The Olympic Torch Relay
Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived 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 did the Olympic Flame go?
The Olympic Flame travelled to within an hour of 95 percent of people in the UK, the 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.
The towns and cities hosting evening celebrations, the island visits, and all of the communities on route are displayed on the Olympic Torch Relay map.
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 truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Find out more about the Torchbearers.
We did our best to make sure each Torchbearer carried the Flame in, or near to, their local area to help friends and family cheer them on along the way.
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 Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the Games. The Flame then stays lit until it is put out at the Closing Ceremony, signifying the end of the Games.