Outside Edge: Space torches and light sabres

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The Independent Online

Russia is contemplating sending the Olympic torch into space on its journey round the globe to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Federal Space Agency, said sending the torch to the International Space Station was "theoretically possible" even though naked flames are not allowed in the orbiting laboratory.

Not to be outdone, London 2012 organisers could have stumbled upon a very British way to stage their own torch relay. Tom Clare, a 33-year-old Morris dancer and pizza delivery man from Brackley in Northants has spent eight days hopping and skipping his way from London to Norwich, following in the clogsteps of Shakespeare actor Will Kemp in 1600 (he took nine days).

He was accompanied by Jamie Pope, a unicyclist wearing a clown suit, and Adam Bacon, who was dressed as a jedi knight. Sadly, Bacon injured his Achilles and had to catch a bus. Can I have a return for the jedi?


Consecutive defeats suffered by the Caltech Beavers university basketball team before they beat Occidental 46-45 thanks to a free throw with three seconds left.

The California Institute's last victory was in 1985; none of the current players was born then. They're now looking for two on the bounce.

Drive on to runway, not fairway

Kids are scary these days, aren't they? Last week we brought you the Russians who played table tennis with a hand grenade; now Edge hears that the Ottker brothers survived playing football with a grenade they found in the garden in Weinstadt, Germany.

Meanwhile a toddler crashed a golf buggy at the Abridge Club in Essex into a helicopter as it was about to take off from neighbouring Stapleford airfield, causing thousands of pounds of damage as it went through the tail rotor. And Sasha Bennington of Burnley, whose mother used to spend £300 a month on fake nails, hair extensions and tanning to enter her in beauty pageants when she was 11, has taken up boxing three years later after being bullied at school for being "the next Jordan".

She will take part in the English amateur championships in May and has been tipped for the 2016 Olympics. But she won't be able to give you two black eyes as easily as Katie Price can.

Good week

Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, became the first sportsman to be included in Hollywood's Walk of Fame, which usually only honours film stars...

Ion Oncescu of Romania beat his own world record by arm-wrestling 520 opponents at the Baneasa Shopping Centre in Bucharest...

Jen Hilton will become the first woman to play alongside men in British American football after the 27-year-old running back was taken on by Coventry Jets.

Bad week

Sprowston Bowls Club near Norwich were told to stop giving council groundsmen tips for looking after their green in case it contravened the Bribery Act 2010...

Joel Northup, a wrestler for Linn-Mar High School in Iowa, refused to fight against Cassy Herkelman after she became the first girl to qualify for the state tournament...

Bryan Carrasco of Chile Under-20s grabbed the hand of Ecuador's Edson Montano and hit himself in the face with it to win a free-kick in a World Cup qualifier.

Fleshing out the bones of skeleton bob

Coaches are used to getting hot under the collar when it comes to officials but few go as far as Greg Pankewicz, in charge of the Colorado Eagles ice hockey team. After objecting to a linesman's tactics during a scuffle against Mississippi River Kings, he took off his tie and threw it on to the ice.

Then came his shirt, his T-shirt and his shoes. He tramped out of the arena with only his trousers and socks on and was banned for 14 games.

Perhaps he should have gone to Braunlage in Germany, where they held the Naked Sledging World Championships. They're not entirely nude – they still wear helmets and boots and, boringly, pants – but 17,000 spectators showed up to watch the 13 men and 13 women. They were selected from 400 entrants but we're not sure of the criteria – they're clearly not picked for their sleek lines.

Some body parts seem to have been heading downhill for a while.