Home > Olympism in Action > The Olympic Torch Relay > Origin, Values and Ceremonies

Origin, Values and Ceremonies Origin and Values






The Ancient Greeks considered fire to be a divine element, and they maintained perpetual
fires in front of their principal temples. This was the case in the sanctuary of Olympia, where the
Ancient Olympic Games took place. The flame was lit using the rays of the sun, to ensure its
purity, and a skaphia, the ancestor of the parabolic mirror used today for lighting the
Olympic flame. A flame burned permanently on the altar of the goddess Hestia, and such fires
were also lit on the altars of Zeus and Hera, in front of whose temple the Olympic flame is lit

In the context of the modern Games, the Olympic flame represents the positive values
that Man has always associated with fire. The purity of the flame is guaranteed by the way it is
lit using the sun‟s rays. The choice of Olympia as a departure point emphasises the link
between the Ancient and Modern Games and underlines the profound connection between
these two events.


Olympic Torch Relay Facts

Lillehammer 1994
All about Lillehammer 1994

The Olympic Flame made an impressive entry at the opening ceremony of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, carried by a ski jumper during his actual jump!