Olympic Torch Blows Out At Kremlin
Russia rolled out a red carpet, on Red Square, for the Olympic flame on Sunday and another red carpet for the man who made the big bet on Russia as host for the Winter Games next year in Sochi: President Vladimir Putin. The flame, which would later choose the wrong moment to show its fickle side, entered from stage left, held modestly in a brass lamp. Putin, striding through the Kremlin’s Savior Gate down a cloth-covered walkway lined with snapping-to-attention flag-bearers holding the standards of all of Russia’s 83 regions, came in from stage right. Two runners then lit a hand-held torch from the bigger flame and carried it toward the Kremlin. A handover took place just outside the red brick walls of Moscow’s fortress and seat of power, and then the new runner, Shavarsh Karapetyan, 60, a one-time champion swimmer, disappeared out of sight through the Savior Gate — but not before the flame had unceremoniously blown out. A cigarette lighter quickly got it started again.