John Allemang - October 23, 2009
For the ancient Greeks, fire was a potent symbol of purity.
In the modern world, where antique pagan symbols generally don’t have much staying power, the flame still has the ability to purify: Witness the Olympic torch relay, now making its patient, painstaking way from the ruined temples of ancient Greece to the stunning Winter Games facilities of Vancouver 2010.
The torch relay represents the Olympics’ human side, the part that retains faith in the uncorrupted virtues global sport is meant to bring together every two years.
Through the hand-to-hand transmission of the eternal flame between both ordinary and extraordinary people, Games organizers ask us to see peace and friendship, hope and understanding, personal contact with the Olympic movement’s universal values and an unbroken continuity with the sporting purity of the ancient Greeks.