For The Record

Issue 7 2013

EN / FR

Olympic Torch Relay

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The torch relay has been a tradition of the Olympic Games since it was introduced in 1936. Every torch relay begins in Olympia, Greece, and ends in the host city at the Opening Ceremony, where the torch is used to light the Olympic cauldron.

This year, the torch will go on a 123-day journey covering more than 65,000km (40,000 miles).

The torch has already made its way over the North Pole, and has even made a trip to space.

To accomplish this long journey, there will be a record 14,000 torchbearers covering 83 regions of the Russian Federation. These 83 regions will reach over 90 percent of the country’s population.

Check out the interactive torch map to follow its journey as it makes its way to Sochi by 7 February.

The Olympic torch is red, which is the traditional colour of Russian sports.

It combines motifs from Russian folklore, particularly the fairy tale legends of the Firebird, or Phoenix, which rises from the ashes.

Considering the difficult conditions of a Russian winter, the construction of the torch ensures that the flame will burn reliably in strong winds, heavy frosts and anything else that a Russian winter could bring.

During the Torch relay for the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer a torch hand-over took place between two parachute jumpers in the skies over Germany.

The idea to set up a cauldron at an Olympic stadium was brought to life by Dutch architect, Jan Wils.

For the Games in Amsterdam-28 he designed the Stadium and the Marathon tower, placed outside the stadium and topped with a cauldron.

“I wanted for the entire city to see that the Olympics are taking place. Day or night, everyone should know that the Olympics are in Amsterdam,” said Wils.

Find out more about the Sochi Olympic Torch relay
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