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Moscow 1980 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

After the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame was relayed night and day for a week across Greece. The relay in Bulgaria lasted six days, passing by the country’s main historical and cultural monuments. During its passage through the city of Lovesh, the torch was taken to the residence of Georgi Ivanov, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut. The route through Romania went over the Friendship Bridge, which linked Bulgaria and Romania. Wrestler Dimitru Pirvulescu, a gold medallist in Rome in 1960, was the first Romanian torchbearer.

In Romania, the relay covered 89 cities and villages. In Bucharest, 40,000 people welcomed the flame in the Dynamo Stadium for the first stage of the relay in the country.

On 5 July, the flame arrived in the Soviet Union. It was handed to Soviet athletes on the bridge that separated Romania and the Soviet Union near the Moldovan village of Leuşeni.

On 18 July, the flame entered Moscow. An official ceremony was organised for the occasion on Sovietskaya Square where a cauldron was lit. From this cauldron other torches were lit on 20 July and taken by special railcars to the cities of Tallinn, Leningrad, Minsk and Kiev who were also hosting certain of the sports events.

Albertville 1992 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

The aim was to cover as much of France as possible by passing through all the regional capitals. Particular focus was placed on the areas with the biggest population and Savoie, which was hosting the Games. The 57 days of the relay in France echoed the 57 events at the Winter Games in Albertville.

On 14 December 1991, the flame landed in Paris aboard a supersonic Concorde coming from Athens. The first torchbearer on French soil was Catherine Marsall, world cycling champion in 1990. In the evening, the flame reached the Champs-Elysées, where it was carried to the applause of the 200,000 people watching.

On 28 December, in Normandy, between Le Havre and Rouen, the flame stopped at the Château de Mirville. A ceremony attended by almost 1,500 people including various personalities was organised in tribute to Pierre de Coubertin, who lived there for part of his childhood.

Coinciding with the 100-days-to-go mark on 1 November 2017, and following the lighting of the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece, one week earlier, the Olympic flame will arrive in the city of Incheon. The Olympic flame will then spend 101 days making its way around 17 cities and provinces across the Republic of Korea, shining a spotlight on the nation’s culture, technological prowess and landmarks, and enabling people across the host country to share in the excitement of the Olympic Torch Relay.

A total of 7,500 torchbearers will take part in the Olympic Torch Relay. To accompany the relay, a fun programme of events and activities will be staged each evening in the cities along the route. The identity of the final torchbearer, who will have the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron, will only be revealed on 9 February, the day of the Opening Ceremony for PyeongChang 2018.

The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay will inspire a generation and bring people together from different cultures, races, and religions,” promised POCOG President Lee Hee-beom. “As the torchbearers carry the torch for 101 days, we are confident that the flame will truly ‘Let Everyone Shine’ and spark passion and excitement before the Games.

Route design and details

The general route of the Relay is planned as follows:

  • From 24 October 2017 in Greece, starting with the traditional flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia.
  • 1 November 2017 the Olympic flame will arrive in the city of Incheon.
  • 9 February: lighting of the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Games
PyeongChang 2018
Seoul 1988 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

After the lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame travelled across Greece for three days and two nights to arrive in Athens. From there, following a stopover in Bangkok, it travelled to the Korean island of Cheju-do, which it reached on 27 August.

On Cheju Island, two young pupils from Cheju school, a boy and a girl, marked the start of the next stage of the relay, which crossed the island clockwise. On 28 August, the flame set sail on board the Olympia 88 for Busan, where a cauldron was lit in Yongdusan Park. The following day, the main relay continued. The cauldron remained lit in the Park until 12 September when a secondary relay of 18.2 km took the flame to the city’s sailing club, where the sailing events were being hosted.

The main relay crossed the country from east to west, to symbolise harmony. In Kangnung, 12 young mothers carried the flame while pushing their children, all born in 1988.

On 16 September, the flame arrived in Seoul. It was taken to the City Hall, where it was received by the Mayor of the city. On the day of the Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried into the stadium by Kee Chung Sohn, the legendary marathon winner of the 1936 Games, then participating under the name Kitei Son. Then, young sprinter Chun-Ae Im passed the flame to the last three torchbearers, who lit the cauldron together.

Innsbruck 1976 Relay route IOC

Start date: 30 January 1976, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 4 February 1976, Bergisel Stadium, Innsbruck (Austria)
First torchbearer: Spyros Tzavaras
Last torchbearers:
  • Christl Haas, Olympic participant in alpine skiing (1964, 1968), gold medallist in Innsbruck 1964 and bronze medallist in Grenoble 1968.
  • Josef Feistmantl, Olympic participant in luge (1964, 1968, 1972), gold medallist in Innsbruck 1964.
Number of torchbearers: -
Recruitment of torchbearers: This was organised by the Landessportverbände, the regional sports clubs association, and the Austrian army
Distance: 1,618 km over two routes in Austria: 867 km for the north route and 751 km for the south route.
Countries visited: Greece, Austria
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.

Beijing 2008 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

Once lit in Olympia, the flame reached Athens, where it was passed on to representatives of the Beijing Games Organising Committee on 30 March 2008 in the Panathenaic Stadium. On 31 March, the flame landed in Beijing. From there, it continued its journey around the world, which took it to 19 cities on the five continents before reaching Hong Kong, then Macao and, finally, Mainland China.

Part of the path of the relay was inspired by the Silk Road, with some of the cities crossed located on this ancient network of commercial roads between Asia and Europe. In addition to travelling to all the continents, the organisers’ aim was to circulate the Olympic flame widely in Asia within the framework of the international relay.

In Mainland China, the relay crossed 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. It began on 4 May in Sanya, in the province of Hainan, with five-time Olympic speed skating medallist Yang Yang (A) as the first torchbearer. Arriving in Hangzhou on 18 May, the relay took a break of three days between the 19th and 21st of May to mark the national mourning for the victims of the dramatic earthquake which had struck the province of Sichuan a few days before, on 12 May. The organisers also decided to modify the relay route so that the flame visited the province of Sichuan at the end of its journey. Originally planned between 15 and 18 June, the journey through the ravaged province finally took place between 3 and 5 August, just before the flame reached Beijing.

On the morning of 6 August, the flame reached Beijing and travelled for three days through the capital. On 8 August, at the Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried by relay to the Stadium by seven famous Chinese athletes, one after the other: Haifeng Xu, Min Gao, Xiaoshuang Li, Xugang Zhan, Jun Zhang, Zhong Chen and Jinfang Sun. The torch was then entrusted to Ning Li, a six-time medallist in gymnastics at the Los Angeles 1984 Games. Lifted by cables, Ning Li took flight and moved in the air doing a lap along the edge of the Stadium roof, until he reached the cauldron, which he finally lit.

Lighting of the Olympic Flame, Ancient Olympia Getty Images

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 today.

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.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Getty

Route design and details

In Brazil, the Relay route went through the five regions of the country and took in some of the most impressive features, like the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, the beaches of Bahia and the Iguaçu Falls. Lasting 95 days, the Relay followed the Olympic flame within the reach of 90% of the population, visiting more than 300 cities and towns.

The general route of the Relay was planned as follows:

  • From 21 to 27 April in Greece, starting with the traditional flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia, and ending at the Panathenaic Stadium with a ceremony to hand the flame over to the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
  • Until 2 May: visit of the flame in Geneva and at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • 3 May: arrival of the flame in Brasilia and start of the Brazilian section of the Relay.
  • 5 August: lighting of the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Games at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio.
Mexico 1968 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

The relay symbolised the link between the Mediterranean and American civilisations and retraced the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World. It evoked the events and places associated with this voyage, notably travelling through the three key places of Genoa, the birthplace of Columbus; Palos in Spain, from where he set sail; and San Salvador, the first land he reached on the other side of the Atlantic.

After its lighting in Olympia, the flame travelled by relay in Greece to Athens, from where it set sail for Italy on 25 August.

The 27th of August, the flame disembarked in Genoa, Italy where a ceremony was held in front of the house where Christophe Columbus had lived. It left the next day, again by sea, for Spain.

The 30th of August, the flame reached Barcelona, the city where Columbus had arrived on his return from America. On land, it travelled across Spain via Madrid to Palos. The last relay leg was run by Cristóbal Colón Carbajal, a direct descendant of Christopher Columbus.

The flame left the south coast of Spain on 12 September, reaching the Canary Islands on 14 September and, a fortnight later, San Salvador, Bahamas in the same place that Columbus landed in the New World in 1492.

The 6th of October, the flame disembarked in Veracruz in Mexico, transported by a relay of 17 swimmers who carried it to the shore. It was then brought to Teotihuacan, 38 km from Mexico City. There, on the evening of 11 October, under the watchful eye of 50,000 spectators, a majestic ceremony symbolising the fusion of mythologies from the Old and New Worlds took place on the site of pre-Columbian pyramids.

When the flame arrived in Mexico City on the morning of the Opening Ceremony on 12 October two torches were lit from it. One torch was taken to the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the Cultural Olympiad sites. A second torch was taken by plane to the site of the sailing competitions in Acapulco. In both places a cauldron was lit and kept burning for the duration of the Games.

Lillehammer 1994 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

After the lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame is flown to various German cities: Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Esslingen, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf, Winterberg, Herne, Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, Grefrath and Hamburg. It also goes to Cologne University, where a cauldron is lit in honour of Carl Diem, the Secretary General of the 1936 Games Organising Committee and the initiator of the torch relay. The journey continues via Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo and, finally, Lillehammer.

At the Opening Ceremony, Stein Gruben astounded those watching by jumping from the ski jump while holding the torch. He took the place of the intended torchbearer Ole Gunnar Fidjestol, who had injured himself during rehearsals.

Atlanta 1996 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

After the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia and its relay across Greece, the flame arrived in Athens on 6 April. To mark the Centennial of the Games, a special celebration was organised in the Panathenaic Stadium. Representatives of the 17 cities that had hosted the Summer Games before Atlanta were present. Each of them received a safety lamp, whose flame was lit from a main torch. During the next 21 days, these flames were celebrated in each of the former host cities, while the main flame burned in Athens. These flames were extinguished when the main flame left Athens to fly to Los Angeles.

On 27 April, the flame arrived in Los Angeles. The relay on American soil began at the Memorial Coliseum, the Stadium that hosted the Los Angeles Games in 1932 and 1984. The first torchbearer was Olympian Rafer Johnson, the last torchbearer of the 1984 Games. The relay notably passed through St Louis, host city of the Olympic Games in 1904.

On 19 July, the flame reached the city of Atlanta. In order to honour the origins of the modern Olympic Games, Evander Holyfield, originally from Atlanta, shared the torch with Greek athlete Voula Patoulidou for part of the leg in the Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. Swimmer Janet Evans took over the relay, doing a lap of the track before heading for a long ramp located at the top of the extreme north of the Stadium. She passed the torch to Muhammad Ali, who had the honour of lighting the cauldron.

Turin 2006 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

After being lit in Olympia, the flame is relayed to Athens and flown to Rome, where the Italian leg of the relay begins. It included parts in the neighbouring countries, including the former Olympic Winter Games host cities of Albertville and Grenoble in France.

The relay on Italian soil got under way at the Piazza del Quirinale. Stefano Baldini, the marathon Olympic gold medallist in Athens in 2004, was the first torchbearer. The flame then travelled around Italy, passing in particular through the two cities which had already hosted the Games: Cortina d’Ampezzo and Rome.

When the flame stopped in Cortina d’Ampezzo, it was exactly 50 years to the day after the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in 1956.

The final part of the relay honoured some of Italy’s sporting heroes. First, it was three-time Olympic skiing champion Alberto Tomba who had the privilege to carry the Olympic flame into the stadium, then to hand it to the four men who had made up the Italian 4x10km cross-country skiing relay team which won gold in Lillehammer in 1994. They covered part of the stadium before handing the flame to Piero Gros, an Alpine skiing gold medallist at the Games in 1976, who was followed by the penultimate torchbearer Deborah Compagnoni, three-time Olympic Alpine skiing champion in 1992, 1994 and 1998. She passed the flame to Stefania Belmondo, an Italian Nordic skiing legend, who lit the 57 meters high cauldron, the tallest in the history of the Games.

Salt Lake City 2002 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

To promote the Games among the largest number of people possible in the United States, the relay passed through over 300 towns and villages in 46 states. The route included the previous Games host cities, Atlanta, Lake Placid, St Louis, Los Angeles and Squaw Valley.

On 4 December 2001, after leaving Athens the previous day, the flame landed in Atlanta. At the Centennial Olympic Park, Muhammad Ali, who lit the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, lit the first torch on American soil. The former boxer then handed it to Peggy Fleming, the figure skating Olympic gold medallist at Grenoble in 1968. She ran the first leg of the relay with her coach Robert Paul, who had won the figure skating gold medal at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley.

On 8 February 2002, at the Opening Ceremony, for the first time in Olympic history, an entire team, the winning US men’s ice hockey team from the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, lit the Olympic cauldron.

Moscow 1980 Relay route IOC

Start date: 19 June 1980, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 19 July 1980, Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, Moscow (Soviet Union).
First torchbearer: Thanassis Kosmopoulos
Last torchbearer: Sergei Belov, Olympic participant in basketball (1968, 1972, 1976, 1980), gold medallist in Munich 1972 and bronze medallist in Mexico 1968, Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980.
Number of torchbearers: ~5,435. ~800 in Greece, 935 in Bulgaria, ~700 in Romania and ~3,000 in the Soviet Union.
Recruitment of torchbearers: Generally, the torchbearers were chosen by sports and public organisations. The basic criteria for those that were considered was that they should have a personal sporting achievement to their name, be able to run 1,000 metres in under five minutes, have made a contribution to a sports organisation and had medical authorisation. In the Soviet Union, for example, the Moscow 1980 Games Organising Committee and the persons in charge of sports societies of the Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovian Socialist Republics launched a competition to choose the torchbearers. 1.5 million people took part, with 3,000 people selected in the end.
Distance: 5,000 km (transport from Moscow to Tallinn, Leningrad, Minsk and Kiev excluded). 1,170 km in Greece, 935 km in Bulgaria, 593 km in Romania and 2,302 km in the Soviet Union.
Countries visited: Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Soviet Union
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.

