2004 flame went out ‘fewer than 30 times’

Irked by press criticism over the performance of the designer torches used to carry the Olympic Flame around Greece, the Athens 2004, the organizing committee, issued a statement yesterday to insist that the olive leaf-shaped devices usually stay lit. Torches went out during both high-profile events involving the Olympic Flame – the March 25 lighting ceremony in Olympia and the arrival of the flame at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Wednesday. On the latter occasion, the wind blew out the torch as Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki took charge of it. Backup flames were used in both cases. Athens 2004 said that in most cases, the gas flame went out «because the bearers had not been fully familiarized [with the torches].» It argued that out of the 823 torch-bearers, «fewer than 30» needed a relight.

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