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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympic Flame, the Olympic Torch


TORCH RELAY

The Olympic Flame, the Olympic Torch and the relay have been important elements of the Olympic Games since its inception in Ancient Greece.
The 2012 Torch Relay will bring excitement to millions of people around the United Kingdom with the Games biggest secret being who will light the cauldron in the main stadium at the Opening Ceremony on 27 July.
The Torch Relay will start at Land's End on the most westerly point of the England mainland and then journey through castles, visit safari parks, the channel tunnel, the surrounding Isles, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and all around London itself. 

The Journey from Olympia to London

A very precise ritual for the lighting of the Flame is followed at every Games. In 2012, the Flame will be lit in a traditional ceremony from the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, among the ruins of the home of the Ancient Games.

After a short relay around Greece, the Flame will be handed over to the London Games organisers at the Panathenaiko Stadium in Athens from where it will be flown to London, arriving in the UK on 18 May, 2012. The Panathenaiko Stadium is where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 and the refurbished stadium hosted the archery and marathon finishes for Athens 2004.

The Torch Relay2012 Torch

The 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will be held over 70 days from 19 May to 27 July 2012. There will be a total of 8,000 Torchbearers and the relay will showcase the whole of the United Kingdom (UK) spreading the Olympic messages of peace, unity and friendship.

The relay will take in the best of what the UK has to offer on a 12,800 kilometre journey from natural history to lively modern cities reaching as far out as the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. The Olympic Flame will travel within an hour of 95 percent of the UK population. To see the map of where the Flame is going,

From 19 May 2012 an average of 110 people a day will carry the Olympic Flame on its journey around the UK before arriving at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.
The highlights of the 2012 Torch Relay will include 
The gold torch is 800mm tall, weighs 800 grams and is perforated by 8000 holes. To represent each of the torchbearers who will on average carry the flame 300 metres.
The Flame will be extinguished on the final day of the Games, at the Closing Ceremony.

Who will light the cauldron in 2012?

Who will carry the Torch in the London Olympic Stadium, who will be the final torchbearer and how will the cauldron be lit is always a huge secret and causes great speculation. At recent Summer Games the final torchbearers have been:

2008 Beijing – Li Ning (Gymnastics)
2004 Athens – Nikolaos Kaklamanakis (Sailing)
2000 Sydney – Catherine Freeman (Athletics)
1996 Atlanta – Mohammed Ali (Boxing)
1992 Barcelona – Antonio Rebollo (Archery)

History

The Ancient Greeks considered fire to be a divine element, and they maintained perpetual fires in front of their principal temples. 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 starting point emphasises the link between the Ancient and Modern Games and underlines the profound connection between these two events. A relay precedes the arrival of the flame at its final destination: the Olympic stadium in the host city of the Olympic 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. (IOC www.olympic.org)