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Olympic Flame

The Olympic Flame, symbolising the Olympic ideal, has become an integral part of the celebration of the Olympic Games.

The flame is lit in ancient Olympia, Greece and is then transported, mostly by foot, to the site where the next Olympics are held. Runners carry the torch with the Olympic Flame for short distance, before handing it over to another runner. This relay ends at the day of the opening ceremony in the central stadium of these Games. The final carrier of the torch, usually a sports celebrity of the host country, will then use the flame start a flame in the stadium, which is kept burning throughout the celebration of the Olympics. It is extinguished at the closing ceremonies.


The Olympic Flame first burned at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, although there was no torch relay, and the flame was not lit by any specific person.

By an idea of Carl Diem[?], the torch relay was first held at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Since then, the torch relay and the lighting of the Olympic Flame have been a part of every celebration of the Summer Olympics. The flame for the Winter Olympics was first lighted before the 1952 Winter Olympics. For that occasion, the flame was lit in the house of Sondre Norheim, a Norwegian pioneer of winter sports.

In the 1960 Winter Olympics, John Hench's torch design was introduced, a model used for many years to come.


The people that have lit the Olympic Flame are listed below. As the equestrian events in 1956 were held in Stockholm, there were two flames lit in that year.

Olympic Flame
1936 Summer OlympicsFritz Schilgen[?]
1948 Summer OlympicsJohn Mark[?]
1952 Winter OlympicsEigil Nansen
1952 Summer OlympicsPaavo Nurmi and Hannes Kolehmainen[?]
1956 Winter OlympicsGuido Caroli[?]
1956 Summer Olympics
(equestrian events)
Ron Clarke[?]
Hans Wikne[?]
1960 Winter OlympicsKen Henry[?]
1960 Summer OlympicsGiancarlo Peris[?]
1964 Winter OlympicsJoseph Rieder[?]
1964 Summer OlympicsYoshinori Sakai[?]
1968 Winter OlympicsAlain Calmat[?]
1968 Summer OlympicsNorma Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo [?]
1972 Winter OlympicsHideki Takada[?]
1972 Summer OlympicsGünther Zahn[?]
1976 Winter OlympicsChristl Haas[?] and Josef Feistmantl[?]
1976 Summer OlympicsStéphane Préfontaine[?] and Sandra Henderson[?]
1980 Winter OlympicsCharles Kerr[?]
1980 Summer OlympicsSergey Belov[?]
1984 Winter OlympicsSandra Dubravcic[?]
1984 Summer OlympicsRafer Johnson[?]
1988 Winter OlympicsRobyn Perry[?]
1988 Summer OlympicsChung Sun-Man[?], Kim Won-Tak[?] and Sohn Mi-Chung[?]
1992 Winter OlympicsMichel Platini and François-Cyrille Grange[?]
1992 Summer OlympicsAntonio Rebollo[?]
1994 Winter OlympicsCrown Prince Haakon of Norway
1996 Summer OlympicsMuhammad Ali
1998 Winter OlympicsMidori Ito[?]
2000 Summer OlympicsCathy Freeman
2002 Winter OlympicsUS 1980 Olympic ice hockey team

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