Background[edit | edit source]
2008 Torch Relay[edit | edit source]
The relay, with the theme Journey of Harmony, was to continue for 130 days and carry the torch 137,000 km. (85,100 mi.) — the longest distance of any Olympic torch relay. By comparison, when this globe-trotting ritual was first introduced to promote the 1936 Games, the Olympic flame only traveled 3,422 km from Athens to Berlin.
In 2008, after being lit in Olympia, Greece, the torch traveled to the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, and then to Beijing, arriving on March 31, 2008. From Beijing, the torch is following a route passing through six continents. The torch will visit cities on the Silk Road, symbolizing ancient links between China and the rest of the world. The relay will also include an attempt to carry the flame to the top of Mount Everest (Mt. Qomolangma in the Tibetan language).
The 2008 torch relay has been controversial, being marked on multiple occasions by protests regarding China's human rights record, and in particular the ongoing unrest in Tibet. The path of the torch has been changed on several occasions, with the torch being extinguished by the organizers several times during the Paris leg.