By Waliu Adeyeri
A major event that characterises the Olympics is the lighting of the Olympic Flame. This tradition dates as far back as the Ancient Greek era.
The ritual of lighting the flame can be traced to the celebration of the ancient Olympics. According to Greek mythology, the ritual is linked to the fire lit in honour of Zeus at the ancient Olympic Games.
You might be wondering what relevance such an ancient act got to do in this modern day. Here are some of the few things to know about the flame.
- The Modern Olympic flame was introduced in 1928 by architect Jan Wils who designed the stadium for the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
- The Olympic Flame symbolises the link between the Ancient and Modern Games: As stated above, the Olympic Games date as far back as the ancient Greek era. The lighting of the flame is used to symbolise the connection between the ancient Olympics and the modern Olympics.
- It also symbolises the Beginning of the Olympics: At the opening ceremony, the torchbearers carry the fire to the host city where the Olympic cauldron is placed at the centre of the stadium to light the event to life.
- The Extinguishing of the fire marks the close of the games: The cauldron is kept lit for the duration of the Games.
- The first and last torchbearers are particularly important during the process of lighting the cauldron. The first torchbearer takes the lead in the ritual process by passing the torch to the next person until it gets to the final torch bearer who walks up the steps to light the cauldron. The last torchbearer is usually a famous sports icon in the host country.
This year’s Olympics Games in Tokyo was lit up by Naomi Osaka. The torch was brought to the stadium by Saori Yoshida and former judoka Tadahiro Nomura.