Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Olympic Flame Floats Through Venice

From the Associated Press:

VENICE, Italy - A ride in a gondola up the famed Grand Canal helped torchbearers of the Turin Olympics avoid protesters Tuesday.

A small group protesting a plan to save the sinking city from high tides was held back by police as the flame entered Venice.

Twelve gondolas were provided for 12 torchbearers, including track athlete Manuela Levorato and 1960 Olympic heavyweight boxing champion Francesco De Piccoli.

Cousins Igor and Rudi Vignotto, perennial winners of the city's historic gondola races, received the biggest cheers from the thousands of spectators lining the Grand Canal. Chinese figure skater Chen Lu, a bronze medalist at the 1994 Lillehammer and 1998 Nagano Games, was among the torchbearers on the streets.

The day's relay ended with the lighting of a cauldron in Piazza San Marco.

Alex Zanardi, the former Formula One driver and two-time CART champion, carried the torch earlier in the day in Padua. Zanardi lost both legs in a collision during a CART race in 2001 and has two prosthetic legs.

Zanardi walked with a crutch under one arm while holding the torch aloft with his other arm.

The flame is to arrive in Turin on Feb. 10 for the opening ceremony.

I wish I'd been able to see the flame go by. Do we have any eyewitnesses out there? Send us your photos!

1 comment:

RaleighRob said...

Here's one from the NY Times: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/01/18/sports/18olympics.650.jpg