Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Olympic impressions, vol 4

'Golden Flower'

In May, the London 2012 Olympic Flame was lit in Ancient Olympia, at an altar in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera, the oldest surviving temple on the site.

A few weeks later, I visited the same place.

And, when I got home, I watched the flame that had been lit there, being carried through my local towns, usually in the rain!

Finally, on August 3rd, I saw it as the flaming petals of the cauldron in the shape of a chrysanthemum, in the Olympic Stadium, burning day ...                      ... and night.

There was no similar specific symbol at the Ancient Olympic Games. There were flames alight on dozens of altars and in the temples most of the year, so flames were all around all the time.

But it cheers me that the word 'chrysanthemum' in Greek means 'Golden Flower', and that that is the shape Thomas Heatherwick and colleagues chose for our 30th modern Olympiad's flaming cauldron.

(The first two pictures above appear on
with many others. Beautiful!)

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