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
U.S. men’s national team coordinator Kevin Mazeika‘s contract will not be renewed at the end of the year as USA Gymnastics makes changes after missing the men’s team podium at a second straight Olympics.
Mazeika was the U.S. men’s head coach at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, where the U.S. men earned team medals at a non-home Games for the first time. He then served as national team coordinator from 2009 through this year.
The U.S. men finished fifth at the last two Olympics.
USA Gymnastics will replace the national team coordinator role with a high-performance director “focused on sustained international success.”
“The coaches, committee members and staff did a thorough review of the existing structure and results, and then took a hard look at what is needed to prepare our athletes for success heading toward Tokyo and beyond,” USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said in a press release.
MORE: U.S. women’s national team coordinator named
Two-time Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison has joined mixed martial arts promotion World Series of Fighting, which says she is moving to MMA but won’t set a debut fight for at least a year.
Harrison, 26 and all but retired from judo, has been asked time and again for years about her interest in pursuing MMA. That’s in part because of former training partner Ronda Rousey‘s overwhelming success after she switched from Olympic judo.
Harrison hasn’t responded to messages seeking comment.
Harrison will serve as a commentator and brand ambassador before getting into MMA competition. Her commentating debut will be at WSOF 34 in New York on Dec. 31 on NBC.
Earlier this month, Harrison reiterated that she had offers on the table to sign a mixed martial arts contract, with interest from at least three “big” promotion companies.
Harrison has taken boxing and jiu-jitsu lessons as far back as 2013, which should boost her MMA potential.
To compete in MMA, Harrison will require a weight cut from her Olympic judo class of 172 pounds.
Rousey competes at 135 pounds, the heaviest women’s weight class in UFC. WSOF plans to develop a women’s program as Harrison readies for her debut.
“I’m interested in MMA in an aspect where competitors are treated as competitors and not as celebrities or as showmen,” Harrison said earlier this month, while emphasizing her admiration for Rousey. “I’m not interested in being a talker or someone who is all about the show.”
MORE: Ronda Rousey sets comeback fight