Olympic Games 1988 Seoul

24th Olympiad


Sports: 27

Events: 237

National Teams: 159

Participants: 8,451

Torch and Torch Relay


Korea Explosive Co., Ltd., which began developing torches in April 1984, introduced creative and excellent torches in the 1986 Seoul Asian Games which was a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games to come two years later. The SLOOC decided to use the torches made by Korea Explosive for the Olympic torch relay again following some adjustments. The SLOOC had three industrial design specialists produce at least two torch designs each. The three submitted 13 works in total to the SLOOC in July 1987. In August the same year, the SLOOC formed a committee comprising six experts to screen the works. After three rounds of voting, the committee chose "Brazier" submitted by Prof. Lee Woo-song of Sookmyung Women's University as the final design for the torch. The committee also selected two others as candidate designs.

The design of the torch, engraved with two dragons symbolizing the harmony of East and West, featured a total length of 55 centimeters, with a 10 centimeter diameter bowl. The torch weighed 1 kilogram and could burn for up to 10 minutes. The height of the flame was 35 to 40 centimeters with a diameter of 6 centimeters and a brightness of 700cp. The torch, constructed of brass and plastic, had a wind resistance of 72 kilometers per hour. The torch, once lit, would not go out even in sand or water.

A total of 3,300 torches were manufactured - 500 for use in Greece, 2,600 for the relay in Korea, and 200 for use in the Paralympics. Local branches of Korea Explosive delivered the torches to be used in domestic relay. The torches were loaded on designated vehicles one day before the run and distributed to runners 30 minutes before the run.


see more torch images

  Mobile cauldrons

Mobile cauldrons to lay the flame in state overnight during the torch relay were designed by Prof. Boo Soo-in of Seoul National University and manufactured by Rinnai Korea Co., Ltd. The design of the mobile cauldrons, Supported with eight pillars inspired
by ancient octagonal pavilions, called for a total height of 165 centimeters with diameter ranging from 90 to 119 centimeters. The height of the flame was 70 centimeters with a diameter of 36 centimeters.

Constructed of steel plate and wood, the cauldrons used propane gas as fuel and could burn round the clock with a strong resistance to wind and rain. The cauldrons were designed to control the size of the flame depending on the weather conditions.
The cauldron designed to be fixed on ships could keep the flame burning when the ships sailed at a speed of up to 30 knots an hour. The cauldron stands were designed for ease of assembly and to sustain the weight of the cauldron plus two people.

A total of nine such mobile cauldrons were manufactured - four for overnight stays, one for celebrating events to welcome the arrival of the flame at Cheju-do, one each for special events at Pusan's Yongdusan Park and at Seoul's City Hall Plaza, and two for
ships to carry the flame. Auxiliary equipment included two sets of cauldron stand, 25 sets of gas supply system used at overnight stopovers, two maintenance vehicles, and two trucks. A total of 40 tons of propane gas was consumed during the torch relay.

General torch and torch relay information 1988
Description: Bowl depicts dragons, Seoul Olympic logo enameled in color below.
Material: Brass
Torch measure: Lenght: 50 cm       Weight: 1,000 gr
Torches total: 3,300
Design by: Lee Woo-Sung
Manufacturer: Korea Explosive Co. Ltd
Date of the torch relay: 23. August - 17. September 1988
Duration: 26 days
Numbers of runners: 1,847
Distance total: about 4,800 km
Name of the last runner: Sohn Kee Chung,
Marathon winner Berlin 1936

  Safety lamps

Safety lamps to preserve the flame were held in reserve in case of failure to keep the flame burning in the torch relay. The SLOOC placed the manufacturing orders to Fujika-Daewon Electric Co., Ltd. which completed the production in April 1986. The safety lamp design followed that of an ancient Korean astronomical observatory, Chomsongdae, to a scale of one-fortieth of the actual size. They were made of threefold steel plate and special aluminium to resist wind and pressure, particularly to maintain the
surface temperature below 50-fb-C for safety during air flight. The 35-centimeter-tall lamps with a diameter of 15 centimeters could burn up to 140 hours using kerosene fuel.

Nine safety lamps were produced - one for the HOC, two for the torch relay in Korea, another two for the control center at the SLOOC, one for the yacht marina in Pusan, two others for Cheju-do, and another one in reserve. Equipment accompanying the
lamps included one lamp stand for use on cars, nine ignition torches, and one lamp box for air transportation.




Olympic Torch Relay 1988 Olympia - Seoul
In the space of time from 23.08 - 17.09.1988
Country Date Distance Runners Torches
Greece 23.08. - 25.08.1988 374 km 380  
Korea 25.08. - 17.09.1988 4,414 km 1,467  
Total   4,788 km 1,847 3,300

  Torch Relay

The Olympic flame lit up the world for 16 days at the 24th Seoul Olympic Games and all the activities surrounding the flame were carried out flawlessly by the SLOOC with the great cooperation of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC).

The lighting of the flame at the Temple of Hera in Olympia and the torch relay in Greece were conducted under an agreement signed between the SLOOC and the HOC.

The Olympic flame was flown from the Greek capital of Athens to Korea`s southernmost point, Cheju Island, aboard a special Korean Air flight on an air route between the two cities that included a stopover at Bangkok, Thailand.

The torch relay, originating from Cheju, took a 4,167.8 kilometer route to Seoul, passing through 21 major cities. The torch relay route, divided into a total of 1,595 running sections, was covered by 1,467 torchbearers, 2,782 assistant torchbearers and 16,640 escort runners over 21 nights and 22 days.

During the 22-day odyssey, the torch was relayed in various ways on foot,m on horseback, aboard ships, cars, bicycles, and motorcycles. The torchbearers were from all walks of life, including politicians, artists, clergymen, athletes, handicapped people, children and the elderly, as well as overseas Korean residents, journalists from various countries and representatives of NOC`s. Each took their turn to make the torch relay an event truly symbolic of harmony and progress.

The torches and other equipment used in the relay such as safety lamps and mobile cauldrons were all developed domestically with unique designs.

In each city through which the torch relay passed, art troupes from Korea and abroad celebrated by performing their traditional folklore as a tribute to the success of the Games.

Timetable of the torch relay

- Aug. 23-25: From Olympia to Athens (374 kilometers)
- Aug. 25: The flame was handed over to SLOOC at 8:30 p.m. at the Panathenian Stadium, Athens.
- Aug. 25-27: Flight from Athens to Cheju
- Aug. 27: Ceremonies at Cheju International Airport for 90 minutes from 11 a.m. to celebrate the
                  arrival of the flame on Korean soil.
- Aug. 27 - Sept. 17: 22-day and 4,167.8 kilometer torch relay from Cheju to Seoul.
- Sept. 17: Lighting of the flame at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul at 12:41 p.m.


(Source document:   Official Report 1988, vols. I, Page 364)
Read more:  vols. I. , page  367 - 387


Other Olympic Torches: