Dutch crown prince says end Olympic torch world tour
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander says the Olympic torch should not be carried around the world as it has become a target for protest.6 August 2008
AMSTERDAM - The Olympic torch should not be carried around the world anymore, Dutch crown prince and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Willem-Alexander said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Instead, the former tradition of lighting the torch in ancient Olympia and holding the relay only in the Olympic host country should be restored, the future Dutch king told the Telegraaf daily.
The Olympic torch was high on the IOC agenda this week as protesters tried to extinguish the flame several times out of protest against human rights violations of Olympic host China.
"The reality is that this beautiful symbol of hope has become a target for protest. The enormous media attention makes the torch tour ideal for this purpose," said Willem Alexander.
"By restoring an old tradition, we can prevent the destruction of this Olympic symbol."
The prince said he was also concerned about the expenses involved with carrying the torch around the world. In 2004, host country Greece spent USD 100 million (EUR 64,64 million) on the torch's world tour.
The torch relay was on the agenda at the IOC Session on Tuesday with Canadian IOC member Dick Pound saying it "was close to becoming a disaster".
The IOC president Jacques Rogge announced a thorough review after the 8 24 August Beijing Games, but also warned that doing away with the international leg would not necessarily prevent protests in the future.
[dpa / Expatica]