In this blog, I intend to write my thoughts on things happening around me, the news I see in the TV, something I read or anything that captures my attention. I will try to avoid the effect of everyday ups and downs of my personal life on the contents of the blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Olympic torch relay - Is it worth ?

The olympic torch relay is considered to be a prestigious event for all the athletes and participating nations. The once in four year event, the biggest sports event of the planet is indeed a remanant of a great civilization. It is very well maintained and evolves smoothly through the ages. The flame and the Cauldron(the big fire that burns throught the competition) is a very important and popular symbol. I personally watch only the opening and closing ceremonies of Olympics and keep a tab on the medals tally which pretty much is predictable and for this year I predict the chinese to finish first in te medals tally. It is not because they are the host but it is because of how much they took this event serious and worked for it for more than 5 years.

Getting back to the relay. A fire permanently burned on the altar of Hestia in Olympia, Greece. During the Olympic Games, which honored Zeus, additional fires were lit at his temple and that of his wife, Hera. The modern Olympic flame is ignited at the site where the temple of Hera used to stand. The relay was not a original Greek Olympic tradition. Neither were the five rings.

The rings symbolizing the 5 continents and the motto Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for "Swifter, Higher, Stronger" was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin on the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894. The rings and flag was officially adopted in 1920 Belgium Olympics. The motto was introduced in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

The olympic flame was re-introduced in 1928 Olympics at Amsterdam. Interestingly, the first olympic flame relay was introduced by Adolf hitler in Berlin Olympics 1936. He used this event as a propaganda medium for his rule.

Even today the torch is lit in Greece using reflective mirrors using the sunl light. This fire is backed-up and carried around the world. Recently different mediums are used like radio waves to transmit, under the sea, etc.

Nowadays, this relay is used by many organizations and activists as a good medium to grab the attention of the world. The images seen on television makes me think if it is worth anymore to take the torch around the globe spending tons of money for the security and media arrangements. After all, this is not the original tradition neither does it paint any good picture of freedom when we see more police men running around it than athletes. Finally, the relay event is a great success to any organization that tries to use it more than for the Olympics itself.