Underway For Journey Of Olympic Flame
Preparations are now
underway to ensure the safe journey of the
Olympic Flame from the ancient Greek site of
Olympia to the Olympic Stadium in London, for the
2012 Olympic Games.
'Many people wonder how the
Flame can travel all that way without mishap,'
said the International Olympic Committee
president, Jacques Rogge. 'The fact is, we've
learned a lot about risk management for the Flame
since it was reintroduced to the modern games in
Amsterdam in 1928. For example,' he continued, 'there
was an attempt to switch the Flame on its route
to Mexico City in 1968. The conspirators planned
to replace the Greek Flame with a low cost
Chinese version and sell the original to a
collector. Fortunately, they were caught before
the theft took place. Since then, the Flame has
been tested for authenticity every morning and
every evening during its journey.'
'Flames emit light at a
number of wavelengths to form a characteristic
spectrum,' explained Professor Brian Cox, whose
comments must now appear, by law, in all popular
scientific reports. 'Flames taken from the
ancient Greek site of Olympia have a unique
spectrum which can easily be checked with modern
equipment. The spectrum contains five
There is also curiosity
about what would happen if the Flame accidently
became extinguished on its route.
'People often don't
understand the physics and chemistry of flames,'
continued Professor Cox, before anyone else could
get a word in. 'They sometimes think that flames
are just the light-emitting, gaseous component of
whatever happens to be burning at the time. Of
course, if that was the case, the Greek
Flame would have no physical connection
whatsoever with the flame that eventually arrived
at the Olympic stadium, and so the whole exercise
would be completely pointless.
'Flames are made of matter,
like any other object we normally see on the
Earth,' he clarified. 'They don't just cease to
exist. When they cool below a certain temperature,
they stop emitting light and become invisible,
dark matter. Greek Olympic flames, for example,
stop glowing at 234.433 degrees centigrade.
'Invisible, cold flames are
all around us,' Professor Cox added. 'It's simply
that we can't see them. Some date from shortly
after the Big Bang. . . I think that's just
amazing!' he shouted in conclusion, while being
escorted away by mental health professionals.
The difficulties caused by
the Olympic Flame cooling below its 'visibility
horizon' were dramatically illustrated on its way
to Moscow in 1980 when a gust of icy, Russian
wind caused the Flame to vanish.
'The problem was compounded
in 1980 because the Flame was not well attached
to the torch,' explained Sebastian Coe, chairman
of the Organising Committee for the 2012 Games,
who also helped to search for the lost Flame in
Moscow. 'The wind not only caused the Flame to
become invisible, but we believe that it also
detached the Flame from the torch. This made it
impossible to relocate. In the end, runners had
to return to Greece and start again. The flame
for the 2012 Olympics will be held to the torch
by a combination of Araldite, super glue and
nails so that if it becomes invisible, we won't
For such a prestigious icon,
nothing can be left to chance. Contingencies have
therefore been made for a catastrophic loss of
the Flame. This might occur due to highjack by
criminals, terrorists or Fathers for Justice.
'It's a classified secret,'
remarked Boris Johnson, mayor of London, to BBC
News, 'that a reserve flame is lit at the Greek
site of Olympia in addition to the one to be
carried to the Olympic Stadium. It is then cooled,
liquefied and bottled, and is then stored at a
hidden location for use in the event of a total
loss of the Primary Flame. If the worst comes to
the worst,' he continued, 'I just go to the
saddle bag of my bike and - hey presto!'
'Shit!' exclaimed the mayor
as the significance of his words dawned upon him.
'I suppose if all else fails, we could burn Greek
government bonds. They came from roughly the same
place and they're no bloody use for anything else.'
The final question is, of
course, what will happen to the Flame after the
'We intend that it will
benefit the people of London in the same way as
the Olympic building programme,' confirmed Lord
Coe. 'It was originally planned to use the Flame
to keep the homeless warm on London's streets.
However,' he concluded, 'after discussion with
our sponsors, it will now be used to heat the
offices of senior executives in the City.'