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Calgary 1988 relay route IOC

Start date: 15 November 1987, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 13 February 1988, McMahon Stadium, Calgary (Canada)
First torchbearer: Stelios Bisbas, Olympic participant in athletics (1996)
Last torchbearer: Robyn Perry, a 12-year-old schoolgirl, representing the next generation of athletes.
Number of torchbearers: ~7,000 in Canada
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearer selection process was the biggest competition of its kind ever organised in Canada. Out of roughly 10 million application forms distributed, almost seven million were returned. A first group of torchbearers was created by drawing lots. The people selected were aged between 4 and 100, and came from all kinds of backgrounds. A second group of 300 torchbearers was created by special selection, and was composed of people with disabilities, First Nations representatives, athletes and officials.
Distance: 18,000 km in Canada, 11,000 km on the ground and the remaining 7,000 km by plane, helicopter and ferry.
Countries visited: Greece, Canada
Calgary 1988 Torch IOC Description: The shape of the torch was designed as a replica of the Calgary Tower. It featured the inscriptions XV Olympic Winter Games Calgary Alberta Canada 1988 and the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger). The Games emblem and the 10 sports pictograms were laser engraved on the handle.
Colour: Silver and brown
Height: 60 cm
Composition: Aluminum and wood (maple wood handle)
Fuel: Petrol, kerosene and alcohol. The burning time was around 45 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: National Research Council of Canada / Wemas Metal Products (Alberta)
Calgary 1988 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

After the lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame arrives at Andravida, where it takes off for Athens. From there, it is flown to St John’s in Newfoundland (Canada).

On 18 November 1987, the relay on Canadian soil began. The first runners were Barbara Ann Scott, a figure skating gold medallist at St Moritz in 1948, and Harry Ferdinand (Ferd) Hayward who, at Helsinki in 1952, was the first Newfoundlander to represent Canada at the Games. They ran the first kilometre together.

On 19 January 1988, the flame reached Inuvik, the most northerly point of the relay, above the Arctic Circle and in temperatures below -30 degrees.

Did you know?

  • The relay in Canada was designed so that the time spent in each province and territory was proportional to the resident population.
  • After the lighting of the copper cauldron in the McMahon Stadium during the Opening Ceremony, it was raised 12 metres in height by means of a hydraulic mechanism.
  • In addition to the main flame in the McMahon Stadium, the Olympic flame also burned at other locations in cauldrons fuelled by natural gas. The flame which burned 190 metres above the ground atop the Calgary Tower could be seen from 15 kilometres away.

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