Former Olympic swimming champion and Omega ambassador Alexander Popov also took a turn with the Torch, running in the cold through Luserna San Giovanni, not far from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Turin. Our local OMEGANEWS reporter spoke to Mr. Popov following his run with the Olympic Flame. “It’s a very special feeling to carry the Flame. It makes you feel part of the Olympic family. You share the spirit of the Olympic Games, and the atmosphere is wonderful. So you feel a lot and you feel very proud.” Asked to describe his most emotional moment at the Olympics, Mr. Popov countered that it was necesssary to keep his emotions under control and to channel his energies into his performance. “If you let yourself go and get really excited, then inevitably, you come down again, maybe too far down. It’s better to avoid extremes.” A member of the IOC Athlete’s Commission, Mr. Popov said that his job was to protect the interests of the athletes. “We all want to see the athletes perform at their best, so I try to make sure they are taken care of and have everything they need. Then, of course, it’s up to them.” In a visit to the OMEGA Pavilion, Mr. Popov toured the Olympic Exhibition, which features historic OMEGA timekeeping equipment, photographs of top athletes, posters commemorating “Great Moments in Time” and a selection of contemporary timepieces from OMEGA. Mr. Popov was particularly struck by the early OMEGA timers and photofinish cameras, and the photographs of early editions of the Olympic Winter Games. “I hadn’t seen any of this before. It’s unbelievable because you see how it all started.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
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