Local News

Olympic Torch Gets Presidential Sendoff

Posted June 20, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT

— June 21, 1996 - 2:07 p.m.

The Olympic flame is making its way toward the Triangle. It will leave Richmond Saturday morning and wind its way down Highway One through Franlinton and Wake Forest before arriving in Raleigh late Saturday.

The flame will arrive in Raleigh at about 8 p.m Saturday, and will be carried by dozens of local people, each lighting the next persons's torch. The flame's estimated time of arrival at the Fayetteville Street Mall in downtown Raleigh is 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The torch will spend the night in a cushy room at the Holiday Inn. Georgia troopers will stand guard overnight.

Runners holding the torch were honored at a red-white-and-blue ceremony at the White House where President Clinton the public to observe the Olympic spirit in their everyday lives.

Clinton also spoke out again against a rash of black church burnings.

``My fellow Americans, in the last several months we have had to deal with a different kind of flame. But it is this flame that represents the best of the United States of America,'' Clinton said at the nationally televised ceremony.

The Olympic flame was ignited from the rays of the sun at a March 30 ceremony in Olympia, Greece that First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and 16-year-old Chelsea Clinton attended.

It left Los Angeles 55 days ago on a tour designed for it to arrive for the start of the Olympic games in Atlanta on July 19.

The flame arrived at the White House Thursday night, and burned in a cauldron set up on the south lawn.

Some reports say the flame went out during the night, apparently doused by violent storms that moved through the Washington area.

However, other reports quote Olympic officials as saying they intentionally extinguished the big flame on the White House South Lawn, while keeping the ``mother'' flame safe inside.

Copyright ©1996 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.