Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics organizers "unveiled a futuristic torch" on Monday based on the "contrasts of the world's largest country and combining Russian folklore, including a mythical Firebird, with space-age technology," according to Gennady Fyodorov of REUTERS. The torch relay, which starts in the ancient Greek town of Olympia on Oct. 7, will be the longest in Winter Olympic history, measuring 65,000km, more than one and a half times the circumference of the Earth. The torch will visit Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest mountain, Lake Baikal and the North Pole. Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko said, "We hope it might even go out into space." The torch is red and silver. Sochi 2014 organizers said that red "is the traditional color of Russian sport, while silver is the most popular in Olympic torch history" (REUTERS, 1/14).
OUT OF THIS WORLD: XINHUA reported the torch "may visit outer space during the relay." The Sochi Olympics ambassador Ilya Averbukh said that the move is "intended to symbolize Russia as a technologically advanced country." Averbukh said, "There is an aspiration upward, to the victory. It will be a real feast" (XINHUA, 1/14). The organizing committee also unveiled the official uniform for the Paralympic torch bearers who will take part in the Sochi 2014 relays. The uniform was designed by BOSCO, the general partner of the 2014 Games (Sochi 2014).
British Olympic Association Chief Commercial Officer Hugh Chambers "has paid the price of not finding any sponsorship partners" since the London Games by losing his job, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Chambers, "whose departure from the BOA had been a subject of wide speculation because of the chronic funding void," left the London Charlotte Street headquarters on Friday. BOA CEO Andy Hunt, "whose own position is also in jeopardy, informed the board and commercial partners about the decision in a short email" Monday morning. The "sponsorship crisis had been the main point of discussion at a strategy meeting of the BOA high command" led by Chair Sebastian Coe last week (DAILY MAIL, 1/14).
The IOC has proposed to hold a meeting with the Indian Olympic Association and government representatives, maintaining that it would consider lifting the ban on India, but "only if the IOA holds elections solely under the Olympic Charter," according to the PTI. In a letter written to V.K. Malhotra, who was the acting IOA chief before the controversial elections, and IOC member Randhir Singh, the IOC "made it clear that it will not deal with the current dispensation" led by politician Abhay Singh Chautala. The world body listed two prerequisites "for it to consider" lifting India's ban, "which made it clear that the government's Sports Code will have no relevance." The letter read: "The suspended IOA must be in a position to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections without any external interference and exclusively on the basis of Olympic Charter and IOA's Constitution." It continued, "The suspended IOA reviews its own constitution and internal regulations and makes any necessary amendments, in close collaboration with the IOC and subject to IOC's approval, to improve its internal governance and include proper and concrete mechanisms to ensure good governance at all levels and implement all basic ethical principles" (PTI, 1/14).
Rotterdam, Netherlands will push ahead with its bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games following government financial guarantees. Netherlands Olympic Committee President Andre Bolhuis said, "We have the guarantees of the government. It [the decision] happened this week, and we have sent the guarantees to the executive board of the IOC" (NOC). ... London Mayor Boris Johnson is "set to offer the Olympic Stadium, and other of London’s high-profile sporting venues to organisers of the 2018 Gay Games." PM David Cameron "voiced his support for a bid aiming to have the Gay Games brought to London" in '18. The other cities in the running for the Games are Paris; Orlando, U.S.; Amsterdam; Limerick, Ireland; and Rio de Janeiro. More than 12,000 participants from 70 nations are expected to compete in the games (PINK NEWS, 1/13).