Eighty torchbearers carried the Olympic Flame on its journey through Canberra, Australia’s national capital, on 24 April 2008. These 80 Australians were part of the longest torch relay in Olympic history, involving 21,880 torchbearers and a global journey of 137,000 kilometres across six continents.
Torchbearers selected for the relay in Canberra included past and present Olympians as well as and individuals who have been distinguished for remarkable feats in their profession or community. The personal stories of Olympic torchbearers have inspired Australians and people world-wide.
Nominations for torchbearers were received from all Australian state and territory leaders, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, the Australian Olympic Committee, and event sponsors Samsung, Lenovo and Coca Cola. A public nomination process attracted nominations for two designated torchbearer places in the Relay.
The torch designed for the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay incorporated strong elements of Chinese culture as well as showcase innovative Chinese design and technical capabilities.
The torch’s spiral shape was inspired by the traditional Chinese paper scroll, a key Chinese invention.
The designers of the red and silver torch drew inspiration from Chinese art and contemporary design. Cloud motifs etched into the body of the torch are often depicted in works of Chinese architecture, fine arts and story telling.
Standing 72 centimetres high, the torch weighed 985 grams and was made of lightweight aluminium. The high standard of technical design allowed the torch’s flame to withstand severe weather conditions.