14 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About the Olympics

1. The Torch Tradition

The Olympic flame is a symbol of the ancient games held in Greece. However, the modern version of it, the torch relay, was first introduced in 1936, during the Summer Olympics held in Berlin.

Yes, you heard right. One of the most popular and enduring parts of the Olympic ceremonial was inspired by Nazi propaganda, at a time when Hitler was preparing to take Europe by storm.

Back in the original version, a parabolic mirror was used to ignite the torch using the light of the Sun. The ceremonial takes place in Olympia and involves eleven women representing the Vestal Virgins (a kind of ancient Greek priestesses).

The fire is probably a reference to Prometheus, the ancient hero that stole fire from the gods and brought it to Earth.

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