Full set of Olympic torches from The Olympic Museum in Beijing for exhibition

The arrival of the Olympic flame in Beijing on 20 October was marked by the opening of an exclusive exhibition of a complete set of Olympic torches that recount the history of summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games.

Beijing 2022

The full set of Olympic torches have travelled to Beijing, People’s Republic of China, on loan from The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The exhibition entitled “The Flame Passing Through Space and Time” opened on 20 October at the Beijing Olympic Tower, in the run-up to the Olympic Winter Games, which begin in February.

The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games said in a statement: “The Olympic Tower is a permanent landmark of the five rings. It is located in the Olympic Forest Park, on the central axis of Beijing. With a design concept based on the ‘tree of life’, it reflects the vigorous spirit of the five rings of the Olympic Games.”

“We chose to hold the exhibition here in order to let the audience feel the charm of the Olympic Games again, in an atmosphere full of Olympic spirit. In the exhibition, we will show the torches of previous Olympic Games and introduce the history of the Olympic torch relay. At the same time, we will also display the torches and torchbearers’ uniforms for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games.”

Torch Relay of Calgary 1988 IOC

The exhibition begins with a walk down memory lane, as torches from all previous editions of the Games are presented in chronological order, complete with the stories behind each of the torch relays.

“There are little nuggets of information that will delight all visitors,” said Frederique Jamolli, Head of International Cultural Affairs at the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) that facilitated the loan of the torches. “For example, the Torch Relay of Calgary 1988 covered a distance of 18,000km in 88 days, even going past Inuvik, situated beyond the Arctic Circle where temperatures fall below -30°C.”

“Another story is the one behind the Lillehammer 1994 torch. It was the first time in Olympic history that the torch was passed between two parachutists, above the German city of Grefrath. The relay also ended in an impressive manner: the Olympic flame flew through the air with its torchbearer, Stein Gruben, who jumped from a ski jump whilst holding the torch in his hand. HRH Prince Haakon Magnus then lit the cauldron.”

Lillehammer 1994 torch IOC

In addition to the torches, the exhibition displays the torchbearer uniforms and the flame of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The exhibition concludes with an immersive audience experience where visitors can take an instant photograph with a digitally-imposed lit Beijing 2022 torch, in front of a variety of customised backgrounds.

The Olympic torch exhibition at the Beijing Olympic Tower will continue to be open to residents of the host city until the end of the Paralympic Games.

The Olympic Winter Games will take place between 4 and 20 February and the Paralympic Winter Games will be held from 4 until 13 March 2022.

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