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Volume 6 No. 212


A cigarette lighter "looked set to spark an Olympian spat" Tuesday after an image of one relighting the Sochi 2014 torch "was used in advertising," according to R-SPORT. The 123-day Winter Games torch relay "began amid patriotic fanfare" on Moscow's Red Square on Monday, but the ceremony "was overshadowed by the flame having gone out the day before during a tour around the Kremlin." An official manning the route "rekindled the flame with what appeared to be a Zippo cigarette lighter, breaching rules that state only Olympic lanterns brought from Greece may provide backup." The Pennsylvania-based Zippo company "took full advantage Tuesday, however, posting a screen grab of the moment on its Facebook page Tuesday with the hashtag #ZippoSavesOlympics." The post "has gone viral" in next year’s host nation with more than 2,400 “likes.” But the move "could be in breach of Russian law" banning Olympic symbols from being used in advertising without official approval. Sochi 2014 organizing committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko said on Twitter he is aware of the ad and “is working on this.” Since the lighter incident, the flame "has gone out at least twice more on its journeys around Moscow, but was swiftly relit in a more official manner" (R-SPORT, 10/8).

A citizens group said that it measured "high radiation levels at candidate venues" for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the metropolitan government "disputes the data" and the IOC "has shown little interest." The group said that some of the potential venues for the Summer Games "had radiation levels exceeding the Tokyo metropolitan government’s standards for decontamination: 0.23 microsievert per hour 1 meter above ground or a hot spot that measures at least 1 microsievert per hour higher than the surrounding areas" (ASAHI SHIMBUN, 10/8). ... The IOC said that it set a Dec. 1 deadline "for Pakistan to show that its Olympic committee and sports federations are being run without interference from the national government." Pakistan "has been facing possible suspension from the Olympic movement under IOC rules which guarantee the independence of elected sports officials'' (AP, 10/8). ... Georgia on Monday expressed concern over Sunday's section of the 2014 Sochi Olympics torch relay as "over-politicized." The expression came as a response to Russia's inclusion of a '08 military pilot in the 123-day Olympic torch relay. Ivan Nechayev, who received a hero's award for safely landing damaged aircraft during the '08 conflict between Georgia and Russia, "was among 10 torchbearers who passed the flame around the Kremlin on Sunday" (XINHUA, 10/8).