For those given the honor of carrying the Olympic torch as it makes its way around the United Kingdom ahead of the upcoming London Olympics, there are two main objectives.
- Transfer the torch to the next person in the relay.
- Don't let the flame go out.
As long as relay runners adhere to these two rules then everything should go swimmingly. Unless, of course, the route actually requires them to take the torch swimming.
During a recent relay leg in Hertfordshire, England, the Olympic torch was accidentally extinguished by waves at the canoe slalom venue for the 2012 London Games. Torchbearer Zak Franklin, a British canoeist, held the flame as he rafted through stretches of turbulent rapids. Unfortunately, the iconic beacon never made it out of the course alive because water is indeed, still wet.
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Luckily for everyone in attendance, a second lantern was on hand to relight the torch. Franklin and his fellow canoeists took one more ride to complete a successful run, this time keeping the flame nice and toasty.
"It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons," a LOCOG spokesman told the Daily Mail. "It was relit from the mother flame, which is kept in a specially designed miners’ lantern."
This isn't the first time that the flame went out during the relay. Organizers even eluded a close call recently when two young boys interrupted the relay procession to grab the torch away from a torchbearer.