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SBD Global/July 31, 2012/Olympics

Coe Defends Cauldron's Placement, Says It's Not A 'Tourist Attraction'

The Olympic flame burns after its cauldron was relit in a corner of Olympic Stadium.
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe was forced to defend the decision to keep the Olympic cauldron "out of sight from hundreds of thousands of Olympic Park visitors," according to Philippe Naughton of the LONDON TIMES. The cauldron traditionally "burns above the stadium, clearly visible to all." However, its positioning in the Olympic Stadium "means that it cannot be seen except by those inside the arena." The cauldron is "arguably the most photographed Olympic symbol during the Games." However, Coe said, "It was not created to be a tourist attraction." The cauldron is to be "dismantled after the Games and each of the 204 copper petals will be given to its corresponding National Olympic Committee as a momento" (LONDON TIMES, 7/30). USA TODAY's Whiteside & Johnson noted VANOC organizers two years ago "created two cauldrons -- one at the ceremonial arena and another in a public park, which quickly became one of the most popular attractions during the games." But Coe said, "We are different from Vancouver." He added that those who "don't have access to the London stadium ... would be able to see the flame on video screens set up in the Olympic Park" (USA TODAY, 7/30).

PUTTING OUT THE FIRE: The TELEGRAPH reported LOCOG officials have confirmed that the flame "was extinguished to allow staff to move the cauldron to another part" of the stadium over the weekend. In London, Magnay & Furness noted the "revelation that the flame had to be extinguished in order to move the cauldron will add to the controversy over the location of the flame." Critics have said that it "should have been placed where it would be seen by spectators who did not have tickets to the main stadium" (TELEGRAPH, 7/30).
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