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Olympic torch malfunction causes a few tense moments

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olympic-torch-malfunction.jpgDespite some of the things I've previously said that could be construed as impugning the Winter Olympics, the human part of me took over during last night's Opening Ceremonies.

The gigantic coming together of people from all corners of the globe in a peaceful celebration of sport is a phenomenon that knocks loudly on the heart.

Tremendous television and spectacle all-around.

Everything went off with a hitch until that fateful moment when the time to light the Olympic cauldron came.

Then things got weird.
As Wayne Gretzky and the other final torchbearers stood poised to spark it up, an awkward silence arose while the high-tech contraption suffered a malfunction.

The problem?

One of the four totems of the structure failed to rise from the floor. Gretzky & Co. nervously waited as the world watched before the call to make the best of it was made.

The man in charge of the ceremony said that his staff were investigating the cause of the malfunction.

"It's a very complex piece of equipment. As you saw, it literally had to dance its place into its final position," artistic director David Atkins told reporters.

"Unfortunately, the trap that revealed it from the floor of the stadium, which worked perfectly well at the beginning of the ceremony ... with the totems rising from the floor, had some mechanical failure."

He put on a brave face, however, lauding his team for quickly finding a solution.

"It was an example of the fact that we're all human, and the ceremony celebrated that fact in all sorts of ways, by virtue of the cauldron and the hand of God coming in to remind us that we have some sort of fallibility there," he said.

You have to admit that's a pretty good save right there.

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I now have a far greater respect and appreciation for the American Press than ever before. You are gratious in your comments and forgiving in our blunders. Being a proud British Columbian, I have reviewed press arcticles from around the world re: the Olympics in Vancouver. The American Press has been most kind and gratious. The British Press on the other hand... We'll, they've been very British and we after all, are only the colonies. I wish your nation all the best of luck in Vancouver.

We live and work in Vancouver and loved it as well.

My friend Billy Kam in Hawaii wrote:

"The Vancouver Opening Ceremony that had the 'malfunctioning' 4th column surrounding the cauldron may have been a symbolic tribute to the Georgian luge athlete. Although the one section didn't work, the other three were still able to light the Olympic cauldron."

What a great perspective.

Wow, Billy Kam in Hawaii, the notion that they did it on purpose is a nice twist. Works for me.

There was one other glitch. When the Mounties raised the Olympic flag, the bottom edge seemed to be stuck on something. The flag pole is hollow and air is blasted through it to make the flag wave, but you could see that the top of the flag was free but the bottom was stuck. Overall it was a beautiful ceremony. Actually better than the Beijing one in my opinion.


Well In a surprise move with just a couple of days until the opening ceremonies, Vancouver fired its top electrician whose job is to inspect electrical installations including any temporary or permanent Olympic installations. This in response to the inspector's insistance that he be allowed to do his job and inspect the various facilities for safety compliance with the electrical code. This to the dismay of the electrical workers who had voiced their concern that various electrical contractors were cutting too many corners and jeopardising the safety of the public at the various venues.
These workers were disgruntled and unemployed to begin with as most were raided from the local film union after Vancouver stopped issuing film permits during the first few months of 2010 throwing 1000's of technicians out of work who were left with litle choice but to work the Olympic games for half their usual salary and no benefits and poor working conditions. Many quit upon hearing of the inspector's firing. I am sure this malfunction was not equipment failure at all and was a result of manpower issues or even a little sabotage....

Sorry David but if you're going to throw an event like that and the 2 biggest wow factors are: projected whales and a malfunctioning torch? I'll hire cirque de Soliel next time... And the outside torch not lighting remotely was another blunder not discussed, Gretzkys Chevrolet chariot ride was not part of the gig...I've heard from contractors it was to light remotely like Calgary did... Oops glad we got to see the drunk natives and Asian kids tossing gang signs down Georgia!!!

And who dressed KD Lang? Really coulda fit 4 of her in it...

Needed some more Viagra...

Things ended up working out just fine. I'm sure they had plenty of electrical contractors on hand to help out with any malfunctions. The Olympics were great and everyone had a fun time watching them.

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