Know your Olympic torches

The fine folks at Roma Moulding recently posted this photo on their Facebook page of a framed Olympic torch from the 2010 games in Vancouver. It immediately caught our eye, standing out as being much different, not only from this year’s torch, but from practically anything one might think of when hearing the phrase “Olympic torch.” So that prompted us to look into the past at other torch designs and find out how much any have varied from the norm.
This first example was 1 of 22 torches made for the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games. The earlier designs appear to be the most torch-like. But you can see in later years how they became more stylized. Just compare this one to the 2008 Beijing torch at the bottom.

This 1956 Melbourne torch was based on the classic 1948 London lamp torch.

An artist at Disney, John Hench created this special 3-D design for the 1960 Squaw Valley torch.

From the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games –

From the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games –

On the left, the 1998 Nagano torch was based on a traditional Japanese torch. Industrial designer André Ricard created the 1992 Barcelona torch.

The theme of “Fire and ice” was reflected in this torch from the 2002 Winter games in Salt Lake City.

Chinese heritage was on display in the torch from the last summer Olympics, with its scroll design and the “lucky cloud” pattern.

This post was a great lesson in design for us. Truly, how many ways could one envision such a simple device that serves an important but basic function? It must be able to carry fire while being held aloft by hand – that’s it. Yet each of these examples appear quite different from one another, and still aesthetically pleasing. Hmmmm, perhaps Olympic torches are not all that different, design-wise, from custom frames.

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