Sunday, May 20, 2012

The origins of the Olympic flame

My old New Statesman columns have disappeared down the memory hole and are no longer to be found on the magazine's website.

That's Socialism for you.

Fortunately, I took the precaution of keeping copies of Calder's Comfort Farm, so I am able to reprint some thoughts of mine on Olympic traditions that were published on 14 April 2008:
The practice of parading the torch around the world dates all the way back to 2004. But it’s true the idea of carrying the flame from Olympus to the venue has a longer pedigree. 
Like most Olympic traditions, it was invented for the Berlin Games of 1936. Albert Speer was in charge of the pageantry there, and he decided to repeat the 'cathedral of light' effect that had gone down so well at the Nuremberg rallies.

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