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Olympic torch removal underway at Bird's Nest

09-26-2010 08:38 BJT

The main torch of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which has stood on top of the Olympic Stadium, nicknamed the "Bird's Nest," for more than two years, began to be dismantled this morning. The torch will be transported back to Shougang Group for removal of the reinforcement structures, after which it will be placed to the north of the Bird's Nest for exhibition, according to an official release from the Olympic Stadium.

Olympic torch removal underway at Bird's Nest

The work is expected to take at least a month and will not affect tourism during the National Day holidays. Large cranes drove into the Bird's Nest yesterday morning, and dozens of workers bent over along the stadium track to lay a protective layer of steel in the Bird's Nest.

The work started officially at 10 a.m. The Olympic torch includes five parts: the main body, ignition system, hydraulic system, automatic control and external decoration.

The process will begin by taking apart the external decoration, the official from the Bird's Nest said. This involves the removal of nearly 1,300 pieces of red stainless steel outer covering, which is the most difficult part. Because each piece has a different size and shape, it needs to be assigned a serial number beforehand so that it can be restored to its original position during reassembly, he said.

The torch is 32 meters long with a diameter of 12 meters and a weight of 45 tons. Dismantling such a colossus requires 800-ton cranes. It is reported that the work will not affect October National Day tourism, but the amount of time the project takes to complete is dependent on weather factors.

Reporter also learned on Sept. 24 that after it is disassembled, the Olympic torch will be placed along the north side of the Bird's Nest.

The torch was designed as a temporary structure. After disassembly, the torch is not ready for display immediately. All parts, including the opening ceremony's hydraulic system and the ignition system, will be delivered to a factory for renovation, reinforcement and "downsizing."

After the Olympic torch is moved out of the Bird's Nest, the torch's steel support structure of the site will be converted into a viewing platform giving visitors a panoramic view of the Bird's Nest and most of the Olympic Park landscape avenue.

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