Global Olympic torch relays dropped

International Olympic Committee ends torch run following protests along the route.

    The high-profile torch run has also attracted protests along its global route [GALLO/GETTY]

    Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director, said officials decided there was too much risk in taking the relay worldwide.
     
    He said they had recognised risks during the relay before the Athens games in 2004, but he added "at the time, Beijing had already started its planning for the international torch relay, and we had accepted to do it accordingly.
     
    "We have seen on the debrief of the torch relay that the risk was there, and it is why the IOC has decided not to do it."

    Torch tradition
     
    The tradition of the torch relay began with the 1936 Berlin games and has steadily grown with each subsequent Olympics.
     

    The Olympic body says the relay had become increasingly risky [GALLO/GETTY]
    Previous IOC regulations have not required host cities to stage a global relay although several have requested one in recent years.
     
    The new directive applies from next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
     
    Chinese Olympic officials had dubbed the four-month relay ahead of the Beijing games a "Journey of Harmony".
     
    But the torch's global tour was dogged by protests from human rights groups and pro-Tibet campaigners, with clashes breaking out in several cities including London, Paris and Sydney.
     
    In San Francisco, officials were forced to reroute the parade to avoid confrontations.
     
    Worries over the security of the flame led China to send its own specially-trained security officers to accompany the relay.
     
    However, on several occasions they were themselves accused of being heavy-handed in their treatment of protesters.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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