Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flame-lighting glitch nearly flameless

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 9:33 AM

The actual events and medals of the 2010 Winter Olympics have pushed the opening ceremonies from Friday night into the background, but it's worth sharing a story told Saturday night on Canadian TV by Catriona LeMay Doan, a former champion speedskater for Canada.

LeMay Doan was one of the final torch-bearers, along with hockey's Wayne Gretzky, hometown hero and basketball star Steve Nash and former skiing standout Nancy Greene. But when a hydraulic lift failed to pull up one of the crystal pillars from beneath the floor at the show's climactic moment, the four of them could only stand and wait as music played over and over.

In the end, LeMay Doan was the odd person out, as her pillar was the one that didn't rise, and she was told to simply hold her torch high while the other three ignited their portions of the indoor flame.

But that didn't bother LeMay Doan. She had a much greater concern.

"At the end, we had only about 20 seconds left on our torches," she said in the TV interview. "All I could think of was that our torches would burn out with more than 3 billion people watching around the world, and then what would we have done."

LeMay Doan praised the event's producers for staying composed and making the most of the situation, to the extent that many inside B.C. Place didn't know there was a problem. But another 20 seconds and Canada could have been dealing with a much greater embarrassment.

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