On 20th July 1936, by focusing the sun’s heat with a mirror, for the first time since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games the Olympic flame was ceremonially lit at Olympia in Greece. The subsequent torch relay, which was introduced on the initiative of the German sports historian Dr. Carl Diem (1882-1962), lasted 12 days and covered 3050 km through 7 countries. Each of the 3,331 runners was allowed to keep his torch as a souvenir.
Thus, the idea of the torch relay was born and, after the Second World War, was first held at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Olympics.
Thereafter, to this day, the torch relay has become an integral part of the Olympic ceremony.
The beautiful design of the various torches soon attracted the attention of collectors around the world. As with all Olympic memorabilia, building a sizeable collection is a major challenge.