By Sergei Kazantsev - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Each Olympic games, the symbolic start is the lighting of the torch at Olympia Greece. The subsequent relay to the city for the games then commences.

In Amsterdam in 1928, the first Olympic flame was lit. It did not have a relay though. That came later. The flame in Amsterdam was lit atop a tower overlooking the Olympic stadium.

The torch relay started in Berlin in 1936. A mirror was used to reflect the sun's rays. In past history, it was done this way as well. The journey to Berlin went through several countries, making it to Berlin on 1 Aug 1936.

By Sergei Kazantsev - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

There were some firsts in the torch relays through the years. In the 1952 Helsinki Games, the torch went airborne, flying from Greece to the Danish city of Aalborg. That was the first airplane transport of the Olympic torch.

By Mkckim - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The 1956 Games in Melbourne had a few things that made it stand out in the history of the Olympics. First, it was the initial games performed in the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, this Olympics was the one and only time that torch relays were sent to two cities in two different countries. A second cauldron was lit in Stockholm Sweden in addition to Melbourne Australia. That is because the equestrian events were held in Stockholm 5 months earlier. The equestrian events were held outside of Australia because of the 6 month pre-shipment quarantine of the horses.

By Peter Ellis at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

The first televised Olympic Games were held in Rome Italy in 1960. The first Olympics held in Asia were in Tokyo Japan 1964. In 1968, a woman was given the honor of lighting the flame for the first time.

By Mkckim - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The 1972 Munich Olympics Torch...

5532 km

6200 torchbearers

7134 athletes

121 nations

Final torchbearer - Gunther Zahn - junior 1500 meter champion

Olympic Mascot - a dachshund named Waldi - the first officially named mascot

The city of Munich was the 2nd German city to hold the Olympics, after Berlin in 1936

The "Munich Massacre" happened at the Munich Olympics. On 5 Sep, 8 terrorists broke into the Olympic village and took hostages. In all, 17 people died. After a delay of 34 hours, the games resumed.

The Olympic debut of men’s indoor handball, slalom canoeing and kayaking.

Largest Olympic games to date, setting a record in all categories

By IVF - Own work, Public Domain,

The 1976 Montreal Olympics Torch...

500 torchbearers

775 km

First summer Olympic Games held in Canada

6084 athletes

26 nation boycott, mostly African nations, over a New Zealand decision to tour apartheid South Africa with their rugby team, and they are scheduled to compete in the Olympics.

Torch was lit by two teenage athletes

The official mascot is a beaver named Amik

Women's events in basketball, rowing and team handball made their Olympic debut.

By IVF - Own work, Public Domain,

The 1980 Moscow Olympics Torch...

5435 torchbearers

5000 km

Torch was lit by Sergei Belov - Russian basketball player

Olympic mascot - bear named Misha

5179 athletes competed

US led boycott reduced number of participating countries to 80

Olympics held in socialist country for the first time

By Tksteven - Self-work, CC BY-SA 2.5, wikimedia commons

The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Torch...

3636 torchbearers

15000 km

Official mascot - Sam the Eagle

6829 athletes

140 nations

Soviet Union led boycott of 14 nations

Olympic torch was lit by Rafer Johnson - former Olympic decathlon gold medalist

By IVF - Own work, Public Domain,

The 1988 Seoul Olympics Torch...

8391 athletes

159 nations

1847 torchbearers

4526 km

Olympic torch was lit by Chung Sun-Man, Kim Won-Tak, Sohn Mi-Chung (athletics)

Official mascot - Hodori. "Ho" means tiger in Korean, "dori" roughly translates male

Boycott by 4 nations

The rich tradition of the ever changing torch relay will continue with Part II soon.....Years 1992 through 2016.