It has begun.
The flame was lit in Olympia, Greece today for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and carried off by the first relay runner on a journey of more than 47,000 kilometres to Vancouver.
The Olympic flame is to be carried 2,180 kilometres across Greece this week and will arrive in Victoria, British Columbia, on October 30 to embark on a 106-day, 45,000 kilometer journey throughout Canada.
Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier is producing 12,000 identical torches, each weighing 1.6 kilograms, including fuel, which is a mix of propane and isobutane.
Twelve thousand relay runners will carry the flame before the opening ceremony in Vancouver on February 12. Curlers are included, and also –controversially – some of the media from Canada’s Olympic broadcast rights holder.
Torch designer Daniel Deschenes told AFP they were inspired by Canada’s “snow-covered landscape, sculpted by the wind, with traces in the snow or ice left by skiers or skaters.”
Deschenes said the torch would remain lit through “rain, sleet, snow and wind” and in temperatures from -40 degrees Celsius to +40 degrees Celsius.
And guess what? You can even download your own virtual Torch for use on your mobile device or computer.
What will they think of next?
[Photo by VANOC/IOC]