Oddly Enough

No worries about a 2010 "Olympic Toke"

The Olympic Torch carried by Caleb Taylor (L) and Patricia Moreno arrives for its unveiling during ceremonies marking the one year count down to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, British Columbia February 12, 2009.The torch will be used to carry the Olympic flame across Canada. REUTERS/Andy Clark

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are taking the mellow approach to suggestions that their planned Olympic torch looks like a marijuana cigarette.

“We’re not worried about it at all,” Dave Cobb, the executive vice-president of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) told reporters on Wednesday, in response to a newspaper article that dubbed the torch “The Olympic Toke.”

Vancouver is a major production area for illegal marijuana, and there has been quiet snickering about the comparison since the high-tech metal torch was unveiled in February to mark the one-year countdown to the Winter Games.

The torch’s design is intended to “represent Canada through the contours of winter landscapes and lines of winter sports,” according VANOC’s website.

But the design is slightly crimped at each end, with a twist in the body, giving it at least a passing resemblance to a hand-rolled marijuana joint.

“I think people are poking a little bit of fun at us,” VANOC Chief Executive John Furlong said.

The torch will travel the length and breadth of Canada in a 106-day, 45,000-km (27,275-mile) relay that starts in October and ends with the lighting of the Olympic Flame in Vancouver in February 2010.

VANOC says it has had more requests from Canadian communities wanting to participate in the torch relay than the schedule can handle. The route will stay within Canada.

Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Janet Guttsman