The 2018 Winter Olympics begin this week in one important symbolic sense, with the lighting of the famous Olympic Torch. The Olympic Torch is the great enduring symbol of the Olympic Games, which beyond the stories of intense dedication and individual achievement are also an important and inspiring example of global cooperation. Nations compete both against and with each other, rules are followed, and great human accomplishments are enabled through teamwork. It all starts with the Olympic Torch, which is lit in Olympia, Greece more than three months before it will ultimately light the Olympic cauldron in South Korea for the Opening Ceremonies.
Here are 7 amazing facts about the journey of the Olympic Torch:
- After being lit in Greece, the Olympic Torch will travel more than 5,000 miles to get to South Korea, arriving near November 1.
— Olympic Flame (@OlympicFlame) October 24, 2017
- Once it arrives it South Korea, the Olympic Torch will makes its way all around the host country. It will begin its journey in Incheon, a city of 2.9 million people, and travel until it arrives in PyeongChang on February 9 for the opening ceremonies. (PyeonChang was transformed for the Olympics — it’s a county of just 45,000 residents.)
- The Olympic Torch Relay will bring the torch through 9 cities in South Korea. The Torch Relay, which resembles a slow motion version of the Olympics track and field event by the same name, is called “a symbol of peace, friendship, tolerance, and hope” by the Olympic Committee.
- Each Olympics has a different torch. The host nation designs the torch, which this year “is exactly 700mm in length, representing the altitude of PyeonChang, which is 700 meters above sea level. The white and gold tones of the torch mirror the main colours of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games Torch Relay, while the five-pronged shape of the flame is based on the Korean symbol for PyeongChang, which is also engraved around the bottom half and top of the torch.”
- The torchbearers will carry the torch through South Korea for 101 days, with the intention of “that the flame will truly ‘Let Everyone Shine’ and spark passion and excitement before the Games,” according to POCOG President Lee Hee-beom. “Let Everyone Shine” is the theme of the 2018 South Korea Olympics.
올림픽의 시작을 알리는 성화봉송의 공식 주제가 뮤비와 함께, 20일 후 대한민국에서 시작되는 성화봉송의 열기와 현장감을 미리 만나보세요!😆 Feel the passion and excitement of the Olympic Torch Relay with the official theme song for the #PyeongChang2018 torch relay. . #olympics #OlympicTorch #TorchRelay #themesong #song #평창올림픽 #성화봉송 #공식주제가 #인순이 #홍보대사 #성화도착_20일남았습니다
- South Korea has been running a series of “torch relay test events” to be certain that when the real Olympic Torch arrives, its procession through the country is a smooth one.
- Korean designer Young Se Kim (b. 1950) designed the torch. He also designs cufflinks you can buy. And a whole lot more. He is based now in San Francisco and is a famous figure in his home country.