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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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May 13, 2008 2:00 PM

Vancouver burns for that smokeless torch

Posted by Ron Judd

Critics who recently stumbled on the long-known fact that the Olympic torch relay originated with the 1936 Summer Games presided over by Hitler can save their breath about dousing the flame for future Olympics. The next torch relay, for the Vancouver 2010 Games, already is deep into the planning stages.

It's not likely now -- nor was it ever -- that Vancouver organizers would turn the relay into the sort of globe-hopping adventure undertaken by Beijing Games organizers. Look for Vancouver's torch to happily circle Maple Leaf Nation, traveling through some 1,000 communities, 200 of which will host cultural celebrations along the way.

Canadians, meanwhile, are hotly into the torch debate -- not whether it symbolizes something unseemly, but whether any hydrocarbon-based extravaganza these days can be deemed sufficiently "eco-friendly."

Organizers are teting a variety of fuels for the 12,000 torches expected to burn bright on the 100-day trek, as well as the cauldrons in Vancouver and Whistler, the Vancouver Sun reports today. The problem: the fuels producing the brightest flame also tend to be the dirtiest.

In recent history, most Olympic torches have burned canisters of butane. But we're hoping the Vancouver folks come up with a uniquely Canadian solution. How about a canister of methane tapped from all that garbage Whistler ships by train to Washington state?

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Blogroll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.