How About We Call It The ‘Fairly Constant Flame’?

Today the Eternal Flame was extinguished in Paris and put on a bus to avoid protestors for the upcoming Olympics in China. While you can read all about this on news sites all around the world, the one thing you won’t read about is how the Eternal Flame of the Olympic Torch was almost extinguished in the City of Destiny back in 1996.

It was a sunny afternoon in Tacoma. I was driving down North 21st Street in my White Volkswagen Bus. Above me, I saw and heard a helicopter. I tried to get a look at it as it sounded a lot like it was going to land on me. It was a news helicopter. It was maybe a hundred feet in there. And it appeared to be following me down 21st Street. I had no idea what the hell was going on. 

As I looked up at the helicopter, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly I realized there was something in front of my van. I slammed on the brakes just in time to watch a man carrying the Olympic Torch run by on Pine Street. That’s right. I almost ran over the Olympic Torch runner and extinguished the Eternal Flame. In front of a news helicopter.

That clip would have been played over and over for years. I would have ended up being the guy who killed the Olympic Torch Runner and that’d be that. Nothing else I did would matter. I could write a best seller that’s turned into a multi-million dollar blockbuster and if I ended up on Letterman, he’d say, “So you killed the Olympic Torch Runner, right?”