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Jeremiah Bell
Jeremiah Bell

Torch Runner Olympics

The Olympic torch relay is the ceremonial relaying of the Olympic flame from Olympia, Greece, to the site of an Olympic Games. It was first performed at the 1936 Summer Olympics,[1] and has taken place prior to every Games since.

Torch Runner Olympics

Although in the past some Olympic organizing committees organized torch relays which encompassed multiple countries, the International Olympic Committee now restricts international relays due to the protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay, in which the relay was met with protests at several international sites on its way to Beijing, China.[2]

First used at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, the modern torches of the Summer and Winter Olympics are built to resist the effects of wind and rain as they carry the Olympic flame, and bear unique designs that represent the host country and the spirit of the Games.

The tradition of carrying the Olympic flame from Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games, to the host city of the modern Olympic Games via a torch relay was first introduced in 1936, ahead of the 1936 Summer Olympics. Since then, famous athletes (active or retired) with significant sporting achievements while representing the host country, promising young athletes, or other individuals with symbolic significance, have been selected as the last runners in the Olympic torch relay and consequently have the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony.

The first well-known major athlete to light the cauldron was nine-time Olympic champion Paavo Nurmi at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. Other famous final torch bearers include French football star Michel Platini (1992), heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali (1996), Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman (2000), the Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky (2010), the marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima (2016) and the South Korean figure skating champion Yuna Kim (2018).

A runner begins the torch relay (the first "Olympia Fackel-Staffel-Lauf") in Oympia, Greece., ca. July 1936.The 1936 Games were the first to employ the torch run. Each of 3,422 torch bearers ran one kilometer (0.6 miles) along the route of the torch relay from the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece, to Berlin. Former German Olympian Carl Diem modeled the relay after one that had been run in Athens in 80 B.C. It perfectly suited Nazi propagandists, who used torchlit parades and rallies to attract Germans, especially youth, to the Nazi movement.

On August 1, 1936, Hitler opened the 11th Summer Olympic Games. Inaugurating a new Olympic ritual, a lone runner arrived bearing a torch carried by relay from the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece. This photograph shows an Olympic torch bearer running through Berlin, passing by the Brandenburg Gate, shortly before the opening ceremony. Berlin, Germany, July-August 1936.

On August 1, 1936, Hitler opened the 11th Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Inaugurating a new Olympic ritual, a lone runner arrived bearing a torch carried by relay from the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece. This photograph shows the last of the runners who carried the Olympic torch arriving in Berlin to light the Olympic Flame, marking the start of the 11th Summer Olympic Games. Berlin, Germany, August 1, 1936.

Takayuki Ueno was set to be a runner in the now postponed Olympic torch relay in Fukushima, Japan. Here he stands in the field where he is growing a flower maze for children to play in Minamisoma, Japan. The field was flooded by the 2011 tsunami and killed Ueno's family members. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

Signs for the 2020 Olympics adorn the streets of Tokyo. Both the Olympics and the torch relay are postponed due to the global spread of the coronavirus. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe billed this year's Olympics as the "recovery games," hoping to highlight the massive cleanup efforts by the Japanese government along this coast. To drive that point home, the torch relay was supposed to start in Fukushima on Thursday, run by some of the people most affected by the events of 2011. The runners would weave the flame through the former nuclear exclusion zones.

Ueno, a 46-year-old wheat farmer, was supposed to run the torch on Thursday through his hometown of Minamisoma. His current home, down the street from the empty field he's standing in, is one of the only buildings around. His old house used to be here too.

A deserted school that was hit by the tsunami nearby Minamisoma, in Fukushima prefecture. The Olympic torch was set to stop in the area on the first day of the relay. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

The University of Pittsburgh Police Department participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, where the torch began a three-day journey from the North Shore in Pittsburgh to State College and Penn State University, which will host the Summer Games on June 2-4.

On Tuesday, May 10, an opening ceremony tooke place inside PNC Park, where the torch took a lap of honor around the basepaths and the outfield warning track. It then went on daylong tour through Pittsburgh.

