2013-01-14t141803z_1_cbre90d13q800_rtroptp_3_russia

Flame Watch: Sochi Torch Unveiled!

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The (quite futuristic looking) Torch for the 2014 Sochi Games was unveiled in Moscow Monday, along with tentative plans for what will be the longest Torch relay in Olympics history. Get excited.

“The Olympic torch is one of the key symbols of the Games,” Sochi Games chief Dmitry Chernyshenko told reporters outside the Kremlin. “In our case, it symbolizes the beauty and diversity of Russia.”

The 37-inch aluminum feather-shaped Torch, designed by Vladimir Pirozhkov, was inspired by the Firebird from Russian folklore and represents “the luck and happiness that we are all after.”

It will depart from Olympia, Greece on Oct. 7 for the longest Torch relay in history, stretching all the way to the North Pole (and possibly space) before being carried through 2,900 towns and villages of Russia on its way to Sochi for the Feb. 7 Opening Ceremony.

It will be carried by 14,000 torchbearers during its 124-day journey. I’ve not yet been named as one of them.

Paralympic swimmer disqualified for Olympic rings tattoo

Josef Craig
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British Paralympic champion Josef Craig was disqualified from a race because he didn’t cover up an Olympic rings tattoo on his chest at the IPC European Championships on Sunday.

Craig, 19, was disqualified because of an International Paralympic Committee swimming rule that states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

Craig, who did not have the tattoo when he took gold at London 2012, has since competed at the European Championships with the Olympic rings tattoo covered.

If people attend the Paralympics, which are held weeks after the Olympics at the same venues, they will very often see the Paralympic Agitos logo where the Olympic logo once appeared.

It is visual proof that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate entities.

At the London Paralympics, American Rudy Garcia-Tolson earned silver in a 200m individual medley with an Olympic rings tattoo visible near his left shoulder-blade.

An IPC spokesperson said the rule pertaining to the Paralympics — which covers all sports — was new going into 2012 and will be fully enforced for the first time in Rio.

MORE: London gymnastics medalist gets elaborate Olympic tattoo

Missy Franklin reads emotional letter to parents (video)

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Missy Franklin broke into tears reading a letter to her parents in a mock press conference in a spot for Minute Maid, one of the four-time Olympic champion’s sponsors since turning professional a year ago.

It was filmed in April near her home in Denver.

Franklin has split time training and competing and working with companies including GoPro, Laureus, Minute Maid, Speedo, United Airlines, Visa and Wheaties.

Franklin has said the sponsor commitments will curtail in the middle of May, when she starts a blackout period to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha and air on NBC Sports.

VIDEO: Franklin revisits ‘biggest sacrifice’ in GoPro series finale