The Olympic Flame is a symbol of continuity between the ancient and modern games. It has been lit in a ceremony in Olympia, Greece, ahead of every Games since Berlin 1936, when the Olympic Torch Relay first began, according to Olympic.org. The relay, inspired by the torch races of Ancient Greece, begins when the flame is transported to the host country.
One year after arriving in Tokyo, the 121-day relay kicked off on March 25 in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, one of the areas hardest hit by the disastrous 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, according to The Washington Post.
Celebrities and members of the royal family have taken part in the relay for decades — here, we’ve rounded up some of the most memorable moments of the past 25 years.
The legendary boxer, who won a gold medal in the Rome 1960 Olympic Games, carried the torch 36 years later at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Ali also kicked off the 2002 Salt Lake City relay, which traveled through more than 300 towns in order to promote the Games across the United states.