Albertville 1992 Relay route IOC

Start date: 13 December 1991, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 8 February 1992, the Ceremonial Stadium, Albertville (France)
First torchbearer: Athanassios “Thanassis” Tsakiris, Olympic participant in biathlon (1992, 1994, 1998, 2010) and cross country skiing (1988, 1992).
Last torchbearers: Michel Platini, Olympic participant in football (1976) and François-Cyrille Grange.
Number of torchbearers: ~5,500 in France
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers had to be aged between 15 and 20. The organisers received 100,000 applications from all over France. Lots were drawn to choose the torchbearers.
Distance: ~5,700 km in France
Countries visited: Greece, France
Barcelona 1992 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

After the lighting ceremony in Olympia and a relay across Greece, the flame reached Athens, which it left on 9 June on board the Cataluña frigate.

On 13 June, the flame reached the Catalan coast in Empúries, a former Greek colony founded in around 600BC. It was welcomed by about 1,000 different boats and a crowd of 5,000 people who waited for it on the shore. It reached the coast in a typical Catalan boat, propelled by 10 rowers.

From Empúries, the relay travelled at first to Catalonia and then the rest of Spain. The relay passed through 652 localities, including the capitals of each of the 17 autonomous communities and the various Olympic sites. The route also included the Canary Islands, reached by plane. The crossing between Tenerife and Las Palmas was made by hydrofoil. On its approach to Barcelona, the relay travelled to the Balearics by boat.

On 24 June, the flame reached Barcelona and travelled through the city the whole night surrounded by an excited crowd. The following day, the last stage took it to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony, where Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo ignited the cauldron by shooting an arrow lit from the Olympic flame.

Seoul 1988 Relay route IOC

Start date: 23 August 1988, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 17 September 1988, Olympic Stadium, Seoul (Republic of Korea)
First torchbearer: Athanassios “Thanassis” Kalogiannis, Olympic participant in athletics (1984, 1992).
Last torchbearers: Won-Tak Kim, Olympic participant in athletics (1988), Sun-Man Chung and Mi-Chung Sohn.
Number of torchbearers: 380 in Greece, 1,467 in the Republic of Korea
Recruitment of torchbearers: The Organising Committee chose torchbearers who lived in the cities crossed by the relay. Additionally, they also chose foreigners and Koreans living abroad based on the aim of promoting the relay internationally. 37,011 candidatures were received in total.
Among the torchbearers, there were celebrities, athletes, artists, people who had contributed to the development of the community, people with a disability, children, elderly people, religious people and representatives of various professions.
Distance: 358 km in Greece, 4,168 km in the Republic of Korea, of which 1,414 km was on foot, 2,188 km was by car, 493 km by boat, ~60 km by bike, ~5 km by motorbike and 7 km on horseback.
Countries visited: Greece, Thailand, Republic of Korea
Sarajevo 1984 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

After being lit in Olympia, the flame is taken by car and plane to Athens via Andravida, from where it takes off for Dubrovnik.

On 30 January 1984, the first torchbearer on Yugoslav soil was Veselin Djuho, a member of the Yugoslav water polo team which won gold in Los Angeles in 1984 and at Seoul in 1988.

A second flame was lit from the original flame, and the relay split into two parts between Dubrovnik and Sarajevo, one going through the east of the country and the other through the western part.

A total of 89 local Olympic torch relays were organised with a view to promoting Olympism as widely as possible. The torches used for these relays were lit from the main flame and taken to winter sports resorts and sports centres in the region. These local relays involved 7,500 people.

Innsbruck 1976 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

The flame is taken by car from Olympia to Athens and is then flown to Vienna.

The torch relay route split in two at Vienna, one heading north and the other heading for the southern part of the country. Three days before the Opening Ceremony, the two routes joined at Innsbruck. The flame was kept in the Maximilian Saal of the Goldenen Dachl, as in 1964, until the Opening Ceremony on 4 February.

To allow as many people as possible to see the flame, it was transported for some 1,500 kilometres on the roof of a car fitted with a glass dome specially designed for this purpose.

Squaw Valley 1960 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

As for the 1952 Winter Games in Oslo, it was a “symbolic Nordic” flame lit in Morgedal in Norway in the hearth of the house where Sondre Norheim, the pioneer of modern skiing, was born.

The flame was originally to have been lit in Olympia. However, the Hellenic Olympic Committee, informed a month before the Games, did not have enough time to organise a lighting ceremony. Instead, the Organising Committee looked to Norway.

After being transported by car to Copenhagen via Oslo, the flame is flown to Los Angeles. From there, the relay takes it through California to Squaw Valley.

On the day of the Opening Ceremony, the torch was carried by American skier Andrea Mead Lawrence. She was accompaned by eight members of the National Ski Patrol. The flame was passed to the last torchbearer, skater Kenneth Charles Henry, who did a lap of the ice in front of the Blyth Memorial Arena before lighting the cauldron in which the flame would burn throughout the Games.

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

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Getty

Start date: 21 April 2016, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 5 August 2016, Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
First torchbearer: Eleftherios “Lefteris” Petrounias
Last torchbearers: -
Number of torchbearers: ~450 in Greece, ~12,000 in Brazil
Recruitment of torchbearers: In Brazil, the torchbearers must be residents of the country. They are recommended by the general public as “everyday heroes” who represent the best of Brazil and who make a difference in their community. The nomination process is run by the Organising Committee and the firms partnering the Relay: Coca-Cola, Nissan and Bradesco.
Distance: ~2,235km in Greece, 36,000km in Brazil (20,000 by road and 16,000 by air)
Countries visited: Greece, Switzerland and Brazil
Cortina Ampezzo 1956 Torch IOC

Route design and details

Strictly speaking, the flame was not “Olympic”, as it was lit in Rome rather than at Olympia in Greece.

On 22 January 1956, the flame was lit on the steps of the Temple of Capitoline Jove in Rome, in a tripod from Olympia. It was carried in a brasero to the top of the steps outside the Senatorial Palace. The first torchbearer set off from there.The flame arrives at Ciampino airport and takes off for Venice.

From Venice, the flame travels by gondola to Mestre. From Mestre, the first stage of the relay taking it to Cortina is covered on roller skates.

On 25 January, the day before the Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried by skiers from Zuel, near Cortina, up to the Duca d’Aosta refuge, situated at 2,098m, where it spent the night.

On 26 January, the day the Games were opened, 1952 Olympic Winter gold medallist Zeno Colò carried the flame by skis to Cortina. Rockets were used to illuminate the flame’s path along the valley. In Cortina, two other Olympians, Severino Menardi and Enrico Colli, took it in turns to carry the flame to the stadium. Once there, speed skater Guido Caroli skated with it into the packed Ice Stadium. The television cables he tripped over during his lap of the track did not prevent him from lighting the cauldron.

Sapporo 1972 Torch IOC

Route design and details

From Olympia, where it is lit, the flame is taken by car to Athens, from where it is flown to Japan.

On 30 December 1971, the torch arrived at Okinawa Island, where a 60-km relay took place around the island the following day.

On 1 January 1972, the flame reached Tokyo. A ceremony was held at the National Stadium.

On Japanese soil, the flame was taken first to Nirasaki. There, it was split in two and followed two routes up the island of Honshu, one on the east coast the other on the west coast, meeting at Aomori in the north of the island. Once on the island of Hokkaido after crossing the Tsugaru Strait, the flame split in three, passing through the cities of Hakodate, Kushiro and Wakkanai before reaching Sapporo.

On 29 January, the three flames reached Sapporo.

On 30 January, the three flames were reunited at a ceremony attended by IOC President Avery Brundage. The flame was then taken to the City Hall square.

On 3 February, the flame was taken to the Opening Ceremony. Skater Izumi Tsujimura passed it to Hideki Takada, who lit the cauldron.

Athens 2004 Relay route IOC

Start date: 25 March 2004, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 13 August 2004, Olympic Stadium, Athens (Greece)
First torchbearer: Kostas Gatsioudis, Olympic participant in athletics (1996, 2000)
Last torchbearer: Nikolaos Kaklamanakis, Olympic participant in sailing (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008), gold medallist in Atlanta 1996 and silver medallist in Athens in 2004.
Number of torchbearers: ~7,700 in Greece, ~3,600 for the international relay
Recruitment of torchbearers: The selection criteria for the torchbearers was based on choosing people who played an important role in their communities through sport, education and culture, who inspired others and who embodied the values of the Olympic Games and the ideals of the Olympic Movement.
Distance: 6,600 km in Greece of which 2,500 km was on foot, 2,800 km by convoy and 1,300 km by helicopter. 78,000 km by land, sea and air for the international relay.
Countries visited: Greece, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China, India, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, United States, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus.
London 2012 Torch relay Getty Images

Route design and details

After the lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame embarked on an eight-day journey across Greece, travelling to Crete and the north of the country via Thessaloniki, Xanthi and Larissa, before arriving on 17 May in Athens to be officially handed over to the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games in London.

The flame then flew to the United Kingdom, where it arrived on 18 May. The British relay began the following day in Land’s End in Cornwall, with Ben Ainslie, triple Olympic champion in sailing from Britain as the first runner. The relay route was designed so that 95 per cent of the population of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey would be a maximum of one hour from the route travelled by the flame. The flame stopped off in Much Wenlock, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, the White Cliffs of Dover, Orkney and the Channel Islands.

On 21 July, the flame entered the city of London in spectacular fashion. Indeed, it was flown in by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter. Hovering 20 m above Tower Wharf, a Royal Marine Commando abseiled from the helicopter, carrying the flame in a lantern attached to him. The flame then travelled some 300 km over the week in the British capital and was carried by 982 torchbearers, passing by the city’s most famous monuments.

On the day of the Opening Ceremony, the flame was transported from Tower Bridge to the Stadium by speedboat, carried by footballer David Beckham and young female footballer Jade Bailey. They passed the flame on to Steve Redgrave, a five-time Olympic gold medallist in rowing. Then, in order to symbolise the passing of the Olympic flame to the young generation, seven young athletes aged 16 to 19 had the honour of lighting the cauldron.

Beijing 2008 Relay route IOC

Start date: 24 March 2008, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 8 August 2008, National Stadium, Beijing (People’s Republic of China)
First torchbearer: Alexandros Nikolaidis, Olympic participant in taekwondo (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), silver medallist in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
Last torchbearers: Ning Li, Olympic participant in gymnastics (1984, 1988), three-time gold medallist, two-time silver and one-time bronze medallist in Los Angeles 1984.
Number of torchbearers: 21,800 in total of which ~630 were in Greece
Recruitment of torchbearers: According to the principles of the recruitment programme communicated by the Organisers, the selection of torchbearers aimed to be representative of all social backgrounds. It was carried out through the following entities: the governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of the People’s Republic of China; the Chinese Olympic Committee; the official partners of the torch relay and sponsors of the Games; the Olympic family; the cities of countries crossed by the international relay; the Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG). Each entity chose its torchbearers through a public and/or internal process.
Distance: 137,000 km in total, of which 1,528 km was in Greece and 97,000 km in continental China.
Countries visited: Greece, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, France, United States, Argentina, Tanzania, Oman, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Vietnam, People’s Republic of China.
Rome 1960 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

The relay highlighted Athens and Rome, the two poles of classical civilisation. In order to recall the relationship between the ancient and modern Games, it passed through numerous ancient sites and birthplaces of athletes who excelled at the ancient Olympic Games.

Notably, the relay travelled through the coastal region of Italy in the south, known in Antiquity as Great Greece (Magna Graecia), where Greek colonies such as Metapontum and Tarento were located.v

13 August 1960: After a relay in Greece via Pyrgos, Patras, Corinth, Megara and Eleusis, the flame reached Athens at the end of the day. The same evening it set sail on the Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian navy training ship.

18 August: The flame reached Italian soil in Syracuse near the Arethusa fountain, a monument that refers to an ancient legend. En route for Rome, a flame was left in Naples, where the sailing competitions were held, and in Castel Gandolfo, host of the rowing and canoe events.

24 August: The relay entered the province of Rome on the Via Appia Nuova. That evening, the flame was welcomed with great pomp on the Capitoline Hill where it spent the night and, the next day it was taken to the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

Stockholm 1956 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

With the exception of the Opening Ceremony, in Denmark and Sweden, the relay took place entirely on horseback as a reminder that only the equestrian events were being staged in Stockholm.

The flame was lit in Olympia then relayed to Athens. It then flew to Kastrup airport, near Copenhagen, where a relay was staged to the capital. It then headed for Malmö in Sweden. There it was carried into the city. It continued its journey to Sörentorp and finally to Stockholm.

At the Opening Ceremony, Swedish cavalry captain Hans Wilkne entered the Stadium at a gallop, saluted the King, the IOC members and the Games participants, and lit the cauldron, which burned throughout the Games. The flame was then passed to Karin Lindberg, a gold medallist in gymnastics in Helsinki in 1952, who then passed on part of the flame to Swedish runner and gold medallist in the 1,500 metres at the London 1948 Games, Henry Eriksson. Both ran, torch in hand, around the Stadium forming the shape of a horse shoe, one on each side, to arrive at the two towers and light the summit of each with a flame.

Sydney 2000 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

Lit in Olympia, the flame was carried by relay for about 10 days in Greece.

The relay then visited 12 island countries and territories of Oceania, beginning with Guam, where the flame landed on 22 May. Due to political tension, the Organising Committee cancelled the originally scheduled Fiji stop between Tonga and New Zealand. In New Zealand, the last leg before Australia kicked off on 5 June in the snow of Coronet Peak, Queenstown on the South Island. It ended on 7 June in Auckland, on the North Island.

