History of the Olympic flame
* The flame dates back to the ancient games. Each games would begin with the lighting of the flame.BBC 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 relay heading for 1,000 places
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...
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: 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 Relay: Bolton to Liverpool
The torch travels through Lancashire and down the coast to Knotty Ash, made famous by Ken Dodd and his Diddy Men characters, via Aintree Racecourse to Liverpool, home of The Beatles, two top football clubs and once known for its wealth as the "Second City of Empire".BBC Torch Relay: Bolton to Liverpool
Read more on the BBC News website below...
Fact file: The 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.
* Eight thousand to be made in the UK.
* The torch will flame from the crown and sides of its top.
Source: BBC News
Torch Relay: Liverpool to Castletown
Leaving Liverpool, the torch arrives on the Isle of Man, famous for its tailless cats and TT motorcycle races.BBC Torch Relay: Liverpool to Castletown
The torch hitches a ride on a bike, visits the capital Douglas and the Laxey Wheel, at 22m the tallest working waterwheel in the world.
Follow the full route on the BBC News website below...
- Roger Johnson
- Steve Parry