|The torch relay 1972
On July 26, 1972 a twelve-man escort team
met at Patras. There were two representatives of the OC, two engineers
for technical matters and eight drivers. Their two automobiles were air-conditioned.
Two trucks transported technical equipment:
- a refrigerator for the storage of the, gas cartridges,
- extra torches,
- two extra pilot lights (railroad signal lamps) which were fed from a
3.2 kilogram propane
gas bottle. They could burn uninterruptedly for at least six weeks,
were also dependable,
safe and were to be lighted at Olympia. They excluded every risk of losing
the Olympic fire.
Two days later at 12 noon, a group of Greek
actresses lighted the Olympic fire according to custom and without spectators
before the temple of Hera in the sacred grove of ancient Olympia. In solemn
procession they carried the flame in a bowl through the arched entrance
into the ancient stadium.
The president of the Greek OC welcomed approximately
guests there. Dr Hans Jochen Vogel spoke as representative and vice-president
of the OC. The Olympic hymn was sung and Pindar's ode was recited. At 12:10
P. M., the first relay runner, nineteen-year-old Greek basketball player
and medical student John Kirkilessis, lighted his torch.
|After a ceremony the torch relay began to
proceed through Turkey. Customs and passport control were quick and without
complication. The Olympic flame remained in Istanbul for almost seventeen
hours. The Turkish NOC supplied every vehicle with a Germanspeaking interpreter
who accompanied them throughout the entire Turkish stretch. At a ceremony
the Bulgarian NOC accepted the Olympic fire. Thousands of resort guests
and tourists in the vacation spots along the Black Sea coast were able
to witness the torch relay.
The ceremonial transfer of the Olympic fire
to the Rumanian NOC took place on the main bridge across the Danube between
Ruse and Giurgiu. The Olympic flame was solemnly greeted in the packed
Bucharest Stadium. The handing over of the Olympic fire on the Rumanian-Yugoslav
border near Moravita took place in a colorful ceremonial featuring folk
dances. In Belgrade, the fire was welcomed and received in a small centrally
On August 19 the torch relay reached the Yugoslav-Hungarian
border near Horgas. There it was saluted by representatives of the Hungarian
NOC in the usual manner. A helicopter accompanied the relay on the first
stretch leading to Szeged and dropped flowers.
The president of Austria gave the Austrian
Olympic team a fine send off at the Olympic fire reception in Vienna. The
torch relay reached German territory for the first time in the afternoon
of August 23 near Freilassing. It left the Federal Republic of Germany
near Kiefersfelden to pass through Austria again. At Scharnitz the Olympic
fire finally reached the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Friedrich Krupp AG
|Date of the torch relay:
July - 26. August 1972
|Numbers of runners:
|Name of last runner:
|After a short salute the relay headed for
Munich through Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In Murnau four paralyzed athletes
each carried the Olympic fire 250 meters in their wheelchairs. The Olympic
fire reached Munich punctually.
The Königsplatz presented an excellent
backdrop for the reception of the fire. It held about 20,000 spectators
and was at the end of an impressive approach street. The short ceremony
was introduced by music and gymnastics performances. Mexican and Canadian
folklore were presented on a widely visible stage set up before the Propylaea.
The presidents of the IOC and the OC, the lord mayor of Munich and the
president of the Bavarian legislature saluted the Olympic fire. Afterwards
two torch bearers carried the fire from the plaza. One of them brought
the flame to the Maximilianeum, (the seat of the Bavarian legislature)
where it was kept in a widely visible brazier until the opening day. The
second torch bearer began the relay to Kiel. A relay consisting of twelve
motorcyclists brought the torch to Nuremberg at top speed. A container
of gas attached to each motorcycle extended the torches' burning time to
almost forty minutes. Thus fewer relays were required. At Kassel an eight-man
rowing team brought the flame across the Fulda. The Olympic fire reached
the Kiel Rathausplatz punctually at 9 P. M. on August 27. Here it was greeted
at a ceremony and preserved until the opening festivities.
