While the Olympic torch relay has hit an all time high, so has the protests and the controversies over both the Olympic Games and the torch relay itself. Politics and human rights aside, I think the torch relay getting to the top of Everest is very impressive.
Over the years, the torch relay has become a big spectacle seen as a sort of goodwill gesture, an opportunity for sponsorship and advertising, and a chance for a regular person who is lucky enough to be selected, to be apart of the Olympic games. All throughout the festivities though, very few mention the origins of the torch relay itself.
The Olympic flame was brought back as a symbol for the modern Olympics in 1928. The actual idea of the torch relay didn't come around until the Berlin Olympics in 1936...under Hitler. Hitler used the relay as propaganda for the Nazis. He wanted to show the connection between a classical, Aryn Greece, and his Germany. I think it is safe to speculate what the torch runners looked like at that time.
For those who aren't aware, the Berlin Olympics was the one where the late,great, Jesse Owens took home four gold medals and Hitler refused to even shake his hand. The BBC held back Harold Abrahams, the legendary runner that the movie Chariots of Fire is based on, from being their track correspondent because he was Jewish and they "didn't want to offend the host country." America also held back some of the runners in their relay team because they were Jewish.
Some might say that it is a great thing that we have taken something that was originally created with bad intentions and turned it into a positive thing but I just find it interesting how we have turned a blind eye to it for so many years. Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised that there is controversy over who is hosting the torch relay when the torch relay has been so controversial from the start. But hey, who am I to judge, I should just sit back and not think about it like most other Americans, it's getting closer to the days when I stay up late or wake up early to catch the good sports.
I need to find someone with TiVo.....