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.
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.
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.
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.
The 1972 Munich Olympics Torch...
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
The 1976 Montreal Olympics Torch...
First summer Olympic Games held in Canada
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.
The 1980 Moscow Olympics Torch...
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
The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Torch...
Official mascot - Sam the Eagle
Soviet Union led boycott of 14 nations
Olympic torch was lit by Rafer Johnson - former Olympic decathlon gold medalist
The 1988 Seoul Olympics Torch...
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