When at last it came time to light the Olympic cauldron on Friday evening, most everyone was surprised when the duties went to Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds and Adelle Tracey.
The seven teens, as you may now know, were there to represent Britain’s hopes for the future. Awww, right?
But almost as quickly as the cauldron lit up Olympic Stadium on millions of television screens, it became a source of controversy among Londoners, tourists and Olympic commentators – all of whom were quick to point out that while the cauldron may indeed be magnificent, it’s impossible to see.
The problem, as described by Howard Berkes at NPR.com:
Spectators lucky enough — and affluent enough — to get tickets to track and field events in the Olympic Stadium will see the flame. Video screens outside the venue feature the flame at times, but getting close enough to see those screens requires tickets to an event or a $15 fee for entry to the Olympic Park.
Asked about the decision, London Games chief Sebastian Coe was quick to dismiss concerns. “It was not created to be a tourist attraction,” he told reporters during a news conference on Sunday.
Anyway, the outcry got us thinking about Vancouver. Not about Gretzky and the pickup truck. And not about the chain-linked fence put up to it to protect it. No, we were actually just thinking about the irresistible appeal of the flame.
Still not sure what we’re talking about? Follow us to the archives where we find Scott Feschuk taking pictures of people having their picture taken in front of the Olympic flame.