Athens 2004 - Olympic Torch Relay
In August 2004, the Olympic Games returned to the country where they were born over 2,500 years ago, and to
Athens the city of their revival in 1896. Within the framework of the Olympic Coin Program, the Greek Mint
issued a series of commemorative coins, Gold and Silver, on which Greek history and heritage were engraved.
The total collection includes 18 coins (6 Gold and 12 Silver) which were released in 6 quarterly issues, each
consisting of 1 Gold and 2 Silver coins. The themes were selected by the Minister for the National Economy and
the Governor of the Bank of Greece, from a set of proposals presented
by a national technical and artistic committee.
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The Olympic Flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by
Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient
Olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, and it has been part
of the modern Olympic Games ever since.
In contrast to the Olympic flame proper, the torch relay of modern times which transports the flame from Greece to
the various designated sites of the games had no ancient precedent and was introduced by Carl Diem at the controversial
1936 Berlin Olympics.
Description: The tradition of the Olympic torch relay, which culminates in the lighting
of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony of each Games, dates from 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. To
symbolize the link between the ancient and modern Olympic Games the flame is lit in a ceremony at Olympia,
Greece, and carried by runners to the stadium; the lighting of the Olympic cauldron has become the most
hallowed moment of the Olympic Games. On March 24, 2004, the lighting of the Olympic Flame took place in
Olympia. This theme is depicted on the first gold coin.
Description: The ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay was the first trully universal realy
ever. The Olympic Flame started its journey from Ancient Olympia and was carried by 3,6 thousand torch bearers
across 34 cities throught the world. On June 3, 2004, the flame was carried to Australia, from where it
travelled to Asia, Africa anbd America. It was the first time the Olympic Flame was transported to Africa
and South America. The Flame returned to Europe and reached its final destination, Latvia, on July 8, 2004.
The four silver coins depict the Olympic Torch Relay from Europe to the other four continents.
Description: The flame returned to Greece on July 9, 2004. In the torch relay 7,700
torch bearers carried the flame accross the mainland of the country and its islands, and after 31 days,
it retuned to Attica. On August 13, 2004, it entered the Olympic Stadium lighting the central alter
which remained lit throughout the Games. This theme is depicted on the second gold coin.
The 2004 Summer Olympics Torch Relay took the Olympic flame across every habitable continent, returning to
Athens, Greece. Every city which had hosted the Summer Olympics was revisited by the torch, as well as several
other cities chosen for their international importance.
The relay was the first time the Olympic flame had travelled to Africa, India and South America. The flame
was transported from country to country aboard a specially-equipped Boeing 747 leased from Atlanta Icelandic
(Registration TF-ARO) called Zeus. On board the flame was carried and burned continuously in specially modified
miners lamps supplied by Protector Lamp of England.