Olympic Torch Relays to Be Canceled?

Associated Press
April 8, 2008

The International Olympic Committee will review plans for the remainder of the Beijing Olympic torch relay and consider scrapping the international portion of the event for future games.

IOC officials expressed concern Tuesday about the disruption caused by anti-Chinese protests during the torch relay in Paris and London.

They braced for more potential trouble during the leg through San Francisco on Wednesday after activists scaled the San Francisco Bay Bridge as part of a high-altitude protest.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the committee's executive board would discuss the future of the Beijing relay on Friday.

He did not rule out the option of suspending or scrapping part of the relay, although most Olympic officials are opposed to such a move and Beijing organizers have vowed to go to the end.

"I'm not saying whether it is certain or not. There will be a discussion of the executive board on the torch relay but I attach on that absolutely no speculation whatsoever."

The torch relay has been disrupted in Greece, Istanbul, London, and Paris by protesters opposed to China's policies in Tibet and overall human rights record.

(See a photo of Tibetans protesting in India.)

The torch's 85,000-mile (136,794-kilometer) journey from Ancient Olympia in Greece across six continents will end in mainland China on May 4. The Beijing Olympics start August 8.

Tarnished Image

Patrick Hickey, an Irish IOC member who heads the European Olympic Committees, said there was widespread consensus that future torch relays should be limited to the national territory of the host country.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director for the Olympic Games, confirmed the committee would reassess its policy for future relays.

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