The Vancouver Winter Olympic Games don’t begin until Feb. 12, 2010, but we are already getting excited about it! The Olympic torch relay has begun and the torch is traveling around the country right now!
The torch relay is a tradition before every Olympics. A torch is a long stick with fire at one end. You can see a torch in the photo above. One person runs with the torch for a short period of time and then lights the torch of the next person. (Light a fire = start a fire or make something start burning.) The next person runs with the torch for a short period and then passes the fire to another person.
This is a tradition that begin in 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Adolf Hitler started the torch relay as a way to promote the Olympics in Germany, but we’ll just forget about that part of Olympic history.
Every Olympic torch relay starts in Olympia, Greece. This is the birthplace of the ancient Olympics. The torch relay is a link between the ancient Olympics in Greece, when a fire was kept burning in Olympia, Greece during the Olympic Games.
The torch was officially lit on Oct. 22, 2009 in Olympia. The torch was carried through Greece for a week before it arrived in Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada on Oct. 30, 2009. It will arrive travel across the country and arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia on Feb. 12, 2010. This is the start of the Winter Olympic Games.
Canada’s torch relay is the longest one ever held in a single country. By the time the relay is finished, the torch will have travelled 45,000 km over 106 days, and it will have been carried by 12,000 people carrying the torch through 1000 towns and cities in all 13 provinces and territories in Canada.
The torch will be carried by runners, and it will also be transported by canoe, rowboat, skateboard, logging truck, fishing boat, sea plane, mountain bike, bicycle, surf board, dog sled, chuck wagon, horse and buggy, and many more forms of transportation!
Seeing the torch being carried through your hometown is an exciting moment for Canadians! We are so proud to host the Olympic Games, but most Canadians will only be able to watch the Olympics on TV. Seeing the torch so close is our connection to the Olympics! I got to see the Olympic Torch when it passed through my town! It was so much fun.