The first Olympic torch relay was conducted for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. For the Winter Olympics, the first relay was held for the Games in Oslo in 1952.
In 1952 the torch relay was conducted by 94 participants entirely on skis, and the Olympic Flame was lit by Sondre Nordheim, grandson of the great explorer Fridtjof Nansen. The Relay lasted less than two days and covered a distance of just 312km.
Early torch relays did not start from Olympia. This first relay in 1952 started in the valley of Morgedal in Norway, the region considered as the birthplace of skiing. The relay for the Winter Games only begun in Olympia since Innsbruck Games in 1964.
At the 1956 Winter Olympics opening ceremony the final torch bearer, Guido Caroli, entered the Olympic Stadium on ice skates. As he skated around the stadium his skate caught on a cable and he fell, nearly extinguishing the flame.
After protests marred previous relay legs through various countries, in 2009 the International Olympic Committee announced that future torch relays could be held only within the country hosting the Olympics after the initial Greek leg.
2014 Torch Relay
The 2014 torch relay was the longest relay in Winter Olympics history. The torch relay, starting om October 7, 2013, ran for 123 days. The relay traveled 65,000km from Moscow to Sochi through 2,900 towns and villages across all 83 regions of Russia by foot, car, train, plane and "troika". Greek alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou was the first torchbearer of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay.
The Winter Olympic Torch in 2014 also traveled in space - one leg of the relay involved a space walk by Russian cosmonauts. The Summer Games torch (but not the flame) has been taken into space by astronauts in 1996 and 2000.
2018 Torch Relay
The Olympic flame will spend 101 days making its way around 17 cities across the Republic of Korea, involving a total of 7,500 torchbearers.