dimensional knitting method. The three-dimensional knitting technology we used is the most advanced. It is a technological breakthrough in carbon fiber molding.
The second is the design of its molds. Combined molds and tailor-made molds were used to shape various curved surfaces.
The third is the use of a very special resin that can withstand extreme temperatures.
The fourth is the numerical molding technology specially developed for the torch to make the torch head fire-resistant and high-temperature-resistant.
Han Zongjie, Senior Engineer, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
1. Why use hydrogen as the torch fuel?
Han Zongjie: The fuel is hydrogen because it is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly. When hydrogen energy is burned, its combustion product is only water and no carbon dioxide is produced. It is a completely zero-emission energy source. This is one of the main reasons why we chose hydrogen as a fuel.
2. In the process of research, what problems did you encounter? How did you overcome them?
Han Zongjie: We have encountered and overcome many problems. First, we encountered the problem of the color of the flame. The hydrogen flame is invisible under the sun and can't meet the needs of photography. Then, we developed a formula that can adjust the flame color of hydrogen, so the torch has a visible flame color in sunlight.
The second is stability of the flame, especially during the torch relay. We realized torch flame stability under gale speeds of 100 kilometers per hour.
The third issue is the storage of high-pressurized hydrogen. And the large-scale decompression of hydrogen inside the small torch handle was also a rather difficult problem to handle. We developed a lightweight and miniaturized hydrogen pressure reducing device to decompress the high-pressure hydrogen.
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