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Winter Olympics torch visits AHA’s national headquarters

Published: 2:11 pm CDT, December 19, 2013

One of the torches used in the relay that leads up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, made a pit stop at the American Heart Association’s national headquarters in Dallas.

The torch, a sleek metallic and red design weighing about four pounds, is one of dozens that have been used in the torch relay event, which began Sept. 29 with an official lighting ceremony in Greece. The flame is continuing its 40,000-mile, 123 day journey through 83 Russian cities, and will arrive at Sochi on the opening day ceremony on Feb. 7, 2014.

The Sochi Olympic torch relay has had its share of highs and lows before Wednesday’s visit to Dallas. On the very high end, a flame-free version of the torch made a voyage to the International Space Station. Back on Earth, the Olympic flame was unexpectedly extinguished 44 times in the first eight weeks of the relay, according to Russian media reports. One torch bearer recently suffered a fatal heart attack, while another accidentally set himself on fire in the Siberian city of Abakan.

Overall, 16,000 torches were made in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk at a factory that also produces parts for Russian ballistic missiles, submarines and space rockets.

According to the Sochi Games Organizing Committee, the flame is typically stored in an enclosed lamp, much like a miner’s lamp, when traveling on airplanes or where open flames are not allowed. At night, the flame is held in a special cauldron to protect it from going out.

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which  include 98 events in 15 winter sports,  conclude Feb. 23. The Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi are scheduled for March 7-16.

Click here to watch a video about the history of the Winter Olympics Torch Relay.

All photos from the Sochi Games Organizing Committee.