Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay - from Ancient Greece to London

It’s an Olympic year! And the Muse is very excited because this year the Games are going to be held in London.

Right now, the Olympic flame is making its way around Britain to the 2012 stadium, passing through as many towns and cities as possible so that everyone gets a chance to see it.

Here it comes...

You might have already seen the torch pass through your town, but do you know how far it has travelled? For each modern Olympic Games, the torch is lit by the sun’s rays reflected in a mirror at the site of goddess Hestia’s ancient temple in Olympia, Greece. Then it is transported to whichever country is holding the games that year.

A runner carries the torch through our local town.
 This year, the flame travelled to Athens, where it got on a plane called “Firefly” and flew to Land’s End in Cornwall. A relay of runners then picked it up to carry around Britain, passing the fire from torch to torch.

Having passed on the Olympic flame, the tired runner takes his unlit torch back on the bus - can you see all the torches in the window? 

After its long journey around the country (see the route and more photos here), the flame will reach London in time for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Games in July.

But at the ancient Olympic Games, the flame did not have to travel so far, since they were always held in the same place (Muse: Olympia in Greece, which gave the games their name). The torch relay was actually a religious procession, when victorious athletes carried the sacred fire from the temple of the goddess Hestia around the altars of the various gods and goddesses, finishing at the temple that housed the famous statue of Zeus Olympia, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia - one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Olympic flame also makes an appearance in one of my Seven Fabulous Wonders books.

Sosi has to take his brother’s place at the ancient Games when Persian terrorists use sorcery to attack the athletes. Luckily, Sosi knows how to shape change - a magical gift he has inherited from his ancestors. But looking exactly like his brother is one thing, running as fast as him quite another! Can Sosi fool the judges long enough to save the Games? Find out in The Olympic Conspiracy, recently re-published as an ebook for Kindle:


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