On 8 June, the flame reached Yulara in Australia and the relay began near the sacred rock of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. Nova Peris-Kneebone, a hockey gold medallist at the Atlanta 1996 Games, ran barefoot in the first leg of the relay on Australian soil as a mark of respect for the Aboriginal people, of whom she was one.

The flame travelled the country for 100 days in passing through over 1,000 towns and suburbs. Modes of transport included a section on camel back in Broome, a railway journey across the Nullarbor Plain on board the Indian Pacific and a trip by surfboat in the rollers of Bondi Beach in Sydney.

On 15 September, during the Games Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried into the Stadium by Betty Cuthbert who sat in a wheelchair, pushed by Raelene Boyle. Then, in turn, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland, Shane Gould and Debbie Flintoff-King relayed the flame to Cathy Freeman. Freeman climbed a series of steps, positioning herself at the centre of a shallow circular pool and stood level with the water to light the 150 burner nozzles placed just below it. A circle of fire surrounded the athlete before the whole cauldron was raised to the top of the Stadium where it burned for the duration of the Games.

Tokyo 1964 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

After the flame was lit in Olympia and had been carried by relay to Athens, the flame took to the air on 23 August 1964 to travel via Istanbul, Beirut, Tehran, Lahore, New Delhi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Hong Kong and Taipei, cities in each of which a relay took place.

At the request of the Nepalese Olympic Committee, when the relay stopped off in New Delhi, a second flame was lit from the main flame and from there was taken to Kathmandu, where a ceremony took place. The flame was then transported by plane to Calcutta where it was reunited with the main flame.

On 7 September, the flame landed on the island of Okinawa. The first runner was Isamu Miyagi, who carried the torch to the Okutakeyama Stadium, where a welcome ceremony was held. To make up the delay owing to a typhoon in Hong Kong, a part of the flame was sent to the Japanese mainland in Kagoshima on 9 September, while the Okinawa relay continued. On 11 September, the two flames were once again reunited in Fukuoka.

The flame crossed Japan by taking four different paths, leaving respectively for Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Chitose and Aomori. From Chitose, the flame travelled to the prefecture of Aomori, where the route split into two: one headed for the south towards the Sea of Japan, and the other also went southwards but on the Pacific Ocean side.

On 9 October in Tokyo, in the square outside the Imperial Palace, the four flames were reunited in one cauldron on the occasion of a ceremony.

On the following day, the final relay stage during which the route went from the Imperial Palace to the National Stadium, the flame was carried by five men and two women before being handed to the final runner, Yoshinori Sakai, at the Opening Ceremony. He climbed the 163 steps that led up to the cauldron and lit it exactly three hours and three seconds after noon.

Vancouver 2010 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

After being lit in Olympia, the flame is relayed throughout Greece, from where it is flown to Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) from Athens. The relay passed through every Canadian province and territory, and included Montreal and Calgary, host cities of the Games in 1976 and 1988.

On 30 October 2009, the flame landed at Victoria in Canada. Two Olympic medallists, Catriona le May Doan and Simon Whitfield, ran the first leg of the relay together.

On 8 November, the flame arrived by air in Alert in the territory of Nunavut, the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, 817 km from the North Pole.

On 9 February 2010, to honour the friendship between the two countries, the flame briefly entered the Unied States at the Peace Arc border crossing between the state of Washington (United States) and British Columbia (Canada). On 12 February, at the Opening Ceremony, although a technical problem prevented one of the four arms of the cauldron from rising up, the cauldron was still successfully lit by the torchbearers standing by the other arms: Nancy Greene Raine, Wayne Gretzky and Steve Nash. However, Catriona Le May Doan got her chance when she alone relit the cauldron during the Closing Ceremony via the fourth arm, which was working then.

London 1948 Torch IOC

Route design and details

To recall the truce during the ancient Games, the first torchbearer, soldier Konstantinos Dimitrelis, symbolically removed his uniform, put down his weapons and began the relay in sportswear.

Owing the Civil War in Greece, the relay initially planned from Olympia to Athens was cancelled and diverted to Katakolon, on the coast near Olympia. From there, the flame sailed to Italy, via the island of Corfu, where a relay was also held.

24 July 1948: In Lausanne, the relay stopped off at the Bois de Vaux cemetery, where the grave of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, is located.

The flame reached England on 28 July at Dover and arrived at Wembley Stadium the following day, during the Opening Ceremony, during which the cauldron was lit.

The day after the Opening Ceremony, a flame was lit from the cauldron in Wembley Stadium, and a 330-km relay involving 107 runners kicked off, heading to the town of Torquay, where another cauldron was lit and burned during the sailing events.

Berlin 1936 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

In May 1934, the International Olympic Committee gave its approval to the idea of transporting a flame from Greece to Berlin. The idea came from Carl Diem, Secretary General of the Organising Committee of the Games of the XI Olympiad.

The route passed through the capitals of each of the countries visited.

On 20 July 1936 in Olympia, for this first Olympic torch relay, it was already a parabolic mirror which concentrated the rays of the sun that was used to light the flame. In attendance, Baron Pierre de Coubertin gave a message to the torchbearers, wishing them an enjoyable run. At the same time as the ceremony in Olympia, festivities were also staged in front of the Town Hall in Berlin.

Along the flame’s route to Berlin, ceremonies and festivities were held in its honour in the stopover cities. In Athens, for example, a ceremony attended by the King was held in the Panathenaic Stadium, a sports arena that was used for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. In Budapest, it was on Heroes’ Square, in front of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, that the flame was celebrated. The relay reached Berlin on 1 August 1936. Before joining the Opening Ceremony, the flame was used to light a cauldron that burned for the whole of the Games in the Lustgarten, in the city centre.

On 2 August, a flame was lit from that in the Olympic Stadium. It arrived in Kiel the next day, following a relay of 347 km with 347 torchbearers. It burned on a boat in the city’s bay, where the sailing events were held.

On 7 August, another flame was lit from the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium and carried to Grünau, the site of the rowing and canoe events. One hundred and ninety one groups of runners consisting of one torchbearer and two supporters each ran one after the other over 37 km.

Oslo 1952 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

The flame was “symbolic” rather than “Olympic”, as it was not lit at Olympia. The route of the relay was designed to commemorate the origins of skiing.

It was at the house of Sondre Norheim, a Norwegian skiing legend of the 19th century, that Olav Bjaaland, one of the members of the 1911 South Pole expedition, kindled at Morgedal (county of Telemark) a “symbolic Nordic” flame. This was a way of recalling that torches had long been used in Norway to allow skiers to see their way in the dark. In addition, the county of Telemark, and Morgedal in particular, were regarded as the cradle of slalom and ski jumping. Indeed, some of the great names in Norwegian skiing had come from there, like the Svalastoga and Hemmestveit brothers. The latter had created the world’s first ski school, in Oslo. Modern competition skis are also based on the skis from Telemark.

On the same day, the torch was carried to the monument to Sondre Norheim in Morgedal. The next day, it was taken to the house of Birger Ruud, a famous Norwegian skier; and on the following day to the Huseby hill, a former competition venue west of Oslo.

At the Opening Ceremony, the last torchbearer, Eigil Nansen, carried the torch around the Bislett Stadium on skis before removing them and climbing the stairs to light the cauldron, where the flame would burn throughout the Games.

Helsinki 1952 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

From Olympia, the flame was carried on foot to Athens. It flew to Aalborg, Denmark with two stops in Munich and Düsseldorf, Germany. In Denmark, Sweden and Finland, it was carried on foot and by other modes of transport.

4 July 1952: The flame reached Stockholm and entered the Olympic Stadium of the 1912 Games where it burned throughout the night.

17 July: The flame reached the city of Hämeenlinna, Finland, the site of the modern pentathlon events of the 1952 Games. From the Town Hall, it moved to the competition venue and burned there throughout the event.

19 July: At the Opening Ceremony, Paavo Nurmi, the famous runner who won nine gold medals and three silver medals at three Summer Olympic Games (1920, 1924 and 1928), lit a temporary two-metre high cauldron in the stadium. Four Helsinki footballers then took the flame to the top of the Stadium’s tower, where Hannes Kolehmainen, another famous Finnish runner, then lit the main cauldron.

Torch Relay Ceremonies

A relay precedes the arrival of the flame at its final destination: the Olympic stadium in the host city of the Olympic Games. The Organising committee of the Olympic Games is responsible for bringing the Olympic flame to the Olympic stadium (Olympic Charter, Rule 54). When the flame finally arrives at its destination, the final torchbearer(s) run into the stadium to light the Olympic cauldron with the flame, which remains lit for the duration of the Games and is extinguished only at the Closing Ceremony of the Games.

Like the messengers who proclaimed the sacred Olympic truce, the runners who carry the Olympic flame carry a message of peace on their journey.

Torch Relay Ceremonies
The Relay of Peace - London 1948
The Relay of Peace - London 1948

In a Europe sorely afflicted by the war, the 1948 relay carried a welcome message of peace. The first runner, Corporal Dimitrelis, took off his military uniform before carrying the flame, commemorating the sacred truce observed in Ancient Greece. The planned route highlighted border crossings, where festivities were organised to celebrate the return of peace. In homage to the restorer of the Olympic Games, the relay passed through Lausanne, Switzerland and a ceremony was organised at Pierre de Coubertin‟s tomb in the Bois-de-Vaux cemetery.

The ancient Relay – Rome 1960
The ancient Relay – Rome 1960

The relay shone the spotlight on the two poles of classical civilisation: Athens and Rome. Lesser-known ancient sites in Greece and Italy were thus brought to the public‟s attention. For the first time, the relay was televised and the event closely followed by the media.

The relay to the New World – Mexico City 1968
The relay to the New World – Mexico City 1968

The relay retraced the steps of Christopher Columbus to the New World. The idea was to underline the link between Mediterranean and Latin-American civilisations and between ancient (Greco-Latin) and Pre-Hispanic civilisations. A direct descendant of the great navigator, Cristóbal Colón de Carbajal, was the last runner on Spanish soil. The Olympic flame made a stop at the Great Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan. A “New Fire” ceremony was organised which, in the Aztec tradition, was celebrated to mark the end of a 52-year cycle. The reappearance of the sun at dawn symbolised the renewal of the world.

The Korean relay “Harmony and progress”– Seoul 1988
The Korean relay “Harmony and progress”– Seoul 1988

The relay showcased the traditions of Korea. Its route, which was a zigzag from east to west, symbolised the harmony to be found in the balance between two opposite poles. Some of the torchbearers did not wear the official uniform provided by the Games Organising Committee, but instead wore regional or traditional costumes.

The “Down Under” relay – Sydney 2000
The “Down Under” relay – Sydney 2000

The relay had a twofold goal: to situate Australia within Oceania and to promote the culture and heritage of the different regions in the country. The Torch relay visited 12 Oceanic countries before it arrived in Australia. The start of the relay on the Australian continent was in the “red centre” at Uluru (Ayer‟s Rock), a sacred site for the indigenous population. The Aboriginal athlete Nova Peris-Kneebone, Olympic field hockey champion, was the first runner in the relay. The enthusiasm of the crowd along the relay route grew bigger and bigger. One million spectators welcomed the arrival of the flame in Sydney. In a ceremony which recalled the elements used in the design of the torch (fire, water, earth), Cathy Freeman “walked on water” before lighting a circle of fire which revealed itself to be the monumental cauldron.

The “Down Under” relay – Sydney 2000

Lillehammer 1994 Relay route IOC

Start date: 16 January 1994, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 12 February 1994, Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena, Lillehammer, (Norway)
First torchbearer: None in Greece
Last torchbearer: Crown Prince Haakon Magnus
Number of torchbearers: -
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: ~6,000 km for the official relay (from Olympia)
Countries visited: Greece, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway

Turin 2006 Relay route IOC

Start date: 27 November 2005, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 10 February 2006, Olympic Stadium, Turin (Italy)
First torchbearer: Konstadinos “Kostas” Filippidis, Olympic participant in athletics (2012)
Last torchbearer: Stefania Belmondo, Olympic participant in cross country skiing (1988, 1992, 1994, 2002), gold, silver and bronze medallist in Albertville 1992, two-time bronze medallist in Lillehammer 1994, silver and bronze medallist in Nagano 1998, gold, silver and bronze medallist in Salt Lake City 2002.
Number of torchbearers: 534 in Greece, 10,001 in Italy
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: 2,006 km in Greece, 11,300 km in Italy
Countries visited: Greece, Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France.

Salt Lake City 2002 Relay route IOC

Start date: 19 November 2001, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 8 February 2002, Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium, Salt Lake City (United States)
First torchbearer: Lefteris Fafalis, Olympic participant in cross country skiing (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010).
Last torchbearers: The members of the US ice hockey team from the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid.
Number of torchbearers: 41 in Greece, 12,012 in the United Sates
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers were chosen by the Organising Committee and the relay partners (Coca-Cola and Chevrolet), each choosing one-third of the total number. A publicity campaign by the Organising Committee invited Americans to submit the name of a person who was a source of inspiration in their lives. In all, more than 300,000 candidatures were received.
Distance: 368 km + 8 nautical miles in Greece, 21,725 km in the United States
Countries visited: Greece, United States
Moscow 1980 Torch IOC Description: The handle and upper part, which bears the inscription MOCKBA – OЛИМПИAДA - 1980, are made of silver. Around the burner is a golden coloured cup formed of concentric circles. In the centre, on a gold coloured protective screen are the emblem of the Games and the Olympic rings.
Colour: Silver, red, gold
Height: 56.5 cm
Composition: Aluminium
Fuel: Mixture of propane and butane. The combustion duration is 8 to 10 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Valentin Ljubman, Boris Tuchin / Klimov Aircraft Engine Factory
Did you know? The safety lamp was specially designed by the same team of engineers who worked on the design of the torch. Fuelled by kerosene or liquid gas, the flame could burn inside it for up to 48 hours.

