The New York Times did a wonderful, interactive tutorial on the history of the Olympic torches. Did you know that this tradition was introduced by Hitler for the 1936 Berlin Olympics (now commonly known as the Nazi Olympics) and sprung from the Nazi’s torch light parades? It has obviously since continued and the designs have become progressively more intricate.
As far as American design, Walt Disney’s imagineer, John Hench, designed the 1960’s Squaw Valley Olympic torch, and all subsequent torches have followed the same general engineering and design. Walt Disney himself was the Head of Pageantry for the 1960 Olympic Games, as well.
John Hench Design, 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics
Beijing’s Olympic Torch is one that is very reflective of China as it resembles a Chinese scroll. The Beijing Olympic site says: The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games has a very strong Chinese flavour. It demonstrates the artistic and technical level of China. It also conveys the message of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics. The shape of the paper scroll and the lucky clouds graphic, expresses the idea of harmony.
Vancouver, home to the next Olympic games, claims that their torch will be the cleanest and greenest yet! Looks like torch design is getting a bit heated.
What design do you like best? One of my favorites is the Seoul Olympic Torch! It’s construction began two years before the game began! No matter what, I hope you watch the opening ceremonies and the rest of the games! I know I will! Are you going to watch?