Olympic Blog: Don’t Fence Me In!

Barbara Ferry, the director of National Geographic Libraries and

Information Services, is in Vancouver with her family to watch the

Olympic Games. She shares her frustration about being fenced out of the Olympic torch.

How can something be so very impressive but also so disappointing? The Vancouver Olympic Cauldron falls in that unlikely category. My family and thousands of others lined up outside Canada Place on Vancouver’s waterfront in the pouring rain for a glimpse of the famous flame, only to find it unceremoniously locked behind a chain link fence–there was no way to get a clear view with your camera without pushing the lens through a gap in the links. 

The location of the cauldron was kept under wraps until it was revealed Friday night during the Opening Ceremonies. Even our taxi driver got the location wrong–sending us off through swarming crowds in the wrong direction.

Because no one official–even the heavy security–could give a reason why it was locked up, speculation among the crowd ran rampant. One women was convinced that the Olympic Committee was concerned about protesters  “putting the flame out.” Thankfully, after admitting that they “underestimate[d] the degree to which people would want to get close to it,” organizers of the Vancouver Games have said they will announce plans today to move the fence and provide visitors greater access to the torch.

Want to see how the torch looks now? Check out some videos after the jump.


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Here’s an unobstructed view of the torch, when you put your camera’s lens through one of the links in the chain.

And here are the crowds that are gathered outside the fence, elbowing each other for a photo op.

Photo and video: Barbara Ferry

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