Seoul 1988

Olympic Games Seoul 1988

Seoul 1988The Torch


Route Design and Details

After the lighting ceremony in Olympia, the flame travelled across Greece for three days and two nights to arrive in Athens. From there, following a stopover in Bangkok, it travelled to the Korean island of Cheju-do, which it reached on 27 August.

On Cheju Island, two young pupils from Cheju school, a boy and a girl, marked the start of the next stage of the relay, which crossed the island clockwise. On 28 August, the flame set sail on board the Olympia 88 for Busan, where a cauldron was lit in Yongdusan Park. The following day, the main relay continued. The cauldron remained lit in the Park until 12 September, when a secondary relay of 18.2km took the flame to the city’s sailing club, where the sailing events were being hosted.

The main relay crossed the country from east to west, to symbolise harmony. In Kangnung, 12 young mothers carried the flame while pushing their children, all born in 1988.

On 16 September, the flame arrived in Seoul. It was taken to the City Hall, where it was received by the mayor of the city. On the day of the Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried into the stadium by Kee Chung Sohn, the legendary marathon winner of the 1936 Games, then participating under the name Kitei Son. Then, young sprinter Chun-Ae Im passed the flame to the last three torchbearers, who lit the cauldron together.

Map of the Route


Facts and Figures

Start date: 23 August 1988, Olympia (Greece)

End date: 17 September 1988, Olympic Stadium, Seoul (Republic of Korea)

First torchbearer: Athanassios “Thanassis” Kalogiannis, Olympic participant in athletics (1984, 1992).

Last torchbearers: Won-Tak Kim, Olympic participant in athletics (1988), Sun-Man Chung and Mi-Chung Sohn

Number of torchbearers: 380 in Greece, 1,467 in the Republic of Korea

Recruitment of torchbearers: The Organising Committee chose torchbearers who lived in the cities crossed by the relay. Additionally, they also chose foreigners and Koreans living abroad based on the aim of promoting the relay internationally. 37,011 candidatures were received in total.

Among the torchbearers, there were celebrities, athletes, artists, people who had contributed to the development of the community, people with a disability, children, elderly people, religious people and representatives of various professions.

Distance: 358km in Greece, 4,168km in the Republic of Korea, of which 1,414km was on foot, 2,188km was by car, 493km by boat, ~60km by bike, ~5km by motorbike and 7km on horseback

Countries visited: Greece, Thailand, Republic of Korea

Torch Details

Description: The torch bears the inscription “Games of the XXIV Olympiad Seoul 1988” on the edge of the ring. Its handle is made of leather. At the top of the torch is the Olympic emblem as well as traditional Korean designs representing two engraved dragons symbolising the harmony of East and West. In Chinese astrology, the dragon was also the sign for the year 1988.

Colour: Brown, bronze

Height: 51cm

Composition: Metal, copper, leather, plastic

Fuel: Manganese dioxide, barium chromate, magnesium and phosphorous

Designer/ Manufacturer: Lee Woo-Sung / Korea Explosives Co. Ltd.


Did You Know?

The safety lamp design was a scaled down version an ancient Korean astronomical observatory, Chomsongdae. A total of nine lamps measuring 35cm in height and 15cm in diameter were produced. Their composition of threefold steel plate and special aluminium was chosen in order to resist wind and pressure. Fuelled by kerosene, they could burn for up to 140 hours.

To commemorate the arrival of the torch on the island of Cheju, the Organising Committee decided to erect a monument in Shinsan Park and plant olive and cypress trees around it. The sculpture was made up of a granite base and eight vertically oblique columns which symbolised the Games of ’88 as well as a spiral in the centre which represented the five Olympic rings and the flame. It was unveiled, at noon, on 27 August 1988, when the torch arrived at the Park.

The Olympic cauldron measured 5.5m in diameter and was perched on top of a slender, 22m octahedral post. To light it, the last three torchbearers were raised by an elevator placed around the central post.


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 Mascot

An original image, it must give concrete form to the Olympic spirit.



The Torch

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