The tradition of the Olympic Flame apparently symbolises the theft of fire from Zeus by Prometheus. The torch relay seems to have been started by Joseph Goebbels for the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936.
Traditionally the torch has been conveyed from Mount Olympus to the city where the games are to be held. For the 2004 Olympics in Athens, there was a change with the torch went on a bit of an odyssey around the world. This time around that plan has been repeated. It has, however, started to go a bit wrong; the theme was Journey of Harmony. Unfortunately the journey has been somewhat lacking in harmony; on the London leg a number of people refused to carry the torch and there were manyprotests over Tibet (in which Anna Los son was involved). Paris saw several episodes where the torch bearers had to retreat into a bus to avoid Tibet protestors and the procession was cut short. Now the International Olympic Committee is considering what the best next move is as some feel that it is “damaging the Olympic movement”. However, Olympic Commission chief Kevan Gospar said that this year’s 137,000km torch relay will continue as planned, “but certainly, the IOC executive board should review the torch relay programme for the future.”
This may not be quite what the Chinese authorities had hoped for.