Deccan Herald, Friday, August 13, 2004


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Deccan Herald Olympics � Full Story

When messengers of peace were burnt alive



Sohn Kee Chung was to light the Olympic cauldron at the Seoul Games in 1988 and though most of the doves flew away seeing the torch, some refused to budge from the edge of the cauldron and were burnt alive.

What followed is a barrage of criticism in the form of letters and petitions from animal-lovers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to make the release of doves a symbolic one.

However, father of Olympic movement Baron Pierre de Coubertin's initial wish was that the number of birds should match the number of participating countries. But it was never codified and the 1960 Rome Games saw release of as many as 7,200 doves.

The first release of doves, symbol of peace, in modern Olympics dates back to Athens in 1896 during the closing ceremony and from the Antwerp Games in 1920, this has been an official part of the Opening ceremony.

The Antwerp edition saw another innovation with each dove sporting a ribbon on its leg in the colour of one of the participating countries.

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