Helping to Make the 2010 Olympics Possible


TORONTO (January 28, 2010) – Go behind the scenes at the Vancouver Olympics, take a closer look at the spectacular venues and athletic performances, and you’ll discover something that is helping to make the 2010 Winter Games possible.


From helmets and jerseys to the plumbing system of the Athletes’ Village, from skis, skates and bobsleighs to ‘ag bags’ for composting, from speed suits to the ‘green’ roof on the convention and exhibition centre – plastics are playing a major role.


Athletes from around the world will be pushing their limits and breaking records with state-of-the-art equipment made of plastic materials and composites. And in what is one of the most sustainable developments in North America, the site infrastructure itself relies on advanced and innovative uses of these materials.


·                    Hockey players will each be wearing some nine kilograms of protective gear, mostly made of plastics (clear polycarbonate plastic face shields, high density polyethylene pads, high impact-resistant helmets made of composite plastic lined with plastic foam core padding).


·                    Goalie facemasks are constructed of kevlar, the netting installed in the goals is a sturdy nylon mesh, and the windows around the hockey rink are plexiglass.


·                    The Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre features Canada’s largest ‘green’ roof. More than three million board feet of energy-saving STYROFOAM™ extruded polystyrene foam insulation materials manufactured by Dow Chemical Canada ULC (the official supplier of insulation  to the 2010 Winter Games) went into its construction


·                    Bobsleighs are built to be highly aerodynamic. With fiberglass cowlings on steel frames, the sleds are both incredibly strong and efficiently sleek, allowing crews to reach bone-jarring speeds in excess of 140 km/h.


·                    The plumbing system at the Athletes Village is made entirely of plastic pipe. This system is more sustainable and efficient than conventional materials.


·                    Today, hockey skates are often made of synthetic leather or ballistic-proof nylon for protection against cuts and the high velocity impact of pucks.  Figure skates have foam padding that can be heat molded to meet the fitting needs of each skater.


·                    Over 30,000 cubic yards of wood waste from cleared timber was chipped, mixed with organic material, and stuffed into large plastic ‘ag bags’ for composting. Once composted, this material was removed from the bags, mixed with indigenous wildflower seeds and then applied to the disturbed soil sites to facilitate re-growth.


·                    Before the venues were completed, Canadian athletes were training at Farnham Glacier in south eastern B.C. Skiers and snow boarders stayed in high-tech polyester tents.


·                    Much of Vancouver’s Olympic ‘feel’ will come from the huge vinyl banners and wraps created by 3M Canada (an official supplier to the Winter Games) and applied to buildings, bridges, cars, buses and ferries.


·                    Much of the outerwear worn by athletes incorporates plastics because these materials are light-weight, waterproof, wear-resistant, snug and highly stretchable – all important factors in peak performance.


“As Canadians, we can be proud of the innovations our industry has brought to the 2010 Olympics. Today’s intelligent plastics are vital to the modern world. These materials enhance our lifestyles, our economy and the environment,” said Mark Badger, President and CEO of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA).


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Sara Cauchon