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Let the Games Begin

Let the Games Begin

[ Mon, 2009-10-26 16:58 ]
Torch Lighting Ceremony in Greece, October 2009
The torch was lit in Greece last week, marking the official start of Olympic fever

It may be an ancient tradition, but the lighting of the Olympic Torch carries a very modern meaning: It's a symbol of peace among the continents, and in these contentious times, that message can seem all but lost. Yet the tradition continues: The Olympic flame was lit on Oct. 22 in Greece, and has begun its trek through over 1,000 communities en route to Vancouver, B.C., where it will land on Feb. 12.

The ritual dates back to the first Olympic games in Greece, where a flame was kept burning throughout the games to commemorate the theft of fire from Zeus by Prometheus. Today, the flame is lit several months in advance of the games at the site where it all began: Olympia, Greece. Then it travels around the world, carried by former athletes or other notables, until it reaches its final destination. The torch for the 2010 Winter Games will travel for 106 days on its way to British Columbia, and cover nearly 28,000 miles. Over 12,000 people will help ferry the torch to Vancouver, where it will burn inside the city's BC Place Stadium until the games' finale on Feb. 28, 2010.