A Chance to Hold the 2012 Olympic Torch

January 4, 2013

In March of 2012, I wrote about the design of the Olympic Torch (see post here). The torch was especially interesting in the 2012 Olympics because of the attention paid to symbolic references of numbers, dimensions, materials, and color selections.

When I was visiting family and friends in London late last year, I had the opportunity to see and hold the torch in person. A neighbor of mine, Joanne, has worked for years with children who are severely disabled. As a result, the parents of these children nominated her to LOCOG (London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) to run with the flame. Each runner had to be nominated, approved, and have a captivating story in order to get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A few thousand torches were made and the runners had an option to purchase one. Nike purchased Joanne’s torch for her to show their thanks for all of her charitable work with disabled children.

Mickey McCann, an Industrial Designer at Beyond Design, holding the 2012 Olympic torch.

To see it in person was quite amazing. From an aesthetic point of view it really is a beautifully sculptured and crafted object. The layers of perforated metal fold back to create a layered effect, and from a manufacturing perspective, it is really remarkable how they did this. It had a nice and satisfying weight to it as well.

The tradition of lighting an Olympic Flame comes from the ancient Greeks. The thought that this individual flame was started from the sun, using a concave mirror, and focused on a beam of light to a narrow point in Olympia, Greece is pretty amazing. This flame traveled over 12,800 miles on a plane (which is never allowed), and was passed through thousands of people, many famous and honorable. It culminated in the opening of the 2012 London Games and lit a beautifully symbolic cauldron. The flame has come to symbolize “the light of spirit, knowledge, and life” and it was truly an honor to see it in person.

You can check out the video below to see the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the 2012 London Olympics.

Written by: Mickey McCann, Industrial Designer at Beyond Design

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