On the following day, relay runners carried
the fire to the opening of the Olympic yachting competitions at Kiel-Schilksee.
At the ceremonial plaza of the Olympic Yachting Center, the flame ignited
the fire in the brazier. Thousands of spectators were present and all the
ships in the vicinity of Schilksee blew their horns and sirens in salute.
Cyclists transferred the Olympic fire from Olympic Stadium in Munich to
the Augsburg city line on August 27, 1972. It was received on the eve of
the canoe slalom competition on the Rathausplatz. It was kept here overnight,
and a half hour before the starting time, it was carried by runners to
Torch runners diploma
The precise timing of the routes was based
on individual stretches and the time required to cover them. The OC offered
the following guidelines:
approximately 1,000 meters in five minutes. In thinly inhabited areas they
could run farther
(about 1,500 meters to 2,000 meters), in mountainous areas shorter distances
(300 meters to 500 meters).
about 2,500 meters in ten minutes.
approximately 6,000 meters in fifteen minutes.
their times and stretches were to be determined by the NOCs themselves.
Interruptions influenced the timing of the relay:
They could compensate for timing variations and delays. The NOCs determined
location (especially large cities and border crossings), length (15 to
60 minutes) and character.
Except for the stretches of Olympia-Athens, Freilassing-Munich, and Munich-Kiel
torch relay would be interrupted every night between 8 P. M. and 7 A. M.
Between the middle of August and November,
1971, the OC computed a timetable based on these criteria which stipulated
the arrival of the Olympic fire at Munich's Königsplatz on August
25, 1972 at 7 P. M. The border crossing times were now obligatory for the
All this pertained to the Olympia-Munich stretch,
but the torch had to be carried to Kiel and Augsburg also. The fire was
to reach Munich on August 25, 1972 and only two days later it had to be
at Kiel's Rathausplatz. All told 933 kilometers had to be covered in about
forty-nine hours. The OC had to find the shortest and quickest route. Detours,
such as through the German Democratic Republic as originally planned, or
through towns not situated on the direct route had to be eliminated. Top
speed was required from bicyclists, riders, rowers, and motorcyclists.
Festivities were not allowed to slow down the relay and possible variations
in timing had to be adjusted by motorcyclists. In addition, the relay had
to proceed day and night. The German NOC delegated this task to local sport
organizations in Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Schleswig- Holstein,
through whose territory the relay would pass.
The OC wanted to supply material aid. Each
participant received a torch. The secretary general's office developed
the form of the torch which consisted of three parts:
- the torch handle (200 mm. long, 36 mm.
diameter, 0.5 mm. to 0.8 mm. metal thickness);
- the torch plate (upper protective dish
210 mm. diameter, 0.5 mm. to 0.8 mm. metal thickness and conical lower
- the fire pipe (450 mm. long; 32 mm. in
diameter, 0.5 to 0.8 mm. metal thickness).
The pieces were screwed together and were
manufactured of rustless nickel chromium
steel. Their upper surfaces were buffed,
matly polished and hard glazed to minimize fingerprints and stains. Etched
into the glaze were:
- the Olympic rings with the text "München
1972 Spiele der XX. Olympiade" on the
- the Olympic emblem on the upper surface
of the plate
- and the logo and name of donor on the cylinder
The flame unit for the torch had to meet the
- it had to be non-explosive and thus safe
for the runner.
- burning under all circumstances (for example,
if the runner should trip) and for every kind of weather,
- quickly and safely ignitable,
- able to burn long enough (at least ten
minutes, that is, during two relay stretches),
- as bright as possible and visible from
a distance without developing smoke that might molest the runner,
- easy to handle.
Pitch torches were out of the question because
they produce soot and are not odorless. The OC chose liquid gas as fuel.
The gas mixture was determined by simulating the worst weather conditions:
Tests in a wind tunnel tested the flame's stability under extreme storm
conditions. A hand spray simulated heavy rain.
(Source document: Official
Report 1972, Vol. 1, page 72 - 74)