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.
Albertville 1992 Torch IOC Description: The torch featured the inscription XVIes Jeux Olympiques d’hiver 1992 and the five Olympic rings.
Colour: Silver
Length: 41 cm
Composition: Steel alloy
Fuel: Gas: propylene, butane and propane. The burning time was 40 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Philippe Starck / Ugine & Gabialex
Did you know? Made of gilded brass, the safety lamp was shaped like a miner’s lamp, with the emblems of the torch relay and the Albertville Games engraved on it. Its burning time was 14 hours. The safety lamps were made by the Arras Maxéi company.

Barcelona 1992 Relay route IOC

Start date: 5 June 1992, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 25 July 1992, Olympic Stadium, Barcelona (Spain)
First torchbearer: Savvas Saritzoglou, Olympic participant in athletics (1992)
Last torchbearer: Antonio Rebollo
Number of torchbearers: 365 in Greece, 9,484 in Spain of which 8,885 were on foot and 599 by bike
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers came from the following categories: Olympic volunteers from various regions in Spain; torchbearers chosen by the town halls of cities crossed by the relay who could each choose one runner; the partner companies of the relay and the Organising Committee; people from among the general public who put forward their candidature.
Distance: 367 km in Greece, 5,940 km in Spain, of which 1,490 km was by bicycle and 4,450 km was on foot. Transport by ship between Greece and Spain excluded.
Countries visited: Greece, Spain
Los Angeles 1984 Torch Getty Images

Route design and details

The flame was lit in Olympia and transported by air to Athens. On 8 May 1984, it began its journey on American soil. In New York, opposite the United Nations headquarters, Gina Hemphill and Bill Thorpe Jr., respectively the granddaughter and grandson of two famous athletes, Jesse Owens and Jim Thorpe, ran the first kilometre together.

The relay crossed the United States from east to west, through 33 States and the District of Columbia.

On 28 July, in Los Angeles, Gina Hemphill was at the Games Opening Ceremony. She carried the flame inside the Stadium before passing it to decathlete Rafer Johnson. He then climbed up a staircase to a tube that he ignited. The flame then followed the tube to the cauldron, lighting up the Olympic rings on the way.

Seoul 1988 Torch IOC Description: The torch bears the inscription Games of the XXIV Olympiad Seoul 1988 on the edge of the ring. Its handle is made of leather. At the top of the torch is the Olympic emblem as well as traditional Korean designs representing two engraved dragons symbolising the harmony of East and West. In Chinese astrology, the dragon was also the sign for the year 1988.
Colour: Brown, bronze
Height: 51 cm
Composition: Metal, copper, leather, plastic
Fuel: Manganese dioxide, barium chromate, magnesium and phosphorous
Designer/ Manufacturer: Lee Woo-Sung / Korea Explosives Co. Ltd.
Did you know? The safety lamp design was a scaled down version an ancient Korean astronomical observatory, Chomsongdae. A total of nine lamps measuring 35 cm in height and 15 cm in diameter were produced. Their composition of threefold steel plate and special aluminium was chosen in order to resist wind and pressure. Fuelled by kerosene they could burn for up to 140 hours.

Sarajevo 1984 Relay route IOC

Start date: 29 January 1984, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 8 February 1984, Koševo Stadium, Sarajevo (Yugoslavia)
First torchbearer: Haralambos Karalis
Last torchbearers: Sanda Dubravčić, Olympic participant in figure skating (1980, 1984)
Number of torchbearers: ~1,600 in Yugoslavia
Recruitment of torchbearers: Special commissions, created in all the municipalities through which the flame passed, selected workers, athletes and students.
Distance: 5,289 km in Yugoslavia (2,602 km for the eastern route and 2,687 km for the western route). Of these, 900 km were covered by torchbearers. The flame was transported in specially adapted vehicles for the remaining 4,389 km.
Countries visited: Greece, Yugoslavia
Lake Placid 1980 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

After the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia, a relay takes it to Platanos (~6km) on foot, and it then travels by coach to Andravida airport and, finally, by plane to Athens. At midnight, the flame leaves Athens and is flown to Langley (Virginia, United States), with a stopover in Shannon, Ireland.

In the United States, the relay route was designed to retrace the American Revolution Bicentennial Trail. It started not far from where the first English settlers had landed in the New World, then passed through various sites of historical importance and big cities such as the capital, Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia.

On 31 January 1980, despite a heavy snowstorm, the flame reached American soil on schedule at the Langley military base in Virginia, in front of several thousand people.

On 6 February, the flame reached Albany. Here, the relay split in two: one route went west through the Adirondack Mountains, the other east up the Champlain valley.

On 8 February, the two flames were reunited at Lake Placid. A welcome ceremony was held at the speed skating stadium.

Innsbruck 1976 Torch IOC Description: The upper part of the torch was hexagonal, with the Olympic symbol in openwork and a metal strip representing a ski jump run. The central part featured the inscription XII Olympische Winterspiele 1976.
Colour: Silver
Length: 74.6 cm
Composition: Aluminium alloy and steel
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: Vereinigte Metallwerke Ranshofen Bernhof / -
Squaw Valley 1960 Torch IOC Description: The torch recalls the model of Melbourne 1956, Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 and London in 1948. It bore the inscription VIII Olympic Winter Games 1960 Olympia to Squaw Valley.
Colour: Silver
Length: 48.5 cm
Composition: Aluminium
Fuel: Bottled propane gas
Designer / Manufacturer: John Hench, Ralph Lavers / -
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)
Rio 2016 Torch Getty

Movement, innovation and Brazilian flavour form the essence of the torch, whose design aims to reflect the meeting of the Olympic flame with the human warmth of the people of Brazil. The upper part of the torch is made of several segments, which open and expand vertically when the flame is passed from one torch to the next. These segments, with their floating effect, represent the athletes’ effort. When they open, they reveal elements representing diversity, energy and the country’s exuberant natural landscape with, from top to bottom and in the colours of the Brazilian flag:
  • The sky and its golden sun
  • The mountains and their green curves
  • The blue sea and its fluid ripples
  • The ground, with a pattern like that of the famous Copacabana promenade mosaics
The body of the torch where each runner holds it has a texture made of small triangles, as an allusion to the three Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
Colour: White, green, blue
Height: 63.5 cm (closed), 69 cm (opened)
Composition: Aluminium (recycled) and resin with a satin finish
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: Chelles & Hayashi Design / -
Did you know? After a call for tenders throughout Brazil, the Chelles & Hayashi Design studio was chosen from among 76 agencies by a multidisciplinary jury composed of 11 experts. The winning design was then refined in collaboration with the Organising Committee.
In a competition held among the schoolstaking part in the Rio 2016 education programme, young Brazilians have had the chance to create their own version of the Olympic torch. The 10 best designs were rewarded with a replica of the Rio 2016 torch.

Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956 Relay route IOC

Start date: 22 January 1956, Rome (Italy)
End date: 26 January 1956, Ice Stadium, Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy)
First torchbearer: Adolfo Consolini, Olympic participant in athletics (1948, 1952, 1956, 1960), gold medallist in London 1948 and silver medallist in Helsinki 1952.
Last torchbearer: Guido Caroli, Olympic participant in speed skating (1948, 1952, 1956)
Number of torchbearers: -
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: -
Countries visited: Italy
Sochi 2014 Torch Relay Sochi 2014

Route design and details

After the flame-lighting ceremony which took place at Olympia and a relay of approximately one week through Greece, the route on Russian soil began on 7 October 2013 in Moscow. From October 2013 to February 2014, it travelled through the 83 regions of the Russian Federation and visited major historic, cultural and natural sites in the country. To cover the large distances between the various stages of the Relay, a motorcade was used until St Petersburg, a special plane between St Petersburg and Vladivostok, and a special train in the southern part of the country.

At the end of October 2013, in parallel to the main Relay, an Olympic flame reached the highest point of Mount Elbrus, where a cauldron was lit 5,652m above sea level.

On 9 November, an unlit Olympic torch was taken into open space for the first time. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky had the honor of going out of the International Space Station (ISS) and passing the torch in space.

On 23 November, the torch was carried 13 metres down into the depths of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, thanks to a specially designed burner, similar to the pyrotechnical devices used as warning signals at sea.

At the Opening Ceremony, the flame was successively relayed in the Stadium by four Russian athletes who had shone at the Olympic Games: Maria Sharapova, Yelena Isinbaeva, Aleksandr Karelin and Alina Kabaeva. Then, two other eminent Olympians, Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak carried it to the cauldron located outside the Stadium and proceeded to light it.

Athens 2004 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

For the first time and to celebrate the return of the Olympic Games to their country of origin, a “global” torch relay was organised. Before returning to Greece, it travelled across the five continents in reference to the five Olympic rings. The flame passed by all the cities that had hosted the Games since 1896, as well as other cities in the world that occupied a significant place in terms of sport, history and culture.

After the lighting ceremony which was held in Olympia on 25 March, the day of the 108th anniversary of the revival of the modern Olympic Games, a seven-day relay began across Greece, the last stage being the celebration at the Panathenaic Stadium. The flame stayed there for 64 days, burning in a special cauldron. It was only on 2 June that it was taken to Athens International Airport to fly to Sydney, host of the Games four years earlier. Cathy Freeman, Australian 400m gold medallist, kicked off the international relay on 4 June in Sydney.

The flame then headed to Melbourne, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Delhi, Cairo and Cape Town, where it made its first journey on African soil. It then crossed the Atlantic to visit Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Los Angeles, St Louis, Atlanta and New York. After Montreal, the flame came back to Europe and visited Antwerp, Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva, Lausanne, Paris, London, Barcelona, Rome, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, and finally Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, Sofia and Nicosia.

On 9 July, the flame returned to Greece to embark on the last phase of the relay from Heraklion in Crete. The second part of the Greek relay lasted 36 days, visiting 54 prefectures, 32 islands and 24 archaeological and historical sites. It ended on 13 August with the lighting of the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Games held in the Athens Olympic Stadium.

Beijing 2008 Torch IOC Description: The shape of the torch recalls that of a parchment scroll. Its curved body is made of anodised aluminium. A carved etched pattern representing lucky clouds covers the surface of the upper part of the torch. The two ends of the torch also have the shape of a cloud, a very old decorative element from Chinese art which can be found on buildings, sculptures and furniture. The red Chinese lacquer symbolises the spirit of celebration, enthusiasm and luck. A fine layer of rubber-based varnish covers the handle of the torch. It facilitates the grip and aims to imitate the contact of human skin as if the torchbearer were holding a friend’s hand.
Colour: Silver, red
Height: 72 cm
Composition: Aluminium, rubber
Fuel: Propane. Average burning time of about 15 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Lenovo China, Aerospace Science & Industry / Zhongshan Vatti Gas Appliance Stock Co., Ltd
Did you know?
  • The choice of a parchment scroll as the basic shape for the torch is due to chance. The idea arose in a meeting, when a staff member casually rolled up a piece of paper. It was at that moment that the designers realised that the shape which was formed resembled that of a torch.
  • The safety lamp was inspired by traditional lanterns used in ancient Chinese palaces. The round and square shapes found in the design symbolise the Chinese concept of round sky and square Earth. Like the torch, it bears the pattern of lucky clouds.
  • The height of 72 cm was derived from 8 x 9: two figures that express luck and longevity in Chinese culture.
Grenoble 1968 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

The route focused on various sports centres in France, and the relay passed through the Jura and Vosges mountains, the Massif Central, the Pyrenees and the Alps, with a stop at Chamonix, host of the first ever Olympic Winter Games.

Lit in Olympia, the flame is taken to Mount Olympus, where a ceremony is held in its honour. It then reaches Athens and is flown to Paris. On 19 December 1967, it was Jean Vuarnet, a gold medallist at the Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, who received the flame when it arrived at Paris-Orly airport. The first torchbearer in France was Alain Mimoun, a gold medal-winning distance runner at the 1956 Games in Melbourne and three-time Olympic silver medallist (London 1948 and Helsinki 1952).

At the Opening Ceremony, the organisers added a unique final touch to the relay by placing a microphone on the chest of the last runner, Alain Calmat. His heartbeat could be heard throughout the stadium as he climbed the steps towards the Olympic cauldron.

Innsbruck 1964 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

After being lit in Olympia, the flame travels by car to Athens and remains overnight at the headquarters of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

On 23 January 1964, 16 relay runners take it to Hellenikon airport, from where it leaves for Vienna.

On 24 January, the flame arrived in Innsbruck by air from Vienna. It was on show to the public in the Maximilian Saal of the Imperial Palace, famous for its balcony with the Golden Roof, a symbol of the city entirely covered in gold tiles.

On 29 January, a group of athletes drove the flame to the Bergisel ski jump. From there, it was transferred using a piece of Greek wood from the safety lamp to the torch. At the Opening Ceremony, Alpine skier Christl Staffner passed the torch to Josl Rieder, who lit the cauldron. At the same time, a second cauldron was lit in front of the Ice Stadium.

Rome 1960 Relay route IOC

Start date: 12 August 1960, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 25 August 1960, Olympic Stadium, Rome (Italy)
First torchbearer: Panayotis “Takis” Epitropoulos, Olympic participant in athletics (1960)
Last torchbearer: Giancarlo Peris
Number of torchbearers: 1,529.
330 in Greece, 1,199 in Italy.
Recruitment of torchbearers: The Ministries of the Interior, Education and Defence collaborated with the provincial sub-committees of the Italian National Olympic Committee to select the torchbearers from among young men aged 18 to 23 of all social classes. To do this, tests were carried out in schools and sports clubs.
Distance: 1,863 km (leg by boat from Athens to Syracuse excluded).
330 km in Greece, 1,533 in Italy.
Countries visited: Greece, Italy

Stockholm 1956 Relay route IOC

Start date: 2 June 1956, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 10 June 1956, Olympic Stadium, Stockholm (Sweden)
First torchbearer: Takis Constantinidis
Last torchbearer: Hans Wikne, Olympic participant in equestrian sports (1964)
Number of torchbearers: 330 in Greece and ~160 in Denmark and Sweden
Recruitment of torchbearers: In Sweden, the horse riders were chosen through equestrian clubs.
Distance: 325 km in Greece (aerial transport and Denmark-Sweden relay excluded).
Countries visited: Greece, Denmark, Sweden
Melbourne 1956 Torch Relay Getty Images

Route design and details

Following its lighting in Olympia and a relay on Greek soil to Athens, the flame travelled by air to Australia, with stopovers along the way in Istanbul, Basra, Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta and Darwin.

