Where does the Olympic Flame come from? What does it represent?

In ancient times, the Greeks considered fire as an element of divine origin and had the custom of keeping a fire burning continuously in front of major temples.

This was the case at the sanctuary of Olympia where the ancient Olympic Games were held. To ensure its purity, the Flame was lit using sunlight focused at the centre of a vessel called skaphia, the precursor to the parabolic mirror used today.

A Flame burned continuously on the altar of the goddess Hestia, and fires were also lit on the altars of Zeus and Hera.

Today, the purity of the Olympic Flame for the modern Games is preserved. Similar to the past, the Flame is ignited by the sun's rays in front of the ruins of the temple of Hera in Olympia.

It still symbolises the ideal of peace and unity among peoples and heralds the arrival of the upcoming Games.


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