History of the Olympic flame
* The flame dates back to the ancient games. Each games would begin with the lighting of the flame.BBC News: Torch Relay 2012
* Once lit the flame was taken around ancient Greece. It signalled a truce and peace in any on-going conflicts for the period of the games.
* The flame is still lit in a similar manner. A parabolic mirror reflects the rays of the sun on to the torch.
* The ceremony takes place at Olympia, the site of the ancient games. It takes place on the alter of the goddess Hera.
* The flame commemorates the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus.
* The flame was first re-introduced to the modern games in 1928.
* The Olympic Torch Relay dates from the 1936 Berlin Games. The flame is lit in a precise ritual in Olympia in Greece. Subsequently, it makes a short journey around Greece before being passed into the hands of the host city.
* Runners called ‘torchbearers’ pass the flame on until it reaches the cauldron at the host’s main Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony.
* The Olympic flame burns until the end of the Games.
Feature: Olympic torch design
Although harking back to ancient times, the Olympic torch relay is a modern phenomenon which began in 1936.BBC News: Torch designs
For each Olympic Games, a new torch is designed to carry the flame on a journey to the host city.
Read an article about the history of the torch designs on the BBC website below...
Torch locations in the West
The London 2012 Olympic torch relay begins on 19 May 2012 at Land's End and ends 70 days later on 27 July at the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.BBC News: London 2012: Torch relay heading for 1,000 places
Explore the map of the west of England to find out where the torch is going on a feature on the BBC News website below...
Feature: What is the Olympic torch relay?
From 19 May 2012, the Olympic torch relay will tour the UK in the run-up to the London Games - taking 70 days, carried by 8,000 torchbearers.BBC News: London 2012: What is the Olympic torch relay?
Organisers say 95% of the country's population should be within one hour of the route, which ends on 27 July with the lighting of the cauldron during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, Stratford.
Read the full feature about the torch on the BBC News website below...
Torch route through greater Bristol area
The Olympic torch relay will pass Bath's historic Royal Crescent en route to the opening ceremony of London 2012.BBC News: Torch route through greater Bristol area revealed
It will pass the Georgian landmark on 22 May as the flame travels between Taunton and Bristol.
After an overnight stop in Bristol it passes through Flax Bourton, Nailsea and Failand before heading back to the city over Clifton Suspension Bridge.
The journey through the Bristol area is part of a 70-day tour across the UK.
Read the full feature on the BBC News website below...
Fact file: Olympic torch
Designed by Barber Osgerby.
It is made of an aluminium alloy
8,000 holes in two layers.
Contains propane-butane burner
80cm tall, 10cm wide at top, 4.5cm wide at base.
The torch is coated in gold or titanium nitride.
8,000 to be made in UK.
The torch will flame from the crown and sides of its top.
Source: BBC News
- John Inverdale
- Amy Williams
- Alex Baxter
- Executive Producer
- Neil Bennett