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Olympic torch relay scripted to the minute

Media coverage of the Olympic torch relay will follow a strict minute to minute timeline, Games organizers said Thursday evening.

“Help us make this a great event by following our directions,” VANOC spokesperson Sebastian Theberge told dozens of reporters – some from as far as Japan and the Czech Republic – under a light drizzle.

Olympics organizers outlined a detailed series of instructions to journalists hoping to film, photograph and report on the relay.

The flame will first touch down at the west side of the Victoria International Airport at 7:15 am. From then on, organizers – and journalists – have to meet a tight series of deadlines.

Originally, reporters were told the flame would cross Victoria’s harbour in a canoe at 9:20 am. But after a speedy rehearsal, that time has been moved to about 9:25 am.

It’ll be followed by a five minute ceremony on the docks, then an 11 to 12 minute walk up to the main stage in front of the Parliament buildings.

Reporters who film the canoe from a special media zone can’t walk with the flame to the stage unless they stay 50 to 80 feet in front of the march.

“We won’t let people follow the procession, that’s really important,” Theberge said. “It’s not a security issue, it’s just to manage the show.”

Organizers expect anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people to attend the torch relay ceremonies. Reporters have to be tightly managed with such a crowd, Theberge said.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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