From Darwin, where a reception was held, the flame was then sent by plane to Cairns, in Queensland, north-eastern Australia. After a risky landing due to low-lying clouds which made visibility difficult, the relay on the ground in Australia started on 9 November. The first torchbearer was an Australian-born individual of Greek heritage, while the second torchbearer, Anthony Mark, was an Aboriginal Australian. The relay covered the East Coast, passing through cities such as Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and finally Melbourne.

21 November: Before arriving in Melbourne, the flame passed through Ballarat, the city hosting the rowing and canoe events. Using the torch, the Mayor kindled a flame in a miniature replica of the Main Stadium’s cauldron. It burned until the closing of the Games.

The next day, the flame arrived in Melbourne, and the last torchbearer, after having done a lap of the Main Stadium, climbed the 85 steps that led up to the cauldron and lit it at 4.20 p.m during the Opening Ceremony.

Sydney 2000 Relay route IOC

Start date: 10 May 2000, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 15 September 2000, Olympic Stadium, Sydney (Australia)
First torchbearer: Lambros Papakostas, Olympic participant in athletics (1992, 1996)
Last torchbearer: Cathy Freeman, Olympic participant in athletics (1992, 1996, 2000), gold medallist in Sydney 2000 and silver medallist in Atlanta 1996.
Number of torchbearers: ~900 in Greece, ~1,500 in Oceania, 11,000 in Australia
Recruitment of torchbearers: In Australia, the Community Torchbearers programme allowed the Australian general public to nominate people who were notable for their achievements or worked for the common good. Through this programme, 6,000 torchbearers were selected from among a total of over 43,000 nominations.
The rest of the torchbearers were either chosen through sponsors, media partners and the Organising Committee, or were Olympians. About 7 per cent of the torchbearers were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
Distance: 1,696 km on land and 463 nautical miles in Greece, ~17,000 km in Oceania, 27,000 km in Australia.
Countries visited: Greece, Guam, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia.
Montreal 1976 Torch Relay IOC

Route design and details

After its lighting in Olympia, the flame was transported by relay in Greece to Athens, reaching there on 15 July. The organisers worked out a special system to transmit the Olympic flame from Greece to Canada. On the same evening that the flame arrived in Athens, at a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium, the Olympic flame was placed next to a sensor, which captured the ionised particles. Transformed into coded impulses, they were then relayed by satellite to Ottawa.

In Ottawa, the time difference meant that it was only early afternoon when a laser beam reflected in a parabolic mirror gave back the flame its original form and lit a cauldron located on Parliament Hill. For the first kilometre on Canadian soil, 12 runners who represented the 10 provinces and two territories of Canada at that time each carried a torch with the flame. They came together at the same time as they passed it on the 13th torchbearer.

Between Ottawa and Montreal, the relay travelled along the Ottawa River passing successively from one bank to the other. The flame arrived in Montreal on 16 July and burned during the night in a cauldron at the top of Mount Royal.

On 16 July, on the road that took the flame to Montreal, a second convoy was formed in Pincourt to take a flame over a distance of about 300 km to Kingston, venue for the sailing competitions. It was first taken by car to Cornwall where it spent the night and then, the next day it was conveyed by foot and various modes of transport, from bicycle to Native American canoes.

Tokyo 1964 Relay route IOC

Start date: 21 August 1964, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 10 October 1964, National Stadium, Tokyo (Japan)
First torchbearer: George Marsellos, Olympic participant in athletics (1960, 1964)
Last torchbearer: Yoshinori Sakai
Number of torchbearers: 870 outside Japan, including 366 in Greece.
For Japan, the only known figure is the total number of runners, including the reserve runners and their support runners, which could be up to 20 people at a time. This figure is 100,603.
Recruitment of torchbearers: On Japanese soil, the torchbearers were aged 16 to 20, and were not necessarily athletes.
Distance: 26,065 km, including:
  • Outside Japan: 16,240 km in total of which 732 km was on the ground (including 350 km in Greece), and 15,508 km by air.
  • In Japan: 9,825 km in total of which 2,692 km was by plane, 6,755 km on land and 378 km by sea.
Countries visited: Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong (then a British colony), Taipei, Okinawa (then under US administration), Japan.

Vancouver 2010 Relay route IOC

Start date: 22 October 2009, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 12 February 2010, BC Place Stadium and Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver (Canada)
First torchbearer: Vassilis Dimitriadis, Olympic participant in alpine skiing (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010). He was also the first torchbearer in Greece for the relay of the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano.
Last torchbearers:
  • Catriona Le May Doan, Olympic participant in speed skating (1992, 1994, 1998, 2002), gold and bronze medallist in Nagano 1998 and gold medallist in Salt Lake City 2002.
  • Nancy Greene Raine, Olympic participant in alpine skiing (1960, 1964, 1968), gold and silver medallist in Grenoble 1968.
  • Wayne Gretzky, Olympic participant in Ice Hockey (1998).
  • Steve Nash, Olympic participant in basketball (2000).
Number of torchbearers: ~560 in Greece, 12,000 in Canada
Recruitment of torchbearers: The application programmes were managed by Coca-Cola and RBC, the two relay sponsors. In all, 8,500 slots were open to the public, and 30 per cent were intended for partners whose contributions were essential to the holding of the Games. There were hundreds of thousands of applications.
A special programme was set up to allow members of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to take an active part in the relay by performing various functions, including that of torchbearer.
Distance: 2,180 km in Greece, 45,000 km in Canada (of which 4,000 were covered by torchbearers).
Countries visited: Greece, United States and Canada
Nagano 1998 Torch IOC

Route design and details

After being lit in Olympia, the flame was conveyed to Athens and then to Tokyo where it arrived via plane on 23 December 1997. It was on show from 27 to 30 December in the Ginza area and from 31 December to 4 January in the Yoyogi Athletic Park.

On 4 January 1998, at a ceremony in the Yoyogi Athletic Park, the flame was split into three and taken by plane to three destinations: 1) the Eastern Japan route, starting from Hokkaido, 2) the Pacific Ocean route, starting from Kagoshima, and 3) the Sea of Japan route, starting from Okinawa.

On 23 January, the three flames entered Nagano Prefecture from the north, south and east, and continued their separate routes.

On 5 February, the three flames arrived in Nagano and on the following day, in Central Square, a ceremony was held in which they were reunited.

The flame also lit secondary cauldrons installed at the competition venues in Hakuba, Yamanouchi, Nozawa Onsen and Karuizawa, where it burned throughout the Games.

London 1948 Relay route IOC

Start date: 17 July 1948, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 29 July 1948, Wembley Stadium, London (United Kingdom)
First torchbearer: Konstantinos Dimitrelis
Last torchbearer: John Marks
Number of torchbearers: 1,416 (London-Torquay relay excluded).
30 in Greece, 762 in Italy, 135 in Switzerland, 270 in France, 38 in Luxembourg, 108 in Belgium, 73 in England.
Recruitment of torchbearers: For Italy, the torchbearers came from the army. In England, the torchbearers were chosen from amongst runners from clubs affiliated with the County Amateur Athletic Associations. Preference was given to clubs located in the area through which the torch relay route passed.
Distance: 3,365 km (London-Torquay relay excluded).
700 km by boat of which 250 km was between Katakolon and Corfu, and 2,665 km on land of which ~ 35 km was in Greece.
Countries visited: Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, United Kingdom

Berlin 1936 Relay route IOC

Start date: 20 July 1936, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 1 August 1936, Olympic Stadium, Berlin (Germany)
First torchbearer: Konstantinos Kondylis
Last torchbearer: Fritz Schilgen
Number of torchbearers: 3,075 (Berlin-Kiel and Berlin-Grünau relays excluded).
1,108 in Greece, 238 in Bulgaria, 575 in Yugoslavia, 386 in Hungary, 219 in Austria, 282 in Czechoslovakia, 267 in Germany.
Recruitment of torchbearers: Each National Olympic Committee of the countries crossed was responsible for selecting the torchbearers in its respective territory.
Distance: 3,075 km (Berlin-Kiel and Berlin-Grünau relays excluded).
1,108 km in Greece, 238 km in Bulgaria, 575 km in Yugoslavia, 386 km in Hungary, 219 km in Austria, 282 km in Czechoslovakia, 267 km in Germany.
Countries visited: Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany

Oslo 1952 Relay route IOC

Start date: 13 February 1952, Morgedal (Norway)
End date: 15 February 1952, Bislett Stadium, Oslo (Norway)
First torchbearer: A representative of the third generation of the well known Hemmestveit skiing family.
Last torchbearers: Eigil Nansen, grandson of the famous Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen
Number of torchbearers: 94 skiers
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: ~225 km
Countries visited: Norway

Helsinki 1952 Relay route IOC

Start date: 25 June 1952, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 19 July 1952, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki (Finland)
First torchbearer: Christos Panagopoulos
Last torchbearer: Hannes Kolehmainen, Olympic participant in athletics (1912, 1920, 1924), three time gold medallist and silver medallist in Stockholm 1912, and gold medallist in Antwerp 1920.
Number of torchbearers: 3,042.
342 in Greece, 650 in Denmark, 700 in Sweden, 1,350 in Finland.
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: 7,492 km (non-Olympic relay excluded).
342 km in Greece, 505 km in Denmark (including a 55 km Copenhagen-Malmö leg by boat), 2,392 km in Sweden, 1,128 km in Finland.
3,125 km Athens-Aalborg flight.
Countries visited: Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Finland
Oslo 1952 Torch IOC Description: The torch consisted of a cylindrical handle topped with a flat oval bowl engraved with the Olympic rings and the year 1952 as well as the words Morgedal-Oslo linked by an arrow.
Colour: Silver and gold
Length: 22 cm (handle only)
Composition: Brass and steel alloy
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: Geir Grung / Adolf Thoresen
Mexico 1968 Torch IOC

Mexico 1968 Torch IOC Description: Type 1:Vertical grooves present on the whole body of the torch. The top bears the caption Mexico 68 carved and traced twice in the metal.
Type 2: Similar to type 1 except for the bottom part of the body of the torch constituted by a black leather handle.
Type 3: A part of the handle is wooden. A motif featuring a dove is repeated on the upper part. The caption Mexico is reproduced twice at the base of the handle.
Type 4: A silver ring with repeated dove motifs decorates the top of the torch. The caption Mexico was reproduced twice at the base of the handle
Colour: Type 1: Silver Type 2: Silver, black Type 3: Silver, brown Type 4: Silver, black, brown
Height: Type 1: 45 cm Type 2: 45 cm Type 3: 52.5 cm Type 4: 53 cm
Composition: Type 1: Steel Type 2: Steel, leather Type 3: Metal, wood Type 4: Steel, wood
Fuel: Solid mix of nitrates, sulphurs, alkaline metal carbonates, resins and silicones. No precision if this fuel was used for all of the torch types.
Designer / Manufacturer: Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, Eduardo Terrazas, Lance Wyman, Manuel Villazon and Peter Murdoch et al / Productos Victor S.A. et al. No precision on which torch type(s) each designer/manufacturer worked on.
Lillehammer 1994 Torch IOC Description: The burner featured the inscription The XVII OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES LILLEHAMMER 1994 and the Games emblem. The sports pictograms appeared on the part in copper, while the upper part in aluminium was the recipient for the pyrotechnic system.
The torch consisted of a long wooden handle and a metal blade. The birchwood handle symbolised the traditional side of Norway; the polished aluminium of the blade reflected its industrial modernity and technology. The supple elongated shape and considerable length of the torch were chosen with a view to forming a harmonious whole with the person carrying it.
Colour: Brown, silver and bronze
Length: 152 cm
Composition: Wood, iron and copper
Fuel: Paraffin-based fuel. Burning time of between 30 and 40 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: André Steenbuch Marandon, Paal Christian Kahrs / Paal J. Kahrs Arkitekter AS, Statoil

Atlanta 1996 Relay route IOC

Start date: 30 March 1996, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 19 July 1996, Olympic Stadium, Atlanta (United States)
First torchbearer: Konstantinos “Kostas” Koukodimos, Olympic participant in athletics (1992, 1996, 2000).
Last torchbearers: Muhammad Ali, Olympic participant under the name of Cassius Clay in boxing (1960), gold medallist in Rome 1960.
Number of torchbearers: ~800 in Greece, 12,467 in the United States
Recruitment of torchbearers: To be able to carry the torch, torchbearers had to be aged 12 or over on 17 April 1996. The torchbearer categories included community heroes, Olympic athletes, Olympic Movement members, and members of the Share the Spirit national and international selection programme run by Coca-Cola.
To be considered as a community hero individuals could either nominate themselves or be proposed by others. As part of the application process, an essay of 100 words or fewer describing the qualities of the nominated person was required. The Organising Committee’s main criteria for defining a community hero included notable work as a volunteer, service as a community leader, role model, or mentor, acts of generosity or kindness and, extraordinary feats or accomplishments. Approximately 40,000 candidatures were received from which 5,500 community heroes were chosen.
Distance: 2'141 km en Grèce, 26’875 km aux États-Unis
Countries visited: Grèce, États-Unis
Turin_2006 Torch  IOC Description :The torch bore the inscription Torino 2006, together with the Games emblem and the Olympic rings. Using technology based on an internal combustion system, the flame, instead of emerging from a hole at the top, surrounded part of the body of the torch, giving the impression that the metal itself was on fire. The aim was to reinterpret the traditional wooden torch. The shape of the torch was also reminiscent of a ski tip and the monument which is the symbol of Turin: the Mole Antonelliana.
Colour : Blue
Length : 77 cm
Composition : Aluminium, plastic, steel and copper
Fuel : 40% propylene and 60% butane. The burning time of the torch was around 15 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer : Pininfarina / Pininfarina
Did you know?
  • A team of 30 people spent 18 months working on designing and producing the torch, making a total of over 20,000 hours’ work.
  • The torch was awarded the “Lorenzo il Magnifico” award, the highest prize from the Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art.
Salt Lake City 2002 Torch IOC Description: Shaped like a stalactite, the torch symbolised winter sports. The silver ribbed body of the torch evoked the texture of the natural ice and rugged landscape of the American West.
The surface of the torch varied from the aged finish of the central part (representing the past) to the high-polish finish of the lower part (modernity). The point where these two surfaces met, where the runner held the torch, was a bridge between the past and present.
The torch was topped by a glass crown surrounding the flame and reflecting the motto for this edition of the Games, which was engraved on the handle: Light the Fire within. The Games emblem appeared on the front of the torch. The elements making up the torch also had a meaning: glass: winter and ice; old silver: the West, running water; shiny silver: the heart and speed of the athletes; and copper: fire, passion, the history of Utah.
Colour: Silver and bronze
Length: 83.5 cm
Composition: Silvered metal, copper and glass
Fuel: Propane
Designer / Manufacturer: Scott Given, Matt Manes, Axiom Design / Coleman, Georgia Institute of Technology,, Inc.
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?

