- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2013

A Russian carrying the Olympic flame to kick off the Sochi 2014 Winter Games fell ill, returned to his starting point — and was taken to the hospital in the throes of a heart attack.

Doctors weren’t able to save Vadim Gorbenko, 73, a sports school director and a wrestling coach, and he died at the hospital, NBC News reported.

He only carried the torch about 500 feet in his home town of Kurgan, which is in the western part of Sibera.

“He returned to the gathering place and was photographed, then he said he was not feeling well and was taken to the hospital, but the doctors were unable to save him,” said a spokesman for the Sochi 2014 torch relay, Roman Osin, to NBC. “We express our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Mr. Gorbenko had trained some of Russia’s best and most award-winning wrestlers. But he had heart troubles; Mr. Osin said in NBC he had suffered two prior heart attacks.

The carrying of the torch has been dotted by mishap so far.

The flame’s been extinguished dozens of times since President Putin first handed it off on Oct. 6. Last month, NBC reported, a torch carrier’s jacket actually caught on fire as he carted the torch through another Siberian city.