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DROP TORCH, PICK UP LOTS OF PUBLICITY

The man who made a name for himself by dropping the Olympic torch is getting more than his 15 minutes of fame.

"The phone has rung off the hook nonstop," Harley Sheffield said Wednesday. "It pretty much took up most of the day."Among the callers: National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corp., USA Today and several Seattle radio stations and one from Detroit.

On top of that, he's been booked for Monday night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

All this for snuffing out the torch.

"It's just amazing the interest this generated," Sheffield said. "I guess I'm the first to break it on a bike."

Tuesday, the 32-year-old Redmond man was riding a bicycle across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge with the torch resting in a plexiglass holder over the rear tire. The bike was traveling about 20 mph when the rear tire caught an expansion grate.

The tire blew out, and so did the Olympic flame.

"The jarring impact broke the torch," Sheffield said.

He was unhurt but disappointed. "Unfortunately," he said, "there were cameras all over the place."

A new torch lighted from the "mother flame" kept in a van pacing Sheffield was quickly brought out and the torch continued west by motorcycle.