No fewer than 10 cauldrons were made for these Games: a main cauldron in Albertville, 8 metres high, 4.7 metres in diameter and weighing 1,300 kg, including the burners; plus nine smaller cauldrons for the other Olympic venues. During the Games, the main cauldron, atop a 23-metre mast, was placed at the edge of the Ceremonial Stadium. After the Games, it was moved to the Henry Dujol Olympic Park in Albertville. Like the torch, the cauldron was designed by Philippe Starck, based on the corolla of a lily flower.

Barcelona 1992 Torch IOC Description: The torch is asymmetrical, its axis pointing symbolically in the direction of Barcelona. On the flat part of the handle is the inscription XXV Olimpiada Barcelona 1992 as well as the emblem of the Games. The circular shape of the upper part recalls that of a cauldron and also features the final destination of the flame. The conical and triangular shapes that appear in the design of the torch are inspired by the amphora and by the Latin sail, giving it a Mediterranean character.
Colour: Silver, gold
Height: 66 cm
Composition: Aluminium, plastic
Fuel: Gaseous fuels
Designer / Manufacturer: André Ricard / Vilagrasa
Did you know?
  • In addition to the torch for the Barcelona 1992 relay, André Ricard designed the safety lamp and the celebration cauldron for the stopover cities.
  • For The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch asked André Ricard to design the cauldron in front of the building where a permanent fire burns.

Los Angeles 1984 Relay route IOC

Start date: 7 May 1984, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 28 July 1984, Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles (United States)
First torchbearer: Gina Hemphill and Bill Thorpe Jr.
Last torchbearer: Rafer Johnson, Olympic participant in athletics (1956, 1960), gold medallist in Rome 1960 and silver medallist in Melbourne 1956.
Number of torchbearers: 3,636 in the United States
Recruitment of torchbearers: 3,436 torchbearers took part in the relay as part of the Youth Legacy Kilometre Programme. The torchbearers in this category were nominated by an individual, organisation or company that made a monetary donation that was then used to promote youth activities.
The remaining kilometres were covered by a team of 200 runners from AT&T, a sponsor of the relay. They each ran with the torch several times, and also had the role of escorting the participants of the Youth Legacy Kilometre Programme.
Distance: 15,000 km in the United States
Countries visited: Greece, United States

Did you know?

  • To commemorate the arrival of the torch on the island of Cheju, the Organising Committee decided to erect a monument in Shinsan Park and plant olive and cypress trees around it. The sculpture was made up of a granite base and eight vertically oblique columns which symbolised the Games of ’88 as well as a spiral in the centre which represented the five Olympic rings and the flame. It was unveiled, at noon, on 27 August 1988, when the torch arrived at the Park.
  • The Olympic cauldron measured 5.5 m in diameter and was perched on top of a slender, 22 m octahedral post. To light it, the last three torchbearers were raised by an elevator placed around the central post.
Sarajevo 1984 Torch IOC Description: The handle was topped by a platform bearing the inscription Sarajevo 84 on one side and the Mizuno logo on the other. The Games emblem appeared on the combustion tube.
Colour: Gold and silver
Length: 57.7 cm
Composition: Wood and metal
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: - / Mizuno Corporation; Nippon Koki Co., Ltd

Lake Placid 1980 Relay route IOC

Start date: 30 January 1980, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 13 February 1980, Opening Ceremony Stadium, Lake Placid (United States)
First torchbearer: Giorgos Gikas
Last torchbearers: Dr Charles Morgan Kerr, psychiatrist, University of Arizona
Number of torchbearers: 52 in the United States
Recruitment of torchbearers: For the relay on American soil, the Organising Committee chose 26 men and 26 women from over 6,000 applicants. The torchbearers came from every state of the United States, the District of Columbia and Lake Placid.
Each carried the flame many times during the course of the 1,600-km national relay.
Distance: 12,824 km of which 1,600 km comprised the national relay in the United States.
Countries visited: Greece, United States

Did you know?

  • As a reminder that Innsbruck was hosting these Winter Games for the second time, two Olympic cauldrons were set up at the Bergisel Stadium, one for 1964, the other for 1976.
  • For the first time, a woman, Austrian skier Christl Haas, was chosen to light the cauldron for the Olympic Winter Games. She lit the 1964 cauldron. The 1976 one was lit by luge champion Josef Feistmantl.

Squaw Valley 1960 Relay route IOC

Start date: 31 January 1960, Morgedal (Norway)
End date: 18 February 1960, Blyth Memorial Arena, Squaw Valley (United States)
First torchbearer: Olav Nordskog, a young Norwegian skier
Last torchbearers: Kenneth Charles Henry, Olympic participant in speed skating (1948, 1952, 1956), gold medallist in Oslo 1952.
Number of torchbearers: More than 600
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: -
Countries visited: Norway, Denmark, United States

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.
Cortina Ampezzo 1956 Torch IOC Description: The torch was based on the same model as that for the 1948 Summer Games in London and the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne. It bore the inscription VII Giochi Invernali Cortina 1956 and the Olympic rings on the upper part.
Colour: Silver
Length: 47 cm
Composition: Metal
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: Ralph Lavers / -

Sochi 2014 Relay route IOC

Start date: 29 September 2013, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 7 February 2014, Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi (Russian Federation)
First torchbearer: Ioannis Antoniou
Last torchbearers:
  • Irina Rodnina, Olympic participant in figure skating (1972, 1976, 1980), gold medallist in Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Lake Placid 1980.
  • Vladislav Tretiak, Olympic participant in ice hockey (1972, 1976, 1980, 1984), gold medallist in Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Sarajevo 1984, silver medallist in Lake Placid 1980.
Number of torchbearers: 250 Greece, 14,000 in the Russian Federation
Recruitment of torchbearers: The selection of torchbearers was made by the three main Relay partners Coca-Cola, Ingosstrakh and Russian Railways as well as by the administrations of the regions of the Russian Federation and the Organising Committee. Notable amongst the selection criteria were the requirements that the torchbearers be aged 14 or over and that they adhere to the three Olympic values of excellence friendship and respect. The oldest Relay participant was 101.
Distance: 2,000 km in Greece, ~65,000km in the Russian Federation including 2,615 km by torchbearers
Countries visited: Greece, Russian Federation
Sapporo 1972 Torch IOC Description: The torch consisted of a holder with a cylindrical combustion tube. It bore the inscription Sapporo 1972 and the emblem of these Games. The shape of the bowl echoed that of the Olympic cauldron.
Colour: Black
Length: 55 cm (only the tube)
Fuel: Priming and smoke-producing powder. Main components of fuel: red phosphorus, manganese dioxide, magnesium and wood meal.
The burning time was 10 minutes for the torches carried by runners and 14 minutes for those used in cars.
Designer / Manufacturer: Munemichi Yanagi / Nikkei Yanagi
Did you know? The safety lamp’s fuel was pure kerosene, and it could burn for 48 hours nonstop. A protection system featuring an air cushion was incorporated to protect it from violent impacts when it was being transported by car.
Athenes 2004 Torch IOC Description: The shape of the torch recalls the simple and harmonious lines of an olive tree leaf. Its two-tone aspect, linking the wood of an olive tree and metal, echoes the two sides of the leaf, the colours of which are different. Its ergonomic design represents the extension of the moving flame. On the metal part is the emblem of the Games.
Colour: Brown, silver
Height: 65.5 cm
Composition: Olive wood, aluminium
Fuel: Gas
Designer / Manufacturer: Andreas Varotsos / GA & L Harrington
Did you know? The olive tree has a very strong symbolic connotation in Greece. It has been the sacred tree of the Mediterranean people for thousands of years and was the ancient symbol of the Athenian City State. It evokes peace and freedom. Thus, the Athens torch, in the shape of an olive leaf, was intended to be the bearer of a peaceful message on the five continents.

Londres 2012 Parcours du relais IOC

Start date: 10 May 2012, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 27 July 2012, Olympic Stadium, London (United Kingdom)
First torchbearer: Spyridon “Spyros” Gianniotis, Olympic participant in aquatics (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012).
Last torchbearers: Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds and Adelle Tracey.
Number of torchbearers: ~500 in Greece, 8,000 in the United Kingdom
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers were chosen in a public selection procedure launched by the Organising Committee and the relay’s partners, Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.
Distance: 15,775 km.
2,900 km in Greece, 12,875 km (8,000 miles) in the United Kingdom.
Countries visited: Greece, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Did you know?

  • In order to climb Mount Qomolangma (Everest), a second Olympic flame was lit and sent to Tibet from the flame which had arrived in Beijing on 31 March 2008. It reached the summit of the highest mountain in the world on 8 May. The safety lamp and torch were specially modified to allow the flame to burn at the high altitude. On 21 June in Lhassa, this flame then re-joined the one of the relay which travelled through China.
  • The cauldron was 32 metres high and weighed 45 tonnes. At the Opening Ceremony, it was discreetly put in place using a system of rails while the crowds’ attention was focused on the Athletes’ Parade.

Grenoble 1968 Relay route IOC

Start date: 16 December 1967, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 6 February 1968, Opening Stadium, Grenoble (France)
First torchbearer: Tassos Bahouros
Last torchbearer: Alain Calmat, Olympic participant in figure skating (1956, 1960, 1964), silver medallist in Innsbruck 1964.
Number of torchbearers: ~5,000 in France
Recruitment of torchbearers: The first and last torchbearers were chosen by the Organising Committee’s Sports Director, Colonel Marceau Crespin, and the Director General, Dr. Robert Héraut.
Distance: 7,222 km in France
Around 3,500 km were covered on foot; 1,600 on skis; 300 on horseback, bicycle or rowing boat; and 1,900 using mechanical means of transport (plane, helicopter, escort ship or vehicle).
Countries visited: Greece, France

Innsbruck 1964 Relay route IOC

Start date: 22 January 1964, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 29 January 1964, Bergisel Stadium, Innsbruck (Austria)
First torchbearer: Dionyssis Kessaris
Last torchbearer: Josl Rieder, Olympic participant in alpine skiing (1956)
Number of torchbearers: Two in Austria. No total available for Greece.
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Distance: -
Countries visited: Greece, Austria
Rome 1960 Torch IOC Description: Reflecting the classical touch which characterised this edition of the Games, the shape of the torch was inspired by those featured on ancient monuments. Slender grooves decorate and refine the body of the torch. It bears the inscription Giochi della XVII Olympiade.
Colour: Bronze
Height: 39.5 cm
Composition: Aluminium
Fuel: Capsule of resinous material
Designer / Manufacturer: Amedo Maiuri / Curtisa
Did you know? The torch designer, Amedeo Maiuri, was an archaeologist famous for his studies of the Roman site of Pompeii.

Stockholm 1956 Torch

A similar torch to Melbourne, but shorter, was used for the Stockholm relay

Melbourne 1956 Torch IOC Description: The torch was modelled on that of London 1948. The handle ends in a ring, and the upper part in the shape of a cauldron presents the Olympic rings three times. It bears the inscription XVI Olympiad 1956: Olympia Melbourne.
Colour: Silver
Height: 47 cm with burner, 40.5 cm without
Composition: Metal, aluminium
Fuel: Hexamine in tablet form with additional naphthalene and a special igniting material. The combustion duration is 15 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Ralph Lavers / Waco Ltd
Did you know? Another torch (presented above) was specially made for the Opening Ceremony in Melbourne and carried by the last torchbearer when it entered the Stadium. It is made of aluminium with a grooved handle, an openwork cauldron featuring the Olympic symbol and the inscription XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956. So that the flame would be brighter in the Stadium, magnesium flares were used. It is 42 centimetres high.
Sydney 2000 Torch IOC Description: The torch took its inspiration from the Sydney Opera House, the blue of the Pacific Ocean and the boomerang. It is made of three layers of different materials. The inside layer is made of stainless steel and contains the fuel system. The blue middle layer is made of anodised aluminium and contained the fuel reservoir. The outer layer is made of treated aluminium. These three layers represented earth, water and fire. The emblem of the Games featured at the top of the torch.
Colour: White, blue, silver
Height: 77.5 cm
Composition: Steel, aluminium
Fuel: Mixture of propane and butane. The combustion duration is 20 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Blue Sky Design / GA & Harrington
Did you know? The torch was endowed with a safety system. If it was turned upside down or lay on the ground for more than 10 seconds, it would go out automatically.

