The Long Journey of the Olympic Torch 

The running of the Olympic torch is an important ceremony before the Olympic Games begin.

This July, the Olympic Games take place in Paris, France. However, an important part of the Olympics is already underway. The fire for the Olympic torch has already been lit. Now, it makes its long journey from Greece to Paris. There, it will light the Olympic Cauldron [a structure constructed to hold fire] as part of the opening ceremony. 

On April 16, the Olympic torch was lit in a ceremony near the ruins of temples devoted to Ancient Greek gods. These temples are in Olympia, Greece. This is the site where the Olympic Games were first held in Ancient Greece. Eleven women used a parabolic mirror to light the torch with the sun’s heat. Then the torch was handed to the first of many runners. Each runner brings the torch to the next runner. When they meet, they pass the fire to the next runner’s torch. The runners will run all the way from Olympia, Greece to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Paris. 

For the Paris Olympics, the Olympic flame is taking an even longer journey. After visiting historic locations in France, the Olympic torch will visit some of France’s territories [places controlled by a country far away] as well. On June 7, the flame will be brought aboard a large ship. It will visit Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Reunion Island. This voyage will take nine days. It will cross three oceans! On June 18, it will return to France and finish its journey to Paris for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 26. 

The Olympic torch is an important symbol. What is most significant is that the fire will originate in Olympia, Greece. Carrying the flame from Greece to the Olympics symbolizes the tradition of the Olympic Games travelling across the world. 

What Do You Think? Why do you think symbols like the Olympic flame are important? 

Photo Credit:Chris Ryan/Age Fotostock