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OLYMPIC REVIEW59OLYMPIC FLAME

and the reward was the right to light the fire for thegreat sacrifice. And with that - or so Pilostratos'sGymnasia tells us -the first Olympiad was born. Today, the Olympic Charter refers to the protocolelements that must be observed at the OpeningCeremony of the Olympic Games. Of those - whichinclude the speeches from the host country's head ofstate, the President of the Organising Committee andthe IOC President;the athletes parade; the playing ofthe Olympic anthem, the entry and raising of theOlympic flag; the taking of the Olympic oath -it is,without doubt, the last stage of the Olympic torchrelay and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron whichwould resonate most with our ancient forebears -and with the millions of spectators across the world today.And yet, as Olympic traditions go, it was late incoming. The modern Olympic Movement may havebegun as far back as 1896, but it wasn't until 1928,in Amsterdam, that the lighting of the Olympic torchwas first reintroduced. Even then it was a staticevent, and it wasn't until eight years later, at the1936 Summer Games in Berlin, that the torch relaywas to fully take the form that is so familiar today.Inspired by both the torch races of AncientGreece and the tradition of the burning flame at thealtar of Hestia - lit by the winner of the first race atOlympia, and kept alight until the next games, whenit was to be lit anew -Carl Diem, Secretary Generalof the Organising Committee of the Games of the XIOlympiad, suggested a flame be lit in Olympia andcarried to Berlin. It was, as Diem certainly intended itto be, a deeply moving and symbolic event.On 20 July, 1936 Greek athlete KonstantinKondylis became the first modern torchbearer to carrythe flame from the temple of Hera in Olympia, using atorch modelled on images taken from ancient pottery.From there it was to be carried by a further 3,330people across 3,187 km -from Greece to Bulgaria,Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and finallyto Germany. And perhaps more importantly, the relayhas been used to demonstrate cultural unity anddiversity, to promote both ancient traditions andtechnical wizardry, and ultimately, of course, as asymbol of peace.Naturally there have been landmarks along theway. The first Games held after the Second World War,in London in 1948, saw the torch relay begun by aGreek soldier, Corporal Dimitrelis, who took off his armyuniform before taking the flame as a moving reminderof the messengers who were sent to proclaim thesacred Olympic truce held during the Games in ancienttimes. A similar role was played by Yoshinori Sakai, thelast relay runner to light the cauldron at the Tokyo 1964Games, who was picked due to the fact that he wasborn in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 - the day that anatomic bomb struck the city. However it was the 1960relay from Athens to Rome that really sparked publicinterest, as the torch's procession was used to highlightless well-known sites in the ancient capitals.Mexico made history eight years later whenEnriqueta Basileo Sotelo became the first woman tolight the Olympic cauldron. Another female athlete,the Australian Cathy Freeman, took her place ?60OLYMPIC REVIEWOLYMPIC FLAMEBelowPaavoNurmi lights thecauldron inHelsinki in 1952Below rightBoxing legendMuhammad Ali inAtlanta in 1996Right Finaltorchbearer RaferJohnson lights theflame in LosAngeles in 1984