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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
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.

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.

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