We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Olympic Torch Relay?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Olympic Torch Relay is an international event which is designed to get the whole world involved with the Olympic Games, a symbol of brotherhood and friendship which involves athletes from many countries scattered across the Earth. Over the course of the Olympic Torch Relay, a flame is continually passed from torchbearer to torchbearer across the world, traveling from Olympia, Greece, to the stadium where the Olympic Games are held, where the flame is used to light a cauldron. This cauldron then remains lit for the duration of the Olympic Games.

Along the way, the Olympic Flame passes through thousands of hands and travels in some very unusual ways to an assortment of places. As the Flame travels, events are held to celebrate it in major cities, and these events also generate excitement about the Olympics. The Olympic Torch Relay typically begins several months before a scheduled Olympic Games, allowing the Olympic Flame to follow a meandering and complex route.

Fire has many associations in many cultures. For the Greeks, fire is closely associated with Prometheus, who stole fire from the god Zeus, and a fire was kept burning throughout the duration of the Ancient Greek Olympiad. In 1928, the tradition of keeping a flame burning during the Olympics was renewed, and organizers came up with the idea of creating an Olympic Torch Relay which would start at the ancient seat of the Olympics.

The Olympic Torch Relay starts with a ceremony in Greece, where a group of women dressed as priestesses lights the Mother Flame using a parabolic mirror and the rays of the sun. Once the flame is lit, it is transferred to a torch which has been designed to resist high winds and rain, and the Olympic Torch Relay commences, with the flame being carried through major cities on foot and then transported via faster methods of transportation between major points on the route.

The Olympic Torch Relay may travel by plane, in which case the flame is enclosed in a special case to comply with air safety regulations. The torch can also go by boat, horse, wheelchair, camel, skier, sled, snorkler, as was the case during the 2000 Olympic Games, when the Olympic Torch traveled underwater along the Great Barrier Reef, or any sort of conveyance you can imagine. Anyone can be a torchbearer, although the Olympic committee usually seeks out people who have made significant contributions to their communities, ranging from NASA scientists to the Secretary of the United Nations.

Once the torch arrives at the Olympic Stadium, it is used to light the cauldron for the games. Often a high-profile athlete from the host nation lights the cauldron, and he or she is accompanied by a procession. In some cases, the final torchbearer might make a splashy entry which references his or her sport. Archers, for example, have used flaming arrows to light the Olympic Cauldron.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Feb 12, 2014
Animandel - I agree, Ali was a good choice to carry the torch as the final torch bearer and light the flame. I think the year he did that was 1996. The Olympics were held in the United States that summer. The city was Atlanta, Georgia.
By Animandel — On Feb 11, 2014

The torch relay has provided some moving moments for me over the years. The people who are chosen to run with the flame are remarkable individuals who have in many cases fought or are fighting tremendous battles. Some of those battles are fights against physical restraints and others are fights against injustices that remain in your society. Many of them are also chosen because they are past Olympians.

The torch bearer I remember, the one that is etched in my memory is Muhammad Ali. He was long since retired when he carried the torch and lit the flame at the Olympics. I don't recall the exact year.

His body was shaking a bit, symptoms of disease. What I remember most is his presence and his spirit. That's the image I most associate with the Olympics.

By Sporkasia — On Feb 11, 2014

The torch relay is a great way of connecting people from all over the world symbolically. Think about all the hands that will touch the torch from the time it originates in Greece until it reaches its destination in the host country. The Olympics should be as much about bringing people together as about winning medals.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.