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Ian Thorpe Puts Out

Australia’s most successful Olympian ever, Ian Thorpe, has done what many pro-Tibet protesters have failed to do in Canberra – he’s extinguished the Olympic flame.

In a scene eerily reminiscent of the technical hiccup during the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics that almost caused runner Cathy Freeman a lot of embarrassment, the cauldron lit by Thorpe today with the Beijing Olympic torch seemed to run out of gas just as Thorpe lowered the torch into it for the second time.

Thorpe won five Olympic gold medals in the pool and stands as Australia’s most successful Olympian. Faced with an empty cauldron, the best he could do was stand back and smile.

Channel 7’s Sunrise captured every awkward moment of discomfort. “Ah….I think Ian maybe accidentally extinguished the cauldron,” said the announcer, “I’m sure they’ll fix that very shortly.”

A few minutes later, the flame was re-lit and all was right with the world.

Well, except for that whole Tibet thing.

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davidb said on the 24th Apr, 2008

The torch blinks and fades; seems kind symbolic, if not ironic. The guy will always be judged - fairly or not - against huge achievement at an early age and the taint of drug allegations, but he came across as entirely self-serving & repellant in his plea that the relay be left alone. The whole Olympic brand is rendered increasingly indefensible, and a spoilt rich white guy living off the spoils of empire defends it against protest on the basis of his birth right? That's the kinda thing that ruins reputations for mine.


caloanwalker said on the 24th Apr, 2008

When I read the first line and the tittle I thought he genuinely put out the torch, as in he did it on purpose.


pinkmountains said on the 24th Apr, 2008

The Chinese government has used this event for political purposes. We should be aware and protest against the persecution and suffering of the Tibetan people before sport.