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Monday, August 7, 2000
Man snatches Olympic flame

 MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- A man snatched the Olympic flame from a torchbearer during the relay Monday and briefly ran with it before being stopped by police.

 Security staff immediately returned the torch to Linda Colcott, who completed her designated leg.

 "This guy just came out of the crowd and grabbed it," Colcott told The Associated Press. "I guess I just had time to think, 'What's going on?' I don't think (anyone) knew what was going on, really."

 The unidentified 19-year-old man jumped from the crowd as the relay was going through Frankston in southeast Melbourne. A torch relay spokeswoman said the man ran from one side of the road to the other and grabbed the torch.

 Police said they interviewed the man but he had not yet been charged with a criminal offence. A police spokesman described his actions as a prank.

 Debbie Flintoff-King, 400-metre hurdles gold medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, was the first torchbearer Monday after the flame arrived on the Australian mainland after a week on the island state of Tasmania.

 The torch landed at Uluru in central Australia in June. The relay was expected to involve 11,000 torchbearers over 100 days before arriving at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Sept. 15 to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony.
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