Moscow 1980

Olympic Games Moscow 1980

Moscow 1980The Torch


Route Design and Details

After the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame was relayed night and day for a week across Greece. The relay in Bulgaria lasted six days, passing by the country’s main historical and cultural monuments. During its passage through the city of Lovesh, the torch was taken to the residence of Georgi Ivanov, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut.

The route through Romania went over the Friendship Bridge, which linked Bulgaria and Romania. Wrestler Dimitru Pirvulescu, a gold medallist in Rome in 1960, was the first Romanian torchbearer. In Romania, the relay covered 89 cities and villages. In Bucharest, 40,000 people welcomed the flame in the Dynamo Stadium for the first stage of the relay in the country.

On 5 July, the flame arrived in the Soviet Union. It was handed to Soviet athletes on the bridge that separated Romania and the Soviet Union near the Moldovan village of Leuşeni.

On 18 July, the flame entered Moscow. An official ceremony was organised for the occasion on Sovietskaya Square where a cauldron was lit. From this cauldron other torches were lit on 20 July and taken by special railcars to the cities of Tallinn, Leningrad, Minsk and Kiev who were also hosting certain of the sports events.

Map of the Route


Facts and Figures

Start date: 19 June 1980, Olympia (Greece)

End date: 19 July 1980, Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, Moscow (Soviet Union).

First torchbearer: Thanassis Kosmopoulos

Last torchbearer: Sergei Belov, Olympic participant in basketball (1968, 1972, 1976, 1980), gold medallist in Munich 1972 and bronze medallist in Mexico 1968, Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980.

Number of torchbearers: ~5,435: ~800 in Greece, 935 in Bulgaria, ~700 in Romania and ~3,000 in the Soviet Union

Recruitment of torchbearers: Generally, the torchbearers were chosen by sports and public organisations. The basic criteria for those that were considered was that they should have a personal sporting achievement to their name, be able to run 1,000 metres in under five minutes, have made a contribution to a sports organisation and had medical authorisation. In the Soviet Union, for example, the Moscow 1980 Games Organising Committee and the persons in charge of sports societies of the Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovian Socialist Republics launched a competition to choose the torchbearers. 1.5 million people took part, with 3,000 people selected in the end.

Distance: 5,000km (transport from Moscow to Tallinn, Leningrad, Minsk and Kiev excluded). 1,170km in Greece, 935km in Bulgaria, 593km in Romania and 2,302km in the Soviet Union.

Countries visited: Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Soviet Union

Torch Details

Description: The handle and upper part, which bears the inscription MOCKBA – OЛИМПИAДA - 1980, are made of silver. Around the burner is a golden-coloured cup formed of concentric circles. In the centre, on a gold-coloured protective screen, are the emblem of the Games and the Olympic rings.

Colour: Silver, red, gold

Height: 56.5cm

Composition: Aluminium

Fuel: Mixture of propane and butane. The combustion duration is 8 to 10 minutes.

Designer / Manufacturer: Valentin Ljubman, Boris Tuchin / Klimov Aircraft Engine Factory


Did You Know?

The safety lamp was specially designed by the same team of engineers who worked on the design of the torch. Fuelled by kerosene or liquid gas, the flame could burn inside it for up to 48 hours.


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