Montreal 1976 relay route IOC

Start date: 13 July 1976, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 17 July 1976, Olympic Stadium, Montreal (Canada)
First torchbearer: Tassos Psyllidis
Last torchbearers: Sandra Henderson and Stéphane Préfontaine
Number of torchbearers: 500 in Greece, 261 in Canada (Pincourt-Kingston relay excluded)
Recruitment of torchbearers: For the national relay, advertisements were distributed via sports and leisure associations in Canadian cities and regional town halls. The torchbearers had notably to be amateur athletes or fitness enthusiasts and be aged at least 15 on 15 July 1976, the start day of the relay on Canadian soil. Over 4,000 candidatures were received by the Organisers. A computer made the final selection of torchbearers.
Distance: 775 km.
514 km in Greece, 261 km in Canada (Pincourt-Kingston relay excluded).
Countries visited: Greece, Canada
Tokyo 1964 Torch IOC Description: The torch bears the inscription XVIII Olympiad Tokyo 1964 and the Olympic rings. The combustion tube is covered in stainless steel.
Colour: Black, silver
Height: 72 cm
Composition: Aluminium, steel
Fuel: Gunpowder and smoke. The combustion duration is 12 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Munemichi Yanagi / Nippon Light Metal Company, Ltd
Vancouver 2010 Torch IOC Description: The shape of the torch was inspired by the fluid lines and curves produced by skis in the snow or skates on ice. There were also the contours of the Canadian landscape and the curves of the relay route. Its imposing size reflected the vastness of Canada’s territory.
A cut in the shape of a maple leaf, the symbol of Canada, served as an air intake for the flame.
The torch bore the emblem and the motto of this edition of the Games: With Glowing Hearts, Des plus brillants exploits.
Colour: Silver and white
Length: 4.5 cm
Composition: Stainless steel, aluminium and plastic
Burner system: stainless steel, copper and brass
Fuel: Mix of propane, isobutane and hydrocarbons. Burning time of at least 12 minutes (more depending on the temperature and altitude).
Designer / Manufacturer: Bombardier, VANOC / Bombardier
Did you know? Eight safety lamps in the shape of miner’s lamps bearing the Organising Committee logo were produced by Bombardier. They had a burning time of around 15 hours and used a naphtha-based fuel.

Nagano 1998 Relay route IOC

Start date : 19 December 1997, Olympia (Greece)
End date : 7 February 1998, Multi-purpose Stadium, Nagano (Japan) (Italy)
First torchbearer : Vassilis Dimitriadis, Olympic participant in alpine skiing (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010). He was also the first torchbearer in Greece for the relay of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Last torchbearer : Midori Ito, Olympic participant in figure skating (1988, 1992), silver medallist in Albertville 1992.
Number of torchbearers : ~15 in Greece, 6,901 in Japan
Recruitment of torchbearers : The participants were chosen by the Organising Committee, the official partner of the relay (Coca-Cola) and a public competition. There were no restrictions on age, gender or nationality.
Distance : 450 km in Greece, ~1,162 km in Japan
Countries visited : Greece, Japan
Berlin 1936 Torch IOC Description: The relay route and the Olympic rings topped by a German eagle are engraved on the handle, as is the inscription Fackel Staffel Lauf Olympia Berlin 1936. The platform bears the inscription Organisations-Komitee für die XI. Olympiade Berlin 1936 Als Dank dem Träger.
Colour: Silver
Height: 28 cm (support), ~70 cm in total
Composition: Steel
Fuel: Magnesium tube, flammable paste. The combustion time is at least 10 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Carl Diem, Walter E. Lemcke / Friedrich Krupp AG
Did you know?
  • The idea to use a torch to transport the flame was not immediately imperative. The Organising Committee, being inspired by ancient methods, first thought to conserve the flame in fagots of narthex stalks,taken from a Mediterranean tree whose combustion is renowned for being slow. For practical reasons, the use of torches was finally favoured. As no torch on the market met the required criteria, the Organising Committee set about producing a specific torch.
  • A lantern was used to carry a back-up flame, which followed the relay by car.

Did you know?

This was the first torch relay in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. Symbolic fires were lit for the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936 and St Moritz in 1948. However, these fires were not brought by relay.

Helsinki 1952 Torch IOC Description: On the upper metal part, the torch bears the inscriptions XV Olympia Helsinki 1952 and Helsinki Helsingfors, the Olympic rings and a wreath. The handle is made of lacquered birch wood. Colour: Brown, silver, beige
Height: 59 cm
Composition: Silver, metal, wood
Fuel: Liquid gas. The combustion time of the cartridge is at least 21 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Aukusti Tuhka / Kultakeskus Oy
Did you know?
The fuel cartridge of the torch is quickly detachable and replacable. Because of this, the organisers produced only 22 torches and 1,600 cartridges. The torches were re-used along the route.
Torch Relay, Originality of Transportation

Traditionally, relays have been carried out on foot (for Berlin 1936, London 1948 and Moscow 1980 the relays were entirely run in this way). Although at the beginning, runners were mainly selected from amongst athletes, gradually the general public began to participate as well. As the celebration of the Olympic Games has evolved, so has the Olympic torch relay. The modes of transport have slowly become more and more diversified, not only for practical reasons, but also to showcase the particularities of the regions crossed.

The flame in the snow!

Legendary Norwegian skiers (or their descendants) carried out the entirety of the transport of the flame (Oslo 1952). The flame went into the Arctic Circle at Inuvik, with stages carried out by snow-bike and skidoo (Calgary 1988), the flame has also visited Alert, the northernmost permanently inhabited community in the world (Vancouver 2010).

The flame in the water, on the water and under water!

In the sea off Veracruz, Mexico, swimmers carried the flame from the boat Durango to the shore (Mexico 1968). A diver swam across the port of Marseilles holding the flame out of the water (Grenoble 1968). The flame travelled on the frigate Cataluña for the passage between Greece and Spain and arrived on Spanish soil in Empuries, the gateway to Greek civilisation on the Iberian peninsular (circa 600 B.C.) (Barcelona 1992). A diver even carried the flame under water at the Great Barrier Reef (Sydney 2000). In Venise, a Gondola was used to cross the Canal Grande (Torino 2006) and for the 2010 relay, the flame was carried by a surfer (Vancouver 2010).

The flame in the air, through the air and in space!

The flame made its first trip in an aeroplane (Oslo 1952). It later traveled faster than the speed of sound on its journey from Athens to Paris – aboard the Concorde! (Albertville 1992). The wonders of technology were highlighted when the Canadians organized the transmission of the flame by satellite between Athens and Ottawa (Montreal 1976). For the first time in the history of the Olympics, the transfer of the flame took place between two parachute jumpers (Lillehammer 1994). It also made an impressive entry at the opening ceremony of the Games, carried by a ski jumper during his actual jump! (Lillehammer 1994). The torch (but not the flame) was carried into space by astronauts (Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000).

The flame on horseback and on a camel!

To mark the fact that the equestrian events were held separately from the other Olympic events, the torchbearers for the journey of the flame from Kastrup (Denmark) to Stockholm carried the flame entirely on horseback (Melbourne/Stockholm 1956). Horses played a special role again when the history of the Pony express was featured as a part of a torch relay (Atlanta 1996). They were replaced by camels when the flame crossed the Australian desert (Sydney 2000).

The flame and the Wild West!

For the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, the modes of transport that were used bring to mind great moments in American history. For example, the flame traveled in an Indian canoe, on a Mississippi steamboat, and on a wagon of the Union Pacific (the first transcontinental railroad) (Atlanta 1996).

Mexico 1968 Relay route IOC

Start date: 23 August 1968, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 12 October 1968, Olympic Stadium, Mexico (Mexico)
First torchbearer: Haris Aivaliotis
Last torchbearers: Enriqueta Basilio Sotelo, Olympic participant in athletics (1968)
Number of torchbearers: 2,778 of which 360 were in Greece and 816 from the Veracruz shore to Mexico City.
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers came from the various countries crossed.
Distance: 13,536 km in total from Olympia to Mexico City, including sea travel and 350 km in Greece (Mexico City to Acapulco relay excluded).
Countries visited: Greece, Italy, Spain, Bahamas, Mexico

Did you know?

  • For the first time in Olympic history, the torch was passed between two parachutists, above the German town of Grefrath.
  • A “non-Olympic” relay took place over 75 days in Norway. As for the editions in Oslo in 1952 and Squaw Valley in 1960, a flame was lit at Morgedal, on 27 November 1993. Princess Martha Louise was the first torchbearer. Of a total distance of 12,000 km, 8,000 were on land, and the torch was transported by runners over roughly 6,500 km. The flame was transported by plane for 4,000 km of the remaining distance, to cross the sea and fjords, and to reach the Svalbard archipelago in particular. When running with the torch was impossible, other means of transport used by the postal service at different times in history were employed. To conclude, the flame from Morgedal was used to light the cauldron from the 1952 Winter Games in Oslo, set up in the main street of Lillehammer, the Storgata, while the Olympic flame lit the cauldron in the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena.
Atlanta 1996 Torch IOC Description: On the wooden handle is engraved the list of Summer Games from 1896 to 1996, in reference to the centenary of the Olympic Games. The torch was inspired by simple ancient torches of bound reeds and the lines of classical Greek architecture. Its 22 aluminium “reeds” were representative of the total number of modern Olympic Games editions. The centre grip is made of Georgia pecan wood and there are two wide gold bands, one with the names of all Olympic Games host cities and, the other, with the emblem of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and the Quilt of Leaves motif.
Colour: Silver, gold, brown
Height: 82 cm
Composition: Aluminium, brass, pecan wood
Fuel: Propylene. The combustion duration is 20 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Peter Mastrogiannis, Malcolm Grear Designers / Georgia Institute of Technology
Did you know?
  • The safety lamps measured 30.5 cm and had a burning capacity of 20 hours. They were fed by liquid paraffin.
  • The wood that forms the central part of the torch was a donation from local farmers and symbolised the connection between heaven, Earth and the Olympic flame.

Did you know?

  • For the first time, the cauldron was translucent. To fit in with the visual identity based on fire and ice, it contained jets of water spraying down the inside of the bowl, to create the watered silk look of a melting ice cube. The flame was lifted to the top of the glass and stainless steel structure by means of a manual mechanism. There, the flame burned more than 35 metres above the ground. The cauldron can today be seen in front of the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
  • The medals plaza in the centre of the city also had its own cauldron. This “Heroes’ Cauldron” was 3.60 metres tall and shaped like the main cauldron.

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.

Did you know?

  • The shape of the titanium cauldron in the Olympic Stadium was inspired by the mosaics of Antoni Gaudí. The cauldron rested on an imposing base of aluminium which recalled the rudder of a Mediterranean boat and was fixed to the outside wall of the Stadium. The flame, which burned at its top throughout the Games, was three metres high.
  • The arrow used by Antonio Rebollo to light the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony was specially designed to support the flame and avoid the archer burning himself. It was made of tempered duralumin, weighed about 100 grams and was a little over a metre long. The arrow is now part of the collections of The Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
Los Angeles 1984 Torch IOC Description: The body of the torch is in bronze tinted aluminium. The Olympic motto, Citius Altius Fortius, features at the top of the torch with a representation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum peristyle below it. The leather-covered handled has a metal ring which bears the caption Games of the XXIII Olympiad Los Angeles 1984. The emblem of the Games features twice on the piece where the handle finishes at the base of the torch.
Colour: Brown, bronze
Height: 58.5 cm with burner
Composition: Aluminium, bronze, leather
Fuel: Propane
Designer / Manufacturer: Turner Industries, Inc.
Lake Placid 1980 Torch IOC Description: The torch design and materials symbolised a blend of modern technology and a reference to Ancient Greece.
The torch was shaped like a bowl with a silver ring. It bore the Games emblem and the inscription XIII Olympic Winter Games Lake Placid 1980. The handle was made of leather.
Colour: Bronze
Length: 72.5 cm
Composition: Leather and metal
Fuel: Liquid propane. Burning time: 40 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Don McFarland; McFarland Design / Cleanweld Turner
Sochi 2014 Torch  IOC Description: The torch is shaped like a bird’s feather, as a reference to the phoenix, the fire bird which symbolises good luck and fortune in Russian folklore. The red recalls the uniforms of Russian sports teams.
Colour: Silver and red
Length: 95 cm
Composition: Aluminium
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: A team of Russian designers led by Vladimir Pirozhkov and Andrei Vodyanik.

Sapporo 1972 Relay route IOC

Start date: 28 December 1971, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 3 February 1972, Makomanai Speed Skating Rink, Sapporo (Japan).
First torchbearer: Yiannis Kirkilessis. He was also the first torchbearer in Greece for the relay of the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.
Last torchbearer: Hideki Takada, a 16-year-old high school pupil from Sapporo
Number of torchbearers: ~16,300 in total
Recruitment of torchbearers: For the relay in Japan, only boys and girls aged between 11 and 20.
The last two torchbearers were chosen by the Vice-President of the Organising Committee, Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda, who was an IOC member from 1967 to 1981 and then an honorary member.
Distance: 18,741 km
335 km in Greece, 66 km on Okinawa Island, 4,754 km in Japan and 13,586 km by plane and boat.
Countries visited: Greece, Okinawa (then under US administration), Japan
London 2012 Torch IOC Description: The triangular shape of the torch refers to the multiples of three found in the Olympic Movement’s values of excellence, friendship and respect, the Olympic motto citius, altius, fortius, and London’s hosting of the Games for a third time. The torch is made from two envelopes of aluminium alloy. It is perforated by 8,000 circles in reference to the 8,000 torchbearers and the 8,000 miles of the relay in the United Kingdom.
Colour: Gold
Height: 80 cm
Composition: Metal, aluminium
Fuel: Mixture of propane and butane
Designer / Manufacturer: Edward Barber, Jay Osgerby / The Premier Group (TPG), Tecosim
Did you know? At a ceremony at London’s Design Museum, the torch won the Design of the Year award.
Grenoble 1968 Torch IOC Description: The torch was made of copper, featuring a long narrow combustion chamber with a crenellated upper section. The handle was partly covered by a piece of cloth. The upper part bears the inscription Xe Jeux Olympiques d’Hiver Grenoble 1968.
Colour: Red and bronze
Length: 70 cm
Composition: Textile and bronze alloy
Fuel: Propane gas. Each canister contained 280 grams, giving a burning time of more than two hours.
Designer / Manufacturer: - / Société technique d’équipements et de fournitures industrielles
Did you know?
The Organising Committee bought five miner’s lamps, recognised as being suitable for use in mines where there was fire damp, to hold the flame during its transport by air. Fifteen lamps were also lent by the La Mure Colliery. The five lamps belonging to the Organising Committee featured an engraving of the Olympic rings and the inscription Grenoble 1968.
Innsbruck 1964 Torch IOC Description: The inscription IX. Olympische Winterspiele 1964 and the Olympic rings were engraved on the upper bowl-like part. The handle was conical with two bands.
Colour: Bronze
Length: 61 cm
Composition: Brass
Fuel: -
Designer / Manufacturer: Ludwig Haselwanter / Anton Fritz
Did you know?
  • A single original torch was created. After the Games, it was given to the last torchbearer, Josl Rieder.
  • Two silver safety lamps with a burning time of 22 hours were specially made to transport the flame.

