The Olympic torch that will carry the Olympic flame on its 95-day tour of Brazil is no ordinary means of illumination. As the flame is passed on from one torchbearer to another, the receiving torch will open out to reveal coloured sections symbolising the diversity and vitality of Brazil.
Some 12,000 relay runners – each covering a distance of around 200 metres – will carry the Rio 2016 torch across Brazil. An Olympic symbol that has represented peace, unity, friendship and much more besides for the last 80 years, the torch boasts a very special design for this year’s relay.
Weighing 1-1.5kg and standing 69cm high when fully extended, the Rio 2016 torch is fashioned from recycled aluminium and resin, and boasts a satin finish.
When lit, the torch opens out to reveal five coloured segments, each of which represent a distinctive feature of a country that is diverse, vibrant and teeming with nature, and which occupies an area of 8,514,876 square kilometres – virtually half of South America – from the equator to the Tropic of Capricorn and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Amazonian rainforest.
Golden in hue, the upper section of the torch represents the sun that shines the whole year round on a country that has no winter, only a rainy season. The Rio 2016 logo and the five Olympic rings sit proudly over the coloured sections. Picked out in a striking green, the first section depicts the lush vegetation of the mountains that surround Rio.
The next two segments are blue in colour and form waves as they open, mirroring the sea that forms such an integral part of the Rio landscape.
The final segments represent the ground, and in particular the mosaic promenade that runs for several kilometres alongside the world-famous Copacabana beach and whose beguiling dark and light patterns prove an irresistible draw for visitors to the city.
The Rio 2016 torch also expresses the Olympic spirit, both through its triangular shape, which reflects its three values (excellence, friendship and respect), and its extending sections, which are inspired by the movements made by athletes.
As well as transmitting an infectious energy whenever two torches “kiss”, it evokes nature at its most vibrant by revealing the shapes that Rio’s natural surroundings take and the colours of Brazil, while also encapsulating harmony in diversity, with its various components coming together as one.
Nearly 90 percent of Brazil’s inhabitants will have the chance to admire and celebrate the torch on its epic journey through 329 cities, towns and villages across the country, with its final destination being the Olympic Stadium in Rio, where the Opening Ceremony is set to take place on 5 August.