I noticed the following on my news feeds this morning:
“Faced with attempts by anti-Chinese protestors to breach the cordon of security surrounding the procession, the torch-bearer was repeatedly ordered to retreat to the safety of a bus, when the flame was extinguished for safety reasons.
Although the “source”, which is kept in a protective casing similar to a miner’s lamp, remained lit, thus maintaining the flame’s unbroken passage from Ancient Olympia to China, the symbolism of the torch being deliberately put out for the first time ever was the biggest PR disaster of an already deeply disrupted relay.
While the flame had remained alight even with protestors trying to wrench it away from the torch-bearers in London yesterday, the French acted pre-emptively to avoid scuffles.
Pro-Tibet activists trying to reach the foot of the Eiffel Tower had already been driven back by police using loudhailers to demand that protestors carrying Tibetan flags leave a security zone.
Similar demands were not made to those carrying French or Chinese flags.“
From what I read this story is correct, and this marks the first time EVER in the history of the modern Olympics that the torch has been intentionally extinguished.
I think it has been an awful decision by the Olympic committee to hold the Olympics in Beijing, but I guess it’s too late now to change that, the only hope is it’ll cause some change in things as this mess unfolds.
For those of you that are curious, it has gone out a few times in the past:
“When the Olympic flame came to the Panathinaiko Stadium, stadium of the 2004 Summer Olympics, to start the global torch relay, the night was very windy and the torch, lit by the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, blew out due to the wind, but was re-lit from the back up flame taken from the original ceremonial flame at Olympia. This was the second time that the Olympic torch flame was put out.
The first occurred at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada. After a rainstorm that doused the Olympic flame a few days after the games had opened, an official relit the flame using his cigarette lighter. Organizers quickly doused it again and relit it using a backup of the original flame.”
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