Athens

It’s more than just a torch

By: Travel Mammal

No matter what its shape or size, the Olympic Torch is arguably the most unifying and celebratory animate inanimate object in history!

It has traveled millions of miles throughout dozens of countries over the years.

It has made many friends throughout its existence and has rubbed others the wrong way.  

It never ceases to amaze me how a single torch has the power to consciously beckon people to come see it. 

Think about it.  

Can you come up with another object that can, every four years, command as much respect at every turn and every leg, throughout all corners of the World as much as the Olympic Torch? 

That kind of respect is usually reserved for beloved religious and political figures.  Not for a torch.

And yet, here we are. Talking about the Torch.  

Billions of people yearn for a glimpse, few are lucky enough to hold it.  

And those that do never forget the moment. It’s history they’re holding.  

But as we know, it’s not the Torch that binds the masses.  

It’s the Flame. 

The Flame is the true symbol of the Games.  And it has always traveled with a Greek passport.  

It commemorates the moment Prometheus (not the movie, the Titan) who stole fire from Zeus for human use.  That single act by Prometheus enabled humanity, us mere Mortals, to achieve progress and civilization.  He is considered a champion of mankind.  It was a ballsy move considering the repercussions he would later pay.  

Olympia, Greece. Every four years, 11 women representing the Vestal Virgins use a parabolic mirror to capture the concentrated rays of the Sun.  The Flame is born, the Torch lit. 

English: Ignition of the olympic torch at the ...

In ancient times during the original Games, an alter dedicated to the goddess Hestia maintained a continuous flame.  In modern times, the Flame is ignited at the site where the temple of Hera used to stand. 

Amazing how the Flame, after thousands of years, ignites imagination, passion, unity, laughter and hope.  Amazing how the Flame represents the glory and tradition of the past and continues to celebrate the human spirit.

Amazing how the Flame symbolizes all that is good and pure. Represents the human will to use God-given gifts and abilities. To compete using body, mind and soul. To push personal boundaries and reach the zenith of being.  

The Torch may be inanimate. But it’s the Flame that represents the human spirit; sacred, ever-lasting and not easily defeated.  

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