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Last updated at 08:15 BST, Friday, 07 September 2012

A tower of strength

Australia's Russell Short stands silhouetted against the sun during the Men's shot put final at the Olympic Stadium.

Australian Paralympic athlete Russell Short stands silhouetted against the sun during the men's shot put final at the Olympic Stadium. Photo: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Today's Phrase

If someone is 'a tower of strength' they are someone who can be depended on to provide support and comfort in times of trouble. You can also say 'a pillar of strength'.

For example:

After losing my job, Stefan was a tower of strength and encouraged me to start looking for new employment.

Jane was a real tower of strength for the family following their devastating news.

David is always a tower of strength when things turn horrible at work.

Don't confuse it with

To be 'in an ivory tower' means to be distant from reality and sometimes superior or arrogant.

For example:

Our local politician seems to live in an ivory tower – he doesn't know what it's really like to live in this area.

If you didn't spend so much time in your ivory tower, you'd know what people really think.

Interesting fact

Built adjacent to the Olympic Stadium is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a 115m sculpture and observation tower. Created specifically for the London 2012 Olympics, it is Britain's largest piece of public art. It was designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond and part-funded by the steel magnate, Lakshmi Mittal. Kapoor was inspired to design a tower that had a spiral, coiling form and was influenced by the painting, 'The Tower of Babel' by the Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

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