The flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games, whose origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics.
The flame was reintroduced in the modern Olympics during the 1928 edition held in Amsterdam, and became part of the Olympic traditional symbol ever since. The torch relay was instead introduced in 1936, during the Berlin edition.
According to the tradition, the Torch is ignited several months before the start of the Games in Olympia, the hometown of the ancient Olympics, with a very precise ritual. It is then handled to the hosting city during a ceremony at the Panathinaiko Stadium and then transferred to the hosting country after a short relay in Greece. Once it arrives in the hosting country, it starts the relay which ends the day of the opening ceremony, when it is used to flame the Cauldron. For more information regarding the 2012 route, click here.
The design of the torch changes for each Games (my bad, I have only realized this when the torch bearer walked in front of me and I saw the London 2012 logo!) .
London 2012 Torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgery, who won the competition organised by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council.
The triangular shape was inspired by a series of ‘threes’ that are found in the history of the Olympic Games:
- The three Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship;
- The three words that make the Olympic motto – faster, higher, stronger;
- The fact that the UK has hosted the Olympic Games in 1908, 1948 and will host them for the third time in 2012; and
- The vision for the London 2012 Olympic Games to combine three bodies of work – sport, education and culture.
The torch is then extinguished on the final day of the Games, at the end of the closing ceremony.
Torch Bearer: I was very surprised to learn that in English is called with such an “easy” (and logical, how often happens with English words!) name. In Italian we like to show off and use “difficult” words, so we call it “tedoforo” taken directly from the Latin/Greek words teda=torch and phero/fero=to carry. T-e-d-o-f-o-r-o: I honestly really like the sound of this word though!
This year I had the chance to assist to the Torch relay and I must admit that was one of the most touching moments ever. It was a strange feeling to finally being able to see with my own eyes something that for all my life I had only seen on TV.
It was just a perfect timing, I came out of the tube and saw the torch bearer holding his torch, and I have immediately realized that he was actually waiting for the other bearer to light the torch and leave for the next part of the relay route.
This is a short video I managed to record with my phone…unfortunately the quality is not the best and it is a bit shaky! It was very hard to record a video among all those people and most of all, standing on my tip toes! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!