Micro-switch causes micro-problem

The switch in question failed to "light up" to signal that the cauldron had connected with the water path, a requirement for the next stage to be set in motion.

Michael Pirrie, a media adviser with the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG), said: "The connection was checked and confirmed and the cauldron proceeded up the path. Mechanically there was nothing wrong, but the micro-switch didn't do its job properly, and that was the reason for the delay."

The elevation of the cauldron to the top of stadium was done in three stages: a hydraulic arm lifted the cauldron to the base of the upper stand; it then engaged a winch system that took it to the top of the stand where it sat atop a hydraulic stem containing the main burner and a separate gas supply; and finally the cauldron was raised a further 10 metres above the top of the stand, where the flame can be seen from outside the stadium.

The director of ceremonies, Ric Birch, said he had briefed the stadium's architects and engineers on the need to waterproof the northern stand to provide structural support for the cauldron tracks and the lifting mechanism.

Built into the $690 million stadium were the necessary gas, water and power supplies required for the dramatic climax.

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