Did you know?

It was for the Rome 1960 Games that the relay was televised for the first time.

Did you know?

Due to the fact that the equestrian events could not be held in Melbourne because of Australian quarantine regulations, an additional relay took place between Olympia and Stockholm where these events were staged in June 1956. This was the only time that for the same edition of the Summer Games, two Olympic flames were lit in the same year.

Melbourne 1956 Relay route IOC

Start date: 2 November 1956, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 22 November 1956, Main Stadium, Melbourne (Australia)
First torchbearer: Dionyssios Papathanassopoulos
Last torchbearer: Ronald William “Ron” Clarke, Olympic participant in athletics (1964, 1968), bronze medallist in Tokyo 1964.
Number of torchbearers: 3,181.
350 in Greece, 2,831 in Australia.
Recruitment of torchbearers: To qualify, the participants had to be able to run 1 mile (1.61 km) in 7.5 minutes. For the Organising Committee, one athlete from each sport had to participate. The relay was not open to women or professional sportsmen.
Distance: ~20,470 km in total, air travel included.
4,912 km by land, including 354 km in Greece.
Countries visited: Greece, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia

Did you know?

  • Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Andy Thomas, a NASA astronaut from Australia, special version of the torch and a flag bearing the emblem of the Games was taken into space for about 10 days in May 2000 on the Atlantis space shuttle’s trip to the International Space Station.
  • On 27 June 2000, the flame was taken on an underwater journey of 2 minutes 40 seconds at the Great Barrier Reef, not far from Cairns. A flare system, burning at 2,000°C, maintained the flame and made it visible underwater.
  • The concept for the Olympic cauldron and its lighting was already envisioned in 1993 when Sydney had just been elected host city of the Games of the XXVII Olympiad. Two years later, the concept was integrated in top secret into the architecture of the Stadium in order to put in place the structures that would allow the seven tonne cauldron to be raised to the top of the north stand.
Montreal 1976 Torch IOC Description: The emblem of the Games features in white on the red handle. Through its conception, the head of the torch supplied the combustion necessary for the natural absorbent cotton impregnated with the fuel that was housed inside. Its black colour was aimed at highlighting the flame.
Colour: Red, black, white
height: 67.5 cm
Composition: Aluminium
Fuel: Olive oil, adjuvant and smoke cartridge. The choice of fuel evoked Ancient Greece. The minimum combustion duration is 10 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Georges Huel & Michel Dallaire / -

Did you know?

  • In Hong Kong, the relay was slightly disrupted due to a typhoon that struck the city on 4 September at midnight and damaged the special plane transporting the flame. Another plane was made available which allowed the relay to continue to Taipei with only one day’s delay.
  • Lit by the flame taken from the cauldron at the main stadium, a single auxiliary cauldron per competition venue allowed the flame to also burn at Komazawa Sport Park, Enoshima Yacht Harbour, Toda Rowing Course, Kemigawa Playing Grounds and Karuizawa.
  • Yoshinori Sakai, was known as Hiroshima Baby as he was born on 6 August 1945 in Hiroshima, the day of the atomic explosion. He was chosen as last torchbearer to symbolise peace and hope.

Did you know?

  • Two identical cauldrons were used, one in the BC Place Stadium for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and another at the Jack Poole Plaza in Coal Harbour. The first was extinguished at the end of the Opening Ceremony, while the second, lit shortly afterwards by Wayne Gretzky, remained alight throughout the Games. At the end of the Games, during the Closing Ceremony, the two cauldrons were extinguished simultaneously.
  • The Jack Poole Plaza cauldron can still be seen today. It is roughly 10 metres tall, with each pillar measuring 16.5 metres.
Nagano 1998 Torch Relay IOC Description : The wording Nagano 1998, XVIII Olympic Winter Games, Nagano 1998 was engraved along the length of the torch. The upper part featured the Games, logo, representing snow crystals topped with the Olympic rings. The torch design was inspired by the pine branch torches used in the past in Japan. The hexagonal shape of the body represented snow crystals, and the silver colour was chosen to resemble a snow-covered landscape. The yellow rope was a reference to a traditional element of Japanese design.
Colour : Red, silver and gold
Length : 55 cm
Composition : Cotton and aluminium
Fuel : Propane
Designer / Manufacturer : Nagano Olympic Games Organising Committee / Katsura Co.
Did you know? The safety lamp made to carry the flame had a burning time of 22 hours.
London 1948 Torch IOC Description: On the upper part, the torch bears the inscription Olympia to London with thanks to the bearer XIVth Olympiad 1948, as well as the carved and traced Olympic symbol.
Colour: Silver
Height: 40.5 cm
Composition: Steel, aluminium
Fuel: Hexamine tablets with 6% naphthalene
Designer / Manufacturer: Ralph Lavers / E.M.I. Factories Ltd, High Dury Alloys Ltd. 

Did you know?

  • To burn for the total duration of its transport by boat from Greece to Italy, a special burner fed by butane with a 48-hour burn time was designed for the flame.
  • A special torch (presented above) was made for the last torchbearer. So that the flame would be brighter in the Stadium, a magnesium flare was used. The burner was of stainless steel. The combustion duration of the wick was 10 minutes.

Did you know?

  • In Yugoslavia, over approximately 25 km, certain torches showed signs of weakness and threatened to go out before the end of the foreseen combustion duration. In order not to take any risks, the torchbearers were taken to the next stage more quickly by car. The flame arrived without any problems and in advance in Jagodina, where it was kept burning before resuming its journey at the scheduled time.
  • The cauldron in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, in the shape of a tripod, was inspired by an Ancient Greek pattern, and was approximately 2.20 metres high.
  • This first relay was a popular success and the object of media coverage by the press, radio and the team shooting the Official Film of the Games.
  • Prior to the first Olympic torch relay, a symbolic fire burned at the top of a tower for the Amsterdam 1928 and Los Angeles 1932 Summer Games. However, these fires were not lit in Olympia or carried in a relay.

Did you know?

  • The flame that was 1.5 m wide and up to 4 m high burned at the top of the Olympic Stadium tower 72 m above the ground.

  • It was for the relay for the Games in Helsinki in 1952 that the Olympic flame made its first trip by plane, flying from Athens to Aalborg. It was preserved in a safety lamp.

  • On 6 July 1952, a non-Olympic relay kicked off in the Pallastunturi fells in Lapland, using a flame that was lit on the Taivaskero summit from the midnight sun’s rays. It was carried by 330 runners over 378 km to Tornio, a border city close to Sweden. There, on 8 July, it merged with the Olympic torch relay flame, which had just entered Finland carried by Olympic gold medallist in the discus at Antwerp 1920, and silver medallist in the hammer event at Los Angeles 1932, Ville Pörhölä. The meeting of the two flames symbolised the coming together of southern and northern countries at the Games.

Did you know?

Six metres tall and on a 25-metre base, the cauldron had a burner at a 30 degree incline so that the flame was visible throughout the stadium. The fuel used was natural gas. The aim was to produce a modern version of a traditional Japanese kagaribi bonfire.

Did you know?

  • Enriqueta Basilio Sotelo became the first woman to light the main cauldron at an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
  • In honour of the flame, 2,500 craftsmen created a multi-coloured motif over three kilometres long made up of flowers, sawdust and white sand on the main street in the village of Huamantla, Mexico.

Did you know?

  • To announce the holding of the Olympic Games, the flame was carried by relay along the real Pony Express route, which was recreated over 875 km between Julesburg, Colorado, and St Joseph, Missouri. Over 58 consecutive hours, riders travelling on horseback, just like the pioneers of this service, transported over 1,000 letters from the Organising Committee.
  • On board the Space Shuttle Columbia, an unlit torch was taken into space for the very first time.
  • The 6.4 metre-high cauldron formed the top of a metallic tower, which was over 35 metres high and linked to the Stadium by a 55-metre bridge. Originally, it was planned that the last torchbearer would cross the bridge and climb the tower to the cauldron to light it. However, in order to make the task simpler for Muhammad Ali and enhance visibility of this moment the flame instead travelled via a rope from the inside of the Stadium to the cauldron.

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  • The cauldron used was the same one used during the Los Angeles Games in 1932, when a symbolic fire was lit. Located at the top of the central arcade, it reaches over 45 metres above the ground.
  • The last torchbearer faced a physically demanding performance as he had to be able to climb the 96 steps of the 50° inclined staircase. In training, Rafer Johnson suffered a serious leg cramp. Following this incident, a replacement was appointed to overcome a possible failure by Johnson the day of the Opening Ceremony. This was Bruce Jenner, Olympic decathlon champion in 1976 in Montreal. In case he had to intervene, Jenner, who was among the eight Olympic flag-bearers, wore sportswear underneath his Ceremony clothing.

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  • The main cauldron was mobile and was placed at the top of a 16-metre tower, so that it could be seen from the various competition venues.
  • A secret vote between the 52 torchbearers resulted in Dr Charles M. Kerr being chosen to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.
  • During the Games, some of the medal ceremonies were held at Mirror Lake. The Olympic flame was present in the form of torches held by bearers lining the path leading to the pavilion built on the frozen surface of the lake.
  • The Closing Ceremony was held in a different stadium from that used for the opening. For this occasion, the Olympic flame was burning in a cauldron suspended from the ceiling of the Olympic Centre International Ice Rink. Towards the end of the Ceremony, this flame was extinguished at the same moment as that in the main cauldron three kilometres away.

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  • Like for the torch, the shape of the main cauldron was inspired by the firebird. Close to the Fisht Stadium, in the heart of the Olympic Park, the flame burned for the Games' duration 50 m atop a tower which represented the head of the bird. At the base of the construction, its open wings formed a circle of about 100 m in diameter, where a fountain capable of producing a sound and light show and jets of water 60 m high could be found.
  • The torch used by Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Games on 7 February 2014 was the same one taken into space in November 2013.
  • For the first time in its history, the Olympic flame reached the geographical North Pole. While the main Relay continued in Western Russia, an icebreaker set off on 15 October from Murmansk with an Olympic flame conserved in a lantern on board. This flame reached the geographical North Pole on 19 October and burned there in a cauldron during a ceremony.

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  • The main cauldron which overlooked the Makomanai Speed Skating Rink was made of bronze with a coating of dusty gold. It was asymmetrical, measuring 2.78 by 2.18 metres, and was 2.98 metres high. It was fuelled by propane. Like the torch, it was designed by Munemichi Yanagi.
  • After the Opening Ceremony, Olympic flames were taken to the competition venues at Mount Teine and Mount Eniwa. There, they burned in auxiliary cauldrons during the competitions.

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The cauldron, measuring 8.5 metres high, was made in the form of a flower made from copper petals. Each of these petals, brought in by a participating nation, was meant to bloom during the Games. After the Games, a petal was given to each participating country as a souvenir of the sporting achievements of their athletes. On the petal the name of the country was engraved.

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  • The Olympic cauldron was impressive, with a diameter of four metres and weighing 550 kg. Its three-metre wide dish had 70 burners. A helicopter transported and lifted it into place at the top of the tower at the Opening Stadium. The original plan was to extinguish the flame after the Opening Ceremony, but the organisers changed their minds when they realised that the flame could be seen from far away and encouraged the public to visit throughout the Games.
  • The competition venues had their own, smaller cauldrons, 1.20m tall and 80cm in diameter, with a dish containing eight burners fed with propane by two sets of four bottles hidden in the base.
  • For the Closing Ceremony, the flame from the Opening Stadium was transferred to the Ice Stadium in a chimney-shaped cauldron one metre in diameter and two metres tall.

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This was the first time that it was an Olympic flame, lit in Olympia in Greece, which was used for the Winter Games.

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  • The organisers had to face numerous unexpected climate challenges and readapt the route, mainly owing to flooding in the north of Australia. However, the flame arrived in one piece and on time, thanks in particular to the fact that the relay was run day and night with few stops.
  • The flame crossed the southern hemisphere for the first time on 6 November 1956, during the flight between Singapore and Jakarta.
  • After being put on display for various charity events following the Games the cauldron was thought to be lost until 30 years later when it was discovered in a city council warehouse to the west of Melbourne and then given to the Australian Gallery of Sport.
  • Another torch was specially made for the Opening Ceremony in Melbourne and carried by the last torchbearer when it entered the Stadium. It is made of aluminium with a grooved handle, an openwork cauldron featuring the Olympic symbol and the inscription XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956. So that the flame would be brighter in the Stadium, magnesium flares were used. It is 42 centimetres high.

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  • For the first time, two people together lit the Olympic cauldron in the Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Games. Sandra Henderson from Toronto and Stephane Préfontaine from Montreal were chosen to symbolise the Anglophone and Francophone communities. “It was the greatest experience I have ever had,” said Préfontaine in 1986.
  • The main cauldron was 1.80 m in diameter and made of frosted aluminium. For its lighting during the Opening Ceremony, it was placed on a temporary platform in the centre of the field of play. Later it was moved to the most southerly point of the Stadium, where it burned for the duration of the Games.

Torch Relay


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