What is the Olympic flame and the Torch relay?

  • What is the Olympic flame and the Torch relay?

    The Olympic flame is the flame which is kindled in Olympia under the authority of the IOC. In the context of the modern Games, the Olympic flame is a manifestation of the positive values that Man has always associated with the symbolism of fire and thus makes the link between the ancient and the modern Games.

    A few months before the opening of the Olympic Games, a flame is lit at Olympia, in Greece. The location recalls the link between the Ancient Olympic Games and their modern counterpart. From there, the Flame is carried for a number of weeks to the host city, mainly on foot by runners, but also using other forms of transport.

    Throughout the Torch relay, the flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace and friendship between peoples. The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The final runner (or sometimes runners) enters the stadium and lights the cauldron with the Olympic flame. The Games can then begin!

    Learn more:

    • Reference documents on the Olympic torch relays (Summer / Winter)
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