So here’s a great article from the NY Times on the Olympic Torch for Russia’s upcoming Winter Olympics. There are many reasons I love this article, both as a lover of the Olympic games, as a former Journalism student, and as a snarky person in general. Here are some of my favorite gems from this article:
But perhaps the low point in what has seemed less like an Olympic torch relay than an exercise in ineptitude and misfortune came earlier this week when one of the runners carrying the torch to the Sochi Games had a fatal heart attack while attempting to walk his allotted distance, about 218 yards.
While the paragraph preceding this quote talks about the seemingly cursed nature of this Olympic torch, in not being able to remain lit, but it’s also been part of a man’s death. THEN, the quote above kind of alludes to the fact that this man couldn’t make it a measly 218 yards to celebrate the athleticism of this world-uniting event. Not especially sensitive to the fact that this 73 year old man, who was a Greco-Roman wrestling coach and athlete in his own right, has now passed away.
...the official line is that it has stopped burning only something like three times so far, Mr. Osin said. And only once, he stressed in an interview, had it been relit by someone’s lighter. “It was just a gust of wind,” he said of the incident, which took place in the Kremlin grounds, on the second leg of the 14,000-leg relay. “The torchbearer who was running was absolutely terrified and didn’t know what to do, and he asked the guard to help him, and the guard” — here he paused — “helped, with the only device he had.”
It is unclear what happened to the guard.
Well now, that’s ominous! Am I the only one who thinks this might be implying that the guard might be sleeping with the fishes now??
Although keeping a torch lit for up to several hours is an easy endeavor, torches tend to do better when they are stationary, at least in domestic situations, said Jennifer Grosshandler, the marketing director for Tiki Torches.
“I would not recommend running with it,” she said.
This is bordering on sounding like The Onion. I love that this is a pretty tongue-in-cheek interview, using the director of a company that creates Tiki Torches as a source for expert opinion.
The Olympic flame is not eternal, but is relit a few months before each Olympics, said Bill Mallon, a former president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. It originates in the temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece, where it is ceremonially lit by “supposedly Greek virgin priestesses,” Mr. Mallon said, using the sun’s rays via a parabolic mirror.
This final tidbit is perhaps my favorite. Not ignoring the judgy part about “Supposedly Greek virgin Priestesses,” I love learning something new every day, and today I learned that the Olympic Torch is lit in a manner very similar to how elementary school children fry ants with magnifying glasses.
Overall, a very funny, very illuminating article from the NY Times.