By Rick MacDonnell
Often lost in the fanfare of the Olympic athletes are the hundreds of artists who make the Torch relay and Olympic games so beautiful. One such artist is Edmontonian Stephen Chung, who's been an ice sculptor for over 20 years. For the folks of Vegreville, Alberta -- the second stop in the Torch's current trek through the province -- Chung crafted two marvelous representations of the Canadian Olympic spirit: a figure skater and a hockey player.
"Each figure took about five hours to sculpt," Chung said. "Because they're so heavy, and we had to transport them here from another site, each sculpture was made in several block pieces. This morning we had to assemble them back together, which took about four hours total."
The combined 14 man-hours was well worth the effort, as Chung's sculptures generated loads of interest throughout the morning's proceedings. "We've received such great support from everybody here. It's interesting to see how into it people are. It's really exciting to see that my sculptures are making people happy."
Chung had to laugh at one of his own creations, though. "The figure skater couldn't be made too slim because there would be a danger of it breaking. That's why it looks so chunky. Like a skater in a snowsuit," Chung laughed.
If you're going to be in the Edmonton (Whyte Ave., evening -- Jan. 13) or Devon (morning -- Jan. 15) areas for the Torch relay, be sure to check out Chung's sculptures. He still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
"We're making an Inukshuk, a 2010 and the Olympic rings," Chung said. "We're thinking of a yeti for one of the events, too, but we're still not sure."
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