Image: Olympic cauldron
People take pictures of the Olympic cauldron. The fence is keeping the public out of the plaza, but organizers want to put a more photogenic one in its place.
updated 2/16/2010 4:08:58 PM ET 2010-02-16T21:08:58

Organizers of the Vancouver Games expect to unveil a plan Wednesday to make the fenced-off Olympic cauldron more accessible to the public.

Renee Smith-Valade, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver organizing committee, said the plan would bring spectators closer to the flame so they can take better pictures.

An Olympic guard at the site also told The Associated Press that organizers expect to open a raised pavilion near the cauldron. The guard declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Olympic planners have drawn criticism because the flame, perhaps the most distinguished symbol of any games, sits behind a chain-link fence. Much of the fence itself is covered by opaque Olympic banners.

"Perhaps we did underestimate the degree to which people would want to get close to it," Smith-Valade said.

Slideshow: Best Emotional Moments The cauldron — four slanted pillars resting against a raised central tower, each piece with an individual flame — sits on the Vancouver waterfront, next to the international broadcast center and within a security perimeter.

Smith-Valade defended the location of the cauldron, saying the best views of it are from farther away and from higher locations.

Complaints about the flame are just one of the problems that have dogged Vancouver organizers. Warm, wet weather has scrambled the competition schedule, and safety concerns have forced the cancellation of 28,000 tickets.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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