Cauldron finally finds itself with a leg to stand on

By Deborah Charles

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The Winter Games may be nearly over, but a mime dressed in workman clothes finally pulled the missing leg of the Olympic cauldron out of the ground at BC Place on Sunday.

At the Opening Ceremony, an apparent equipment glitch left the 60,000-member audience at the indoor stadium wondering what happened when there was a long delay and eventually only three of the four arms of the cauldron emerged from trap doors on the floor of the stadium.

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky and three other Canadian athletes stood looking around then eventually lit the cauldron through the three legs. The artistic designer later said an equipment failure stopped the hydraulics from operating properly.

At the beginning of the Closing Ceremony, a spark fizzled out from the hole in the ground where the fourth arm should have emerged. A mime dressed as a clown in a plaid shirt and overalls emerged.

The crowd roared with laughter and applauded as the arm eased into place and a torchbearer finally lit the indoor cauldron -- with all four legs -- as originally planned.

(Editing by Jon Bramley)