Olympic flame 'goes out' as cauldron is moved
THE Olympic cauldron has been extinguished and the flame transferred to a lantern as the eight-metre high structure is relocated to a different part of the Olympic Stadium, Locog has confirmed.
The flame, a symbol of the Olympic movement which is supposed to burn for the entirety of the Olympic Games, went out in the stadium on Sunday evening, with witnesses reporting seeing it unlit at 11.14pm.
Olympic organisers have now confirmed it was extinguished to allow staff to move the cauldron to another part of the venue over the weekend.
The decision to move the flame will add to the controversy over the placing of the flame. Critics have said it should have been placed where it would be seen by spectators who did not have tickets to the main stadium.
Jackie Brock-Doyle, director of communications for the London Olympics organisers, told AFP: “The cauldron has been put out while we move it to another part of the stadium.”
She added that the flame would be kept burning in a lantern used during the torch relay until the cauldron was relit later on Monday.
The flame has already been accidentally extinguished during the build-up to the London 2012 Games, after a torch malfunctioned on day three of its journey around Britain.
The flame, which was being carried through Great Torrington, Devon, on badminton player David Follett's wheelchair went out and had to be relit mid-relay.
At the time, a spokesman for Locog explained: “The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner.
“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 alight in specially designed miners' lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason we re-light it from the source of the flame.”
A gust of wind also blew out the flame during a ceremony in Olympia, Greece while an actress playing a high priestess re-enacted a scene from the ancient Olympics.
The flame finally reached the Olympic Stadium safely for the opening ceremony on Friday evening, with seven young athletes performing the final stage of its journey.
The youngsters, who represented the legacy of the Games as athletes of the future, lit the elaborate cauldron, which comprised of 240 separate flames which rose up to make one.
The final position of the cauldron has already attracted some criticism after it was disclosed it would not be visible outside the stadium.
The task of keeping the flame alight has required a mammoth effort from organisers, with special arrangements being made for keeping it burning while on planes, speedboats and on the top of mountains.
In the event that it was extinguished while on its journey around Britain, a “motherflame” was kept nearby to relight it.
This motherflame is said to be “descended” from the “real” Olympic flame in Athens, Greece.