The Olympic torch might not be windproof, but the Zippo lighter still is.
On Sunday, shortly after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin kicked off the four-month-long torch relay for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, the flame, which had traveled to Moscow all the way from Athens, Greece, was extinguished in a wind gust outside the Kremlin.
As the torchbearer, a former champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan, noticed his torch’s lack of luminance, he hustled over to nearby onlooker, possibly part of the security detail, who deftly got things back on schedule with a quick flick of his Zippo lighter.
Burning brightly once more, thanks to the dependable American classic, Karapetyan continued on his leg of the relay with no more incidents.
“We’re always happy to provide a reliable flame in a moment of need,” said David Warfel, director of global marketing. “We hope that everyone along the relay route has their Zippo lighter fueled up and ready to go, just in case.”
The Zippo windproof lighter’s moment as Prometheus’s backup has received global attention, including mentions in the LA Times, as well as on the Today Show, and the NBC Nightly News.
NBC’s Brian Williams said of the extinguishing torch issue, “But [it’s] no problem as long as there is an enterprising Russian around with a Zippo…just like the ancient Greeks did it.”