Martina Devlin: Olympic flame sputters in the wake of tickets scandal and Hickey's fall from grace
The keepers of the Olympic flame are exposing it to some unhealthy draughts, between allegations of doped athletes, crooked referees and unscrupulous ticket-touting. It's impossible to escape the conclusion that events at Rio 2016 are overshadowing the games and falling far short of the Olympic ideal.
Perhaps the most perplexing episode surrounds Pat Hickey, in jail after being denied bail by a Brazilian judge and facing charges relating to fraudulent ticket-marketing.
Whatever happens, Ireland's reputation has been blemished on the international stage. Runner Sebastian Coe, who won gold twice for Britain, once said his boyhood heroes were Olympians. I wonder how many children today would echo his words?