Olympic flame goes out in relay

Olympic flame goes out in relay

LONDON - Reuters
Olympic flame goes out in relay


The Olympic flame went out yesterday for the first time since the torch relay for the 2012 London Games began before being relit from a “mother flame” kept on standby for mishaps, organizers said.

The flame vanished while it was attached to the side of Paralympics badminton star David Follett’s wheelchair in blustery weather as he travelled through Devon in southwest England on the third day of the 12,875-kilometer relay.

“The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner,” a spokeswoman for London 2012 said.

“It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons -- for example, in extreme winds.”

“We keep the mother flame in specially designed miners’ lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason on the relay we relight it from the source of the flame,” the spokeswoman added.

“This is something that has been practiced time and time again,” another spokesman said, adding that organizers thought the replacement had gone smoothly.

The flame was flown from Greece, where it also went out during the lighting ceremony, and began its journey around Britain on Saturday.

 It is passed from torch to torch and will be carried by some 8,000 torchbearers over 10 weeks ahead of the Games, which start on July 27.

The torch design had been tested at BMW’s climatic centre in Munich to ensure it could stay alight in all weather conditions.

Monday’s leg of the relay will see 113 people carry the Olympic torch over 217 km.

The torch was attached to 23-year-old David Follett’s wheelchair went it went out on its way from Exeter to Taunton in southwest England on the third day of the 70-day relay.