The torch relay from Olympia began at the 1936 games in Berlin; devised by Carl Diem as a propaganda ploy for the Nazis, it afterwards became an Olympic tradition. In ancient Greece, a fire was lit by the sun and burned until the close of the games. The practice of maintaining an Olympic flame was revived at the 1928 games in Amsterdam.
The Olympic flame is the fire that is kept burning from the beginning to the conclusion of the Olympic Games, and the Olympic torch is the vessel by which the flame is transported from the birthplace of the Olympics in Olympia, Greece, to the site of the current games. According to the International Olympic Committee, the flame represents the purity and positive values associated with fire.
Several months before the opening ceremony of the games, the flame is lit by the light of the sun in Olympia, Greece, using a parabolic mirror. At the Temple of Hydra, 11 women representing vestal virgins perform the ceremony. The torch makes a short relay tour of Greece, and then after a ceremony in Athens begins its journey to the host city. Usually there is not one torch, but many. For the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, there were 14,000 torches and 14,000 runners. The torches have traveled by foot, bicycle, horseback, camel, canoe, plane and many other conveyances to some of the most remote parts of the Earth. For the Sochi Olympics, torches went to the world's deepest lake in Siberia, the North Pole via nuclear-powered icebreaker, the top of Mount Elbrus, Russia's highest peak and the International Space Station.Learn More
There is no official national flower of Japan, but the unofficial national flower of Japan is the chrysanthemum. The chrysanthemum, which is most commonly referred to as the cherry blossom, has long been recognized as the symbol of the Japanese imperial family. The discovery and cultivation of this flower is said to date back to 15th century China.Full Answer >
Although it lags behind football in popularity, baseball is still widely considered America's national sport and is commonly referred to as "America's pastime." Baseball, as it is widely known, was invented by Alexander Cartwright in 1845.Full Answer >
The matadors of the Spanish corrida, or bullfight, wear a ceremonial outfit called traje de luces, or "suit of lights," and a montera, which is a traditional folk hat. The red cape that the bullfighters wave about is a muleta, and the sword used to deliver the killing blow is the estoque.Full Answer >
French cuisine is ever-changing, complex and varies by region, but there are some main staples, namely bread, cheese and wine. The French eat breads such as baguettes and croissants and a lot of cheeses such as Comté and Brie. Wine is the main drink of choice in France.Full Answer >