SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – The symbolic countdown to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics began when the Olympic torch, lit at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, passed into South Korean football legend Park Ji-sung’s hands from those of Greek cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis, the first recipient in a line 7,500 torch bearers-strong.
The torch drew attention for its pure white design, inspired by Korean white porcelain, with four golden strips inlaid that stream down from the top. Weighing 1.3 kg, the upper portion was fashioned with steel, the bottom with aluminum, and it was configured to be exactly 700 mm long as a figurative representation of the 700 m above sea level altitude of Pyeongchang.
It is reported that particular measures were taken to ensure the torch would not be extinguished from threats like precipitation or excessively cold weather, a necessary precaution considering the season in which the upcoming games will take place.
Under pressure from wind, an air-tunnel will form, channeling excess oxygen to fuel the flame. As a precaution against rain, a drainage system consisting of an protective cap at the upper surface of the torch is attached, and water will be diverted downwards through the torch and exit through a pentagon-shaped hole at the torch’s base.
The Olympic torch will make its way across Greece and depart on the last day of October, arriving in Incheon International Airport on November 1, 100 days from the official kickoff of the event.
The first torch runner on South Korean soil will be figure skating prospect and rising star Yoo Young, touted as a potential heir to figure skating ‘goddess’ Kim Yuna’s throne.
From there, the torch will be relayed across the Incheon Bridge to Songdo International Business District and leave for Jeju Island the following day. After its brief sojourn on South Korea’s largest island, it will then begin its northward trek to the eastern coast of South Korea where Pyeongchang County is located, traversing the port city of Busan and zigzagging its way through the southern provinces.
By February 9, the starting day of the Olympics, the torch will at long last arrive at Pyeongchang, where it will burn throughout the duration of the games until the closing date of February 25.