Helsinki 1952

Olympic Games Helsinki 1952

Helsinki 1952The Torch


Route Design and Details

From Olympia, the flame was carried on foot to Athens. It flew to Aalborg, Denmark with two stops in Munich and Düsseldorf, Germany. In Denmark, Sweden and Finland, it was carried on foot and by other modes of transport.

4 July 1952: The flame reached Stockholm and entered the Olympic Stadium of the 1912 Games where it burned throughout the night.

17 July: The flame reached the city of Hämeenlinna, Finland, the site of the modern pentathlon events of the 1952 Games. From the Town Hall, it moved to the competition venue and burned there throughout the event.

19 July: At the Opening Ceremony, Paavo Nurmi, the famous runner who won nine gold medals and three silver medals at three Summer Olympic Games (1920, 1924 and 1928), lit a temporary two-metre high cauldron in the stadium. Four Helsinki footballers then took the flame to the top of the Stadium’s tower, where Hannes Kolehmainen, another famous Finnish runner, then lit the main cauldron.

Map of the Route


Facts and Figures

Start date: 25 June 1952, Olympia (Greece)

End date: 19 July 1952, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki (Finland)

First torchbearer: Christos Panagopoulos

Last torchbearer: Hannes Kolehmainen, Olympic participant in athletics (1912, 1920, 1924), three time gold medallist and silver medallist in Stockholm 1912, and gold medallist in Antwerp 1920.

Number of torchbearers: 3,042: 342 in Greece, 650 in Denmark, 700 in Sweden, 1,350 in Finland.

Distance: 7,492km (non-Olympic relay excluded): 342km in Greece, 505km in Denmark (including a 55km Copenhagen-Malmö leg by boat), 2,392km in Sweden, 1,128km in Finland, 3,125km Athens-Aalborg flight

Countries visited: Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Finland

Torch Details

Description: On the upper metal part, the torch bears the inscriptions “XV Olympia Helsinki 1952” and “Helsinki Helsingfors”, the Olympic rings and a wreath. The handle is made of lacquered birch wood.

Colour: Brown, silver, beige

Height: 59cm

Composition: Silver, metal, wood

Fuel: Liquid gas. The combustion time of the cartridge is at least 21 minutes.

Designer / Manufacturer: Aukusti Tuhka / Kultakeskus Oy


Did You Know?

The fuel cartridge of the torch is quickly detachable and replaceable. Because of this, the organisers produced only 22 torches and 1,600 cartridges. The torches were reused along the route.

The flame that was 1.5m wide and up to 4m high burned at the top of the Olympic Stadium tower 72m above the ground.

It was for the relay for the Games in Helsinki in 1952 that the Olympic flame made its first trip by plane, flying from Athens to Aalborg. It was preserved in a safety lamp.

On 6 July 1952, a non-Olympic relay kicked off in the Pallastunturi fells in Lapland, using a flame that was lit on the Taivaskero summit from the midnight sun’s rays. It was carried by 330 runners over 378km to Tornio, a border city close to Sweden. There, on 8 July, it merged with the Olympic torch relay flame, which had just entered Finland carried by Olympic gold medallist in the discus at Antwerp 1920, and silver medallist in the hammer event at Los Angeles 1932, Ville Pörhölä. The meeting of the two flames symbolised the coming together of southern and northern countries at the Games.


Discover the Games

The Brand

A visual identity is developed for each edition of the Olympic Games.



The Medals

Beginning as an olive wreath, medal designs have evolved over the years.



The Torch

An iconic part of any Olympic Games, each host offers their unique version.