Olympic flame: Ready, steady, glow!

The Olympic flame starts its journey to London this week from the Temple of Hera in Greece. It will be held in a torch of pioneering. British design. Emily Dugan sheds a little light

The tradition of bringing the Olympic flame in a relay from Greece began at the Nazi-tainted 1936 Berlin Games. Under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels, 3,331 runners brought the flame from Olympia.

In Greece, 11 women representing Vestal Virgins will perform a ceremony where the torch is lit using the Sun's rays. It takes place at Olympia, in the Temple of Hera, among the ruins of the Ancient Games.

A great-grandmother, Diana Gould, aged 100, will be the oldest torchbearer in the UK relay. She runs exercise classes in her north London retirement flats and is an inspiration to her neighbours. Her motto is: "Don't think old. Just get on with it."

The youngest torchbearer is Dominic MacGowan, 12, from Birmingham, who won an Outstanding Pupil school award and was also nominated school football captain.

The torch was designed by east Londoners Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who won the opportunity through a competitive tender run by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council.

After it is lit on the 10th, it will be going round Greece and Crete for a week before coming to the UK on Friday 18 May, ahead of the start of the torch relay in Land's End on 19 May.

The torch is made up of an inner and an outer aluminium alloy skin, held in place by a top piece and base, perforated by 8,000 circles.

Representing the inspirational stories of the 8,000 torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame, the circles offer a unique level of transparency. You can see the burner system that keeps the flame alive.

The circles also help to ensure heat is quickly dissipated, without being conducted down the handle.

The torch is being tested in BMW's climatic testing facility in Munich. BMW is a Supporting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

It works like a miniature hot air balloon with a vapour off-take system that uses a cylinder full of liquid gas. The top of the liquid is heated by a coil in the burner which is itself heated by the flame, and converts boiling liquid into gas. The canister is filled with two-thirds propane and one-third butane.

The mother flame, in a back-up lantern, can be used to relight a new torch in extreme situations – additional torches will never be more than 30 seconds away.

The triangular-shaped torch was inspired by a series of "threes" found both in the history of the Olympic Games and the vision for the Olympic Movement. There are three Olympic values: respect, excellence and friendship; three words make up the Olympic motto: faster, higher, stronger; and the UK will have hosted the Games on three occasions: in 1908, 1948 and, now, 2012. The vision for the London 2012 Olympic Games is to combine three bodies of work: sport, education and culture.

More than half London 2012's torchbearers are expected to be youngsters, so the torch is designed to be as light as possible.

The special aluminium alloy was developed for the aerospace and automotive industry. It is lightweight but strong, with excellent heat resistance. The 8,000 circles also reduce the weight of the final design, while ensuring strength isn't compromised.

Tecosim, the Basildon-based product engineers; Birmingham-based LPG specialists and manufacturers, Bullfinch; and the Coventry manufacturers Premier Sheet Metal have all taken the design and moved it into mass production.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor