Olympic torch quenches the Olympic Spirit

According to the website www.olympicspirit.org, the aim of the officially sanctioned programme the Olympic Spirit is "to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, to make our world a more peaceful place."

The events over the last few days have been in stark contrast to the goals set out above. The Olympic torch has become a magnet for protest against Chinese rule in Tibet. On Sunday the torch made its way to London and then onto Paris yesterday. Both events were marked by vibrant protest and allegations of police brutality.

Tomorrow the torch arrives in San Francisco where it can expect an equally hostile welcome. So far the build up to Beijing 2008 has been punctuated by controversy, but the last few days have taken the biscuit turning into a monumental PR disaster.

Billed as a "a journey of harmony", the Olympic torch has become the focal point for opponents to the Chinese regime. Further embarrassment was caused today when Seb Coe referred to the blue trackie wearing security guards who are accompanying the Olympic torch as "horrible thugs".

With 121 days to go until the opening ceremony the International Olympic Committee and the Chinese authorities will be hoping that it can get the PR machine back on track. But it looks as if the protests are  only just beginning.

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