The Olympic flame altar is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics.
The fire was introduced at the Games of the IX Olympiad 1928 in Amsterdam. And it has been part of the Olympic Games ever since. The Olympic Torch today is ignited several months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. This is situated at the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece. Eleven women, representing the Vestal Virgins perform a celebration at the Temple of Hera. In the temple the torch is kindled by the light of the Sun, its rays concentrated by a parabolic mirror.
The Olympic Torch Relay
The torch briefly travels around Greece via short relay. And then starts its transfer to the host city after a ceremony in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. The Olympic Torch Relay ends on the day of the opening ceremony in the central stadium of the Games. The final carrier is often kept unannounced until the last moment, and is usually a sports celebrity of the host country. The final bearer of the torch runs towards the cauldron. This is often placed at the top of a grand staircase, and then uses the torch to start the flame in the arena.
The torch bearer
It is considered to be a great honor to be asked to light the Olympic flame. After being lit, the flame continues to burn throughout the Games, until the day of the closing ceremony and celebration. Then it is finally put out, it is symbolising the official end of the Games.
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