Secrets of Olympic torch revealed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2008, 12:00am

Some secrets of the 'auspicious cloud' torch used to light the Olympic cauldron two weeks ago were revealed yesterday, including the one which has furrowed the most brows: did the flame blow out for several seconds while torch-bearer Li Ning was being lifted up to light the cauldron?

'No, the flame did not go out. It was just burning inside the torch because of the wind and wasn't visible to the audience,' Olympic torch technical consultant Huang Qijun said, according to Xinhua.

Mr Huang said that after rehearsals, in which the flame had also dipped, technical staff had increased the number of ventilation holes from 400 to 600 and enlarged them to ensure the flame did not go out.

A special grip helped Li hang onto the torch during his spacewalk-like flight around the stadium at a height of 50 metres. Li had not held the torch at an angle of 30 degrees, which was the best angle for onlookers to see the flame, said Mr Huang, president of the Olympic torch maker, Huadi Gas Appliances.

The mould of the torch will now be destroyed, as requested by the Games' organising committee.