The Olympic flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. In contrast to the Olympic flame proper, the torch realy of modern times, which transports the flame from Greece to the various designated sites of the games, had no ancient precedent and was introduced by Carl Diem in Berlin.
The altar of the sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera maintained a continuous flame.Fire was also present at many of the sanctuaries in Olympia, Greece. During the Olympic Games, which honoured Zeus, additional fires were lit at his temple and that of his wife, Hera. The modern Olympic flame is ignited at the site where the temple of Hera used to stand.
The tradition was reintroduced during the 1928 Games.
Carl Diem devised the idea of the torch relay for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin that was organized by the Nazis under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels. The Krupp armaments company produced the torches in wood and metal, inspired by an olive leaf. The Olympic flame was lit by a concave mirror in Olympia, Greece and transported over 3,187 kilometres by 3,331 runners in twelve days and eleven nights from Greece to Berlin. Leni Riefenstahl later staged the torch relay for the 1938 film Olympia. The film was part of the Nazi propaganda machine's attempt to add myth and mystique to Adolf Hitler's regime. Hitler saw the link with the ancient Games as the perfect way to illustrate his belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich.
Although most of the time the torch with the Olympic flame is still carried by runners, it has been transported in many different ways. The fire travelled by boat to cross the English Channel and was carried by rowers in...