Editor's note: This information was supplied by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. It is presented here without editing.

1996 Olympic Torch Relay Logo

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1996 Olympic Torch Relay
At a Glance

WHAT: 15,000 mile trek across the USA do which the Olympic flame is Saab from torch to torch until it arrives in Atlanta for the Centennial Olympic Games.

WHY: In ancient Greece, a sacred truce was called so athletes could peacefully compete at peacefully at the Olympic Games. Before the Games, runners — called "heralds of peace"—traveled Greece proclaiming the beginning of the truce and issuing the clarion call to the Games. The custom was revived in 1936, adding the symbolism of a torch lit in Olympia, Greece by be rays of the sun. The torch relay has preceded every Olympic Games since then.


  • April 27 — Olympic flame arrives in Los Angels from Greece.
  • July 14 — Arrives in Atlanta's Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. It remains there for the duration of the Centennial Games.
  • August 4 — The flame is extinguished during the Closing Ceremony..
  • In all, the flame travels by relay for 84 days. Including the Games, the flame is in the U.S. for 100 days.

  • Travels through 42 states plus Washington, DC.
  • Visits 29 state capitols.
  • Comes within a two-hour distance of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Visits 11 pairs of "twin cities:"
    • Albany, Georgia and New York
    • Columbia, Mississippi and South Carolina
    • Columbus, Georgia and Ohio
    • Flat Rock, Michigan and North Carolina
    • Gainesville, Georgia and Florida
    • Greensboro, Georgia and North Carolina
    • Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri
    • Lafayette, Indiana and Louisiana
    • Marysville, Kansas and Ohio
    • Rochester, Minnesota and New York
    • Troy, Alabama and New York
  • Is carried by 10,000 torchbearers.
  • Travels by runner, bicycle, 19-car train, horseback, canoe, steamboat, Great Lakes laker, plane and sail boat.
  • Travels an average of 182 miles per day; 14 miles per hour; 13.5 hours per day
  • Each runner will carry the torch approximately one kilometer.
  • 110 people from Georgia will travel with the relay: 60 volunteers from Georgia and 50 staff.
  • Travels in caravan of 40 vehicles, including public safety, advance team, torchbearer carriers, emergency medical vehicles and equipment.
  • The caravan carries 20 bicycles for use in the relay.
COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS: The 1996 Olympic Games Torch Relay will stop, an average, three times each day to be part of celebrations organized by communities along the route. With the announcement of the nationwide route, ACOG's focus turns to finalizing these celebrations with community leaders. Details of these celebrations will be announced later.

ABOUT THE 1996 TORCH: 1996 Olympic Torch Features 22 aluminum "reeds" gathered in the center, The "reeds" represent the 22 times the Modern Olympic Games have been held. The name of the 20 host cities, including Atlanta, are etched on a gold-plated band near the base; another band near the crown features the logo for the 1996 Olympic Games. A center handle of Georgia hardwood makes the torch easy to carry. The torch features a dual burner system that will help the flame resist wind and rain during relay.

THE OLYMPIC FLAME: Olympic Flame The flame ignited in Olympia is kept in a lantern that travels with the relay. The lantern is closely guarded to assure the flame is never extinguished. A single torch is lit from the flame every morning for that day's relay.

TORCHBEARER SELECTION: Begins in fall 1995. There will be 10,000 torchbearers including:

  • 5,500 "community heroes" identified through community judging panels facilitated by local United Way organizations
  • 2,200 Olympians and others
  • 2,500 individuals selected by Coca-Cola
ABOUT THE 1984 RELAY: Covered 9,375 miles spanning 33 states and 82 days; involved 3,636 torchbearers.