Fourth-Place Medal, a Yahoo! Sports blog covering the Olympics

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Word is quickly spreading that the Superman's Fortress of Solitude-like Winter Olympic cauldron in the middle of BC Place malfunctioned during the Opening Ceremonies, as only three of four "ice spiers" rose as expected, making for an awkward moment in the Opening Ceremony's climactic torch-lighting pageantry.

With Canadian sports icons and torch bearers Catriona LeMay Doan (speed skater), Steve Nash (NBA), Nancy Greene (ski racer) and Wayne Gretzky (NHL) standing around the middle of the stadium, the cauldron was due to rise from the ice, accompanied by cracking sounds over the PA system.

They waited ... and waited ... and then the music accompanying the torch lighting suddenly stopped for a moment, before the spires began to rise much like the large totems did during the First Nations segment earlier in the ceremony.

In the end, three of the four towers fell into place around the glittering ice torch. As you can see from the images above and to the right, from the previously embargoed media guide given out at BC Place, this was not the plan at all.

The fans inside the stadium weren't privy to that plan and obviously didn't hear any news of the malfunction while the ceremony commenced, so the night itself wasn't affected.

But with the time, money and hours put into planning this historic evening, and with one chance to get it right, the Vancouver Olympic planners are going to take major heat for this torch snafu.

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