Olympic Torch Relay

Sochi Olympic flame goes out again Monday

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko attributed the Olympic flame being blown out by wind Sunday to a problem with a torch vent.

“I wouldn’t devote any special attention to what happened,” he said, according to R-Sport. “There was a misunderstanding because a vent in the torch wasn’t opened properly and the flame wasn’t at the intensity [it was supposed to be].”

The flame went out while retired Soviet swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan carried it (video). A nearby official quickly reignited it with a cigarette lighter.

The Olympic flame appeared to be extinguished again during the official torch relay Monday. In this video, the flame appears to go out at about the 55-second mark. The runner stops for more than a minute as four men help him get the torch reignited.

Here’s how the Washington Post described it:

A torchbearer taking part in the Olympic relay through Moscow Monday afternoon was jogging along Raushskaya Embankment, on the other side of the river from the Kremlin, when his flame was extinguished, according to reports on TV Rainand amateur videos.

The torchbearer, accompanied by a police car, SUV, small van and several volunteer marshals, stopped. A volunteer rushed up to him with another torch. A third arrived holding what might be a small lantern – it was difficult to see.

The seconds dragged by. Dark clouds pressed down from above with seeming displeasure. The spectators could be heard. “It’s sad.” They chuckled uneasily. “Is Gazprom sponsoring this?” (Gazprom is the giant government-controlled energy company.) Then the new torch ignited, and the runner was on his way.

By the numbers: Olympic torch relay

Patrick Chan plans to retire after 2018 Olympic season

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Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan said he plans to make the 2017-18 figure skating season his last, as expected.

“Yes, I have many projects lined up ahead after my competitive career,” Chan told media Wednesday.

Chan, at 25, is arguably young enough to keep skating beyond the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, which would be his third Winter Games.

But the three-time world champion (2011, 2012, 2013), who is currently coach-less following the surprise resignation of Kathy Johnson earlier this month, is in awe of the jumps that younger skaters are throwing.

“Honestly, just look at [Japanese] Shoma’s [Uno] quad flip,” Chan joked with media. “That’s enough of an answer to just be like, yeah, this is my time. I’m going to leave on a high.”

Chan earned silver at the 2014 Olympics behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, then took one season off from competition.

He returned last year, beating Hanyu at Skate Canada but finishing a disappointing fifth at the world championships after a disastrous free skate. That marked his worst worlds finish since his debut in 2008 as a 17-year-old.

Chan said before last season’s worlds that his performance there would determine whether he continued skating through the 2018 Olympics.

“I’m at a disadvantage now, technically,” Chan said in March. “I’m competing against men who are doing five quads between the short program and the long program, and I’m at three between the two programs. Who would ever imagine that three wasn’t enough for some people?”

Chan remains the best Canadian skater. He won his eighth national title last year.

Chan will make his Grand Prix series debut at Skate Canada the last weekend of October, against a field that again includes Hanyu.

MORE: 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships host set

Final three Pyeongchang Olympic men’s hockey spots set to be filled

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The 2018 Olympic men’s hockey field of 12 teams will be complete by the end of this weekend.

The last three spots will go to winners of three round-robin qualifying tournaments in Europe that run from Thursday through Sunday.

The Olympic Channel will stream the action.

The current Olympic men’s hockey groups (world ranking in parentheses):

Group A Group B Group C
Canada (1) Russia (2) Finland (3)
Czech Republic (6) USA (4) Sweden (5)
Switzerland (7) Slovakia (8) Qualifier
South Korea (23 — host) Qualifier Qualifier

Those three qualifiers will be the winners of these three tournaments this weekend:

Tournament 1 Tournament 2 Tournament 3
Belarus (9 — host) Germany (10) Norway (11 — host)
Denmark (13) Latvia (12 — host) France (14)
Slovenia (15) Austria (17) Kazakhstan (16)
Poland (20) Japan (21) Italy (18)

All of the Olympic medal contenders are among the nine nations already in the Pyeongchang field, but a few notables are vying for spots this weekend.

Belarus memorably upset Sweden in the 2002 Olympic quarterfinals and wound up fourth in Salt Lake City. It last competed in the Olympics in 2010. Belarus’ biggest competition in its qualifying tournament may be Slovenia, which won two games at the Sochi Olympics and is led by Los Angeles Kings All-Star Anze Kopitar.

Like Belarus, Germany also last played at the Olympics in 2010. More recently, it beat the U.S. at the World Championship in May, behind New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss. To get to Pyeongchang, Germany must top a group that includes host Latvia, which made the last four Olympics and beat Switzerland in Sochi.

Norway hosts the group with the least amount of recent Olympic experience. None of France, Kazakhstan or Italy made either of the last two Olympics. Norway ought to be favored, then, since it reached the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, though it lost every contest at both Winter Games. New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello stars for the Norwegians.

It’s unknown whether the NHL will send its players to the 2018 Olympics.

MORE: Canada holds Soviet-like dominance after another world hockey title