Beijing, Aug 15 : The Beijing flame seemed extinguished for the first three seconds after being lighted because it was burning inside and was not visible to the audience, explained the chief torch designer Huang Qijun.
He said that the torch was different from others in terms of size and number of holes to let air come in.
"At the opening ceremony, it took a few seconds for Li to make the right pose. That's why the flame seemed to go out. The flame was not put out -- it was just burning inside the torch and wasn't visible to the audience," Xinhua quoted Qijun as saying.
It was designed to allow the flame to be seen when the bearer held up the torch at a 30-degree angle. "The last torch has more and bigger vent holes than the others so enough air will flow through," Huang said, and added that each vent hole was 1.5 mm in diameter, compared to 1.2 mm on the standard torch, and the last torch had 600 holes compared with the standard 430.
Describing its novel features of the torch, he said a special grip helped the bearer to hold on to the torch during his spacewalk-like flight at a height of 50 meters. And, an extra aluminium insulation plate inside the torch protected his hand from the heat, reducing the temperature on the surface of the torch to about 40 degrees Celsius, but adding two to three grams in weight.
"To keep the lighting plan secret, I was informed about it on July 24. We had only 10 days to develop the torch, which was tested on Aug. 5. Then we only made three of them," Huang said.
According to the IOC rules, the mould that produced about 26,000 Beijing Olympics torches would be destroyed after the Games, he added.