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The Bermudian

It was a charming thought to reproduce, in miniature, the pageantry traditional to the Olympic Games in our athletic little island, including the symbolic flame handed from runner to runner.

Our limited acreage permitted only a relay of a few miles, from St. George’s to Prospect, as opposed to the many leagues swiftly covered over Greece’s stony hills by panting and fanatical youths, sustained by a sense of high honour and faith in the gods. Our white-shorted lads took their responsibilities in lighter fashion as they sped over the smooth roads with due regard to passing traffic and the rules of the King’s Highway.

I can find no record of the original Olympic torch being accidently extinguished, or of the results of such a disaster—for disaster it surely would have been in those days of omen and mysticism. One can imagine the terrible cry that would have gone up from the crowded arena—the shrieks of the women and the prayers of the men, and the young athlete responsible committing dramatic and effective suicide at the shrine, a cry for Apollo’s pardon on his lips. In Bermuda, 1948, the accidental dousing of the flame at the last moment caused but an amused exclamation from the radio commentator, who with great presence of mind threw down a box of matches to the young Olympian while the press photographers held their fire till the flame was rekindled. As final touch, the box was honestly returned before the torch was planted in place… thrown back casually with a word of thanks. I’m not sure of the proper comment for all this Is it ‘eheu fugaces,’ or ‘o tempora, o mores,’ or ‘sic transit,’ or just simply ‘so what?’

 

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