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The first smokeless olympic torch?


Mau2010

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OK, this post probably have not too much sense, but I have been seeing old videos of opening ceremonies and I saw that old olympic torches had a lot of smoke when they were burning, which doesn't happen anymore with the newest torches.

Does anyone know since when olympic torches don't emanate all that smoke anymore and which was the first smokeless olympic torch? How were they in the past and what kept them lit?

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A difficult, but good question. Spontaneously, I don't have an answer. Off the cuff, I only seem to remember that Seoul's torch was the last one which really produced thick smoke. But that doesn't mean that all previous torches produced smoke, too.

Maybe you should take the time and look up the many clips from Olympic opening ceremonies out there on YouTube or on the official IOC website (olympic.org) and check whether the torches carried in produced smoke or not.

But I can also say that they used things like magnesium (for example Melbourne 1956) or olive oil (Montreal 1976) as fuel for the torches in the past. And that stuff produces heavy smoke. Today they use liquid gas for the torches, which burns much cleaner.

Maybe this website helps -- it provides further information on the torches of at least the Summer Games:

http://olympic-museum.de/quickview/all_torches.htm

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It could be a combination of cleaner burning fuels (butane seems to be a popular option) and the fact that after 1988, every summer games opened on the Friday night (it used to be on the Saturday morning or afternoon).

So they burn cleaner on Fridays nights rather than on Saturday AMs? ;) I luv it.

That's an even more arcane factoid than my non-consecutive cities' 1st initials-handicapping algorithm for forecasting prospective hosts and non-hosts, K. B)

Seriously, there is also this factoid from the source Kenadian quoted:

The first liquid fuels were introduced at the 1972 Munich games. Torches since that time have carried liquid fuels -- they are stored under pressure as a liquid, but burn as a gas to produce a flame. Liquid fuel is safe for the runner and can be stored in a lightweight canister.

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OK, this post probably have not too much sense, but I have been seeing old videos of opening ceremonies and I saw that old olympic torches had a lot of smoke when they were burning, which doesn't happen anymore with the newest torches.

Does anyone know since when olympic torches don't emanate all that smoke anymore and which was the first smokeless olympic torch? How were they in the past and what kept them lit?

OK, just looked at the Innsbruck 1964 cauldron-lighting. It looks like a smokeless torch was used then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO8LmlubkLE

Look from 0:38 - 0:44; unfortunately, most of it is taken with the Final Lighter's back turned.

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