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Munich 1972 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

Once lit in Olympia, the flame visited Athens then crossed the country via Delphi, Larisa, Thessaloniki and Kavala. En route to Munich, the relay notably passed through Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Federal Republic of Germany and Innsbruck, Austria, cities which had hosted the Olympic Winter Games in the past.

Upon its arrival in Munich, the flame was welcomed at a reception held on the Königsplatz, attended by 20,000 spectators. The flame was taken to the Maximilianeum, headquarters of the Bavarian parliament, where it was kept in a brazier until the day of the Opening Ceremony.

At the Opening Ceremony, the last torchbearer, European Günther Zahn, was accompanied by runners from the other four continents: Kipchoge Keino (Africa), Jim Ryun (America), Kenji Kimihara (Asia) and Derek Clayton (Oceania).

A flame was lit from the principal one to be taken on a relay from Munich to Kiel, where the sailing events were held. This two-day relay covered 933 km and saw the participation of 1,280 torchbearers on foot, 90 cyclists and 34 horse riders.

On 27 August, the day after the Opening Ceremony, a flame was also lit and taken on a 104 km relay from Munich to Augsburg, where the canoe events were being held.

Innsbruck 1976 Relay route IOC

Start date: 28 July 1972, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 26 August 1972, Olympic Stadium, Munich, (Federal Republic of Germany)
First torchbearer: Yiannis Kirkilessis. He was also the first torchbearer in Greece for the relay of the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo.
Last torchbearer: Günther Zahn
Number of torchbearers: ~6,200 (Munich-Kiel and Munich-Augsburg relays excluded) of which ~1,300 were in Greece.
Recruitment of torchbearers: The German NOC delegated this task to local sport organizations in Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Schleswig- Holstein.
Distance: 5,532 km (Munich-Kiel and Munich-Augsburg relays excluded)
1,819 km in Greece, 507 km in Turkey, 726 km in Bulgaria, 763 km in Romania, 340 km in Yugoslavia, 379 km in Hungary, 541 km in Austria, 457 km in Federal Republic of Germany.
Countries visited: Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Federal Republic of Germany.
Munich 1972 Torch IOC Description: The torch bears the inscription Spiele der XX Olympiad München 1972 and the Olympic rings on its handle. On a platform at the base of the combustion tube is the emblem of the Games.
Colour: Silver
Height: 72 cm
Composition: Metal, steel
Fuel: Liquid gas composed of 24% propane and 76% butane, contained in an aluminium cartridge. The combustion duration is 15 to 22 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Friedrich Krupp AG / Olympiagas, Hagri
Did you know?
  • The Krupp company also produced the torch for the Berlin 1936 Games.
  • Two pilot lights were produced. They are fed by propane gas and can burn uninterrupted for at least six weeks.

Did You Know?

  • So that the flame could travel the distance from Munich to Kiel in exactly 49 hours, all of the torchbearers were requested, whether they were on foot, on a bike, on horseback, motorcycle or in a rowing boat, to go at their maximum speed and to continue the relay both day and night.
  • The cauldron for this edition of the Games was formed by a burner made up of two concentric rings of fire each with 21 gas jets. Two metres in diameter, the burner was set on a four-metre-high column made of pipe. Two years of development were necessary for the realisation of the cauldron.

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