Introduction of Olympic Torch Relay
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.
The flame is carried by relay all the way to its final destination. Although it is usually carried by runners on foot, other modes of transport are also used. For air transport, the flame is sheltered in a security lamp, similar to a miner’s lamp. At night time, it burns in special cauldrons. All along its route, the flame heralds the upcoming Olympic Games and transmits a message of peace and friendship amongst peoples.
The highlight of the opening ceremony of the Olympics is the entrance of the Olympic flame into the stadium. The identity of the final torchbearer is kept secret until the last moment. It is often a personality from the sports world or a young person symbolising hope for the future.
The final torchbearer often does a lap of the stadium before lighting the monumental cauldron with the Olympic flame. A symbolic release of doves evokes the climate of peace in which the Olympic Games should take place.
The flame remains lit for the duration of the Games and is only extinguished at the closing ceremony.