By 2 p.m., the torch was received by the Pitt Police Department team at Fifth and Morewood avenues for the 10th leg of the relay. Pitt Police then ran with the torch down Fifth through Oakland. From there, the team made a left onto Halket Street and then another left onto Forbes Avenue. There, the runner and their escort made their way past the Jerome Cochran Public Safety Building, which is the Pitt Police headquarters.

The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolises the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city. For Paris 2024, the flame will visit all the regions of France starting in April 2024 as part of an epic relay that will pass through iconic locations creating moments for people to come together and celebrate the event throughout the country.

The Olympic and Paralympic torch relay form two separate chapters of a single story. The first part will take place from April 2024 with the Olympic torch relay and the second part will occur after the closing ceremony with the Paralympic torch relay.

A symbol of unity and peace, the torch spreads the spirit of the Games as it travels around the country, marking the start of celebrations. For the Paris 2024 Games, the torch relay will take place over a three-month period, but the process to select the participants and many of those involved, in particular from the sporting world, will begin creating lasting memories as early as September 2023.

Seiko Hashimoto, minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, on Friday denounced South Korean-made posters showing an Olympic torch relay runner wearing a hazmat suit and what appears to be radioactive material spewing from the torch.

The posters were reportedly drawn up by the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, a civic group. VANK said the intent was to raise the issue of nuclear safety as Japan prepares to host the 2020 Games. The torch relay will start at J-Village, near the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Two different 1995-dated $5 gold pieces were struck in both Mint State and Proof at the West Point Mint. The first version featured a runner holding the Olympic torch aloft, with the Atlanta skyline in the left field. The second version displayed the Olympic stadium and the logo for the Centennial Games. Both types shared a common reverse with a stylized eagle holding a banner in its beak.

But when you look at the numbers involved, commercialism is inevitable. Consider: 8,000 runners traveling some 8,000 miles across the U.K. carried the potential for monetary gain. Each and every runner taking part in the 70-day relay was offered to purchase the torch that they carried at the discounted cost of $314, rising to $339 if purchased on the day.

In December, he was one of 7,500 participants in the traditional Olympic torch relay that went through and around the host country for more than 1,200 miles. After his short run, he passed the flame to a robot from a lab designed by a Korean university.

The Olympic Torch Relay begins with the torch lighting in Olympia, Greece. From there, the journey to the host city varies from year to year. The Olympic Games Organizing Committee (OCOG) determines the route, as well as the theme, modes of transportation for the torch, and the stops that it will take along its way to the Opening Ceremony.

The torch is generally carried from one country to another on a plane. Once it arrives in a city, it usually spends one day being carried from torchbearer to torchbearer on foot. It may also be ferried from place to place by car, boat, bicycle, motorcycle, dog sled, horse, or virtually any other type of conveyance.

On certain legs of the relay, the torch must be housed in a special container. For a trip across the Great Barrier Reef before the 2000 Olympic Games, a special torch was designed to burn underwater. On airplanes, where open flames are not allowed, the flame is typically stored in an enclosed lamp, much like a Miner's lamp. At night, it is kept in a special cauldron until the relay begins once again the following day.

It is considered a great privilege to be chosen as a torchbearer. Athletes, actors, musicians, sports figures, and politicians have all carried the flame. In 1996, boxing legend Muhammed Ali lit the Olympic cauldron to mark the start of the Games in Atlanta. But the brunt of the running is done by average citizens all around the world.

Almost anyone can carry a torch, provided that he is at least 14 years old and is able to carry it for at least 400 meters (437 yards). Handicapped people can be (and have been) torchbearers -- they can carry the torch while riding in a wheelchair. The torchbearers are chosen by the Olympic sponsors and organizers, usually because they have made a significant contribution to their community and because they personify the theme of that particular Olympics. The Olympic sponsors (for example, Coca-Cola) also get to choose several torchbearers from within their organizations. 350c69d7ab


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