Helping to Make the 2010 Olympics Possible

TORONTO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - 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(TM) extruded polystyrene foam insulation
        materials manufactured by Dow Chemical Canada ULC (the official
        supplier of insulation to the 2010 Winter Games) went into its

    -   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

    -   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).

SOURCE Canadian Plastics Industry Association

For further information: For further information: visit or contact: Sara Cauchon, (416) 777-0368

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