The Olympic Torch Relay
Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrives in the UK on 18 May 2012 before setting out the next day on a 70-day Olympic Torch Relay, bringing the excitement of the Games to everyone.
The Olympic Flame stands for peace, unity and friendship. It was carried by 8,000 truly inspirational Torchbearers.
Where is the Olympic Flame going?
The Olympic Flame traveled to within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey during the 70-day Torch Relay. It enabled local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer – from breathtaking landscapes to dynamic urban areas.
Carrying the Olympic Flame
Together with our Presenting Partners Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, London 2012 found 8,000 truly inspirational people from across the UK to carry the Olympic Flame – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Each Torchbearer carried the Flame for around 300 metres.
We will do our best to make sure each Torchbearer carries the Flame in, or near to, their local area, to help friends and family cheer them on along the way.
There is a nomination process for the 8,000 Torchbearers. It is an English-speaking Relay and nominators/nominees will need to speak English in order to take part.
The Olympic Flame, Torch and Relay started at the ancient Olympic Games in Greece and were important parts of the cultural festivals of the Ancient Games.
The first modern-day Olympic Torch Relay took place at the Berlin 1936 Games and was based on the ancient ceremonies. The significance of the ritual – and the call to peace – is still respected in the modern Torch Relay.
Lighting the Flame
A very precise ritual for the lighting of the Flame is followed at every Games. It is lit from the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the home of the Ancient Games.
After a short relay around Greece, the Flame is handed over to the new Host City at another ceremony in the Panathenaiko stadium in Athens.
The Flame is then delivered to the Host Country, where it is transferred from one Torchbearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship.
It ends its journey as the last Torchbearer lights the cauldron at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the Games. The Flame is put out on the final day of the Games, at the Closing Ceremony.
Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung are the three Presenting Partners of the Olympic Torch Relay. They will each help London 2012 to recruit the 8,000 Torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame.