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Olympic Games: What you didn't know about the famous torch

23 March 2021


The torch relay for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo begins on 25 March at a place steeped in history: Fukushima. Recycled aluminium was used as the material for the torch, which is a reminder of the severe earthquake ten years ago.


The torch relay of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which had to be postponed to this year due to Corona, will start one year late. The torch is a reminiscence of the reconstruction after the earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan in March 2011.

Designer Tokujin Yoshioka made the torch from aluminium construction waste from temporary housing built for people who lost their homes in the disaster.


The Olympic torch consists of about 30 % recycled aluminium, is 71 centimetres long, weighs 1.2 kilograms and shimmers golden. Its shape with five cylinders represents the motif of a sakura cherry blossom - the traditional Japanese blossom.

Cherry blossom design and remembrance of earthquake disaster

The remembrance of the victims of the earthquake and tsunami disaster ten years ago is also the central motif on the path of the Olympic flame. The starting point of the relay is the J-Village sports centre. Workers who removed radioactive waste were housed there after the reactor catastrophe.

The traditional torch relay is scheduled to start on 25 March - subject to safety measures - and will pass through all 47 prefectures of Japan in 121 days.

Already on 12 March 2020, the Olympic flame was lit - as is traditionally the case - in ancient Olympia in Greece. Only one day later, however, the relay was cancelled due to concerns about the further spread of the corona virus.

Torch is partly powered by hydrogen

The organisers of the Olympic Summer Games in Japan are keen to raise awareness of environmental protection. For this reason, the Olympic torch will no longer be fired with natural gas but with hydrogen on part of the route. Other initiatives to reduce environmental pollution include beds made of recyclable cardboard in the Olympic village or medals made of recycled consumer electronics such as smartphones.

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