London 2012 offers first look at the Paralympic Torch29.02.2012
Made from an aluminium alloy which was developed for the aerospace and automotive industry, the Paralympic Torch has been given a mirrored finish which means that its colour will adapt to its surroundings. It will not only reflect the light from the Flame but also shine brightly on the teams of Torchbearers that carry it and the communities that it travels through on the way from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium. With part of the 24 hour relay taking place overnight, the reflective nature of the Torch will help it shine brightly and stand out in the darkness.
Sharing the core design attributes of the Olympic Torch, the three sided form was inspired by the multiples of ‘three’ identified across London 2012. One of these is the Agitos, the symbol of the International Paralympic Committee. The three Agitos encircle a central point to emphasize the role the International Paralympic Committee plays in bringing athletes from all parts of the world together to compete. In the same way, the three sides of the Paralympic Torch encircle the Paralympic Flame.
Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: “With six months to go until the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, we are on track to deliver a great Games that will showcase some of the most inspirational athletes from around the World. The Paralympic Torch Relay will provide the perfect start by involving people from across the UK in events celebrating the Flame and help the ignite passion for the Paralympics.”
Multi-medal winning Paralympian, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, said: “The unveiling of the Paralympic Torch is an important part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, as it will become the symbol that everyone recognizes. With six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, I hope this will help build on the growing excitement and inspire the teams that are in line to carry the Flame from Stoke Mandeville to London.”
Designed by London-based designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for use in both London 2012 Relays, the design of the Torch was driven by a desire to reflect modernity and innovation. Being made from an aluminium alloy, it is light whilst having good strength and excellent heat resistance. Thousands of round perforations, made using cutting-edge laser technology, help ensure that heat from the flame is quickly dissipated without being conducted down the handle. The holes also make the Torch lighter and give it a strong texture that is easy to grip.
Created by working in partnership with Basildon-based product engineers Tecosim and Coventry-based manufacturers, The Premier Group, the Torch reflects the UK’s talent in design and manufacturing.
Barber and Osgerby said: “We wanted to make the most of pioneering production technologies and to demonstrate the industrial excellence available in the UK. We are incredibly proud to be representing the UK, in design. We’ve worked hard to create a Torch that universally celebrates both the Paralympic and Olympic Relays and which reflects the passion for London 2012.”
Four Flames will be lit as part of a new concept for the Paralympic Torch Relay, one each in London, Greater Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. The Flames will be lit using the energy of physical human endeavour. Each nation will also host events celebrating the Flame Lightings. The four Flames will be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame. This Flame will be carried on a 24 hour overnight Relay to London and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
Over 150 school teams from across the UK are taking part in STEM Challenge 9: The Paralympic Torch Relay Challenge, an Inspire mark project, where groups of 11 to 14-year-olds students are investigating how to create a spark by the energy of human endeavour to light the Paralympic Flame. STEMNET is shortlisting finalists, with the final taking place on Saturday 17th March at The Big Bang UK Science and Engineering Fair 2012. The winning team will receive prize money to support their school STEM Club and access to a Paralympic Torch Relay event. For more information please visit www.stemchallenges.net.
33 communities from across the UK have taken the opportunity to host Flame Celebration’s over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Each celebration will be unique and have a flavour of the local area but will have the Paralympic values at its core. To find a celebration near you, please visit www.london2012.com/paralympic-torch-relay
In addition to the Flame Festivals and Flame Celebrations, the whole of the UK will be encouraged to help light the way to the Paralympic Games by lighting a lantern. To get involved, please visit www.london2012.com/get-involved/local-leaders/lantern-festival/
Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee President, said: “I am delighted with the plans for the Paralympic Torch Relay as LOCOG and the IPC have worked closely to develop a concept that will not only capture the attention of the whole country but also act as a blueprint for Organizing Committees of future Games.
“I think it is brilliant that the actual Paralympic Flame, that will be used to light the Cauldron in the Opening Ceremony on 29 August, will be created at Stoke Mandeville, a place steeped in Paralympic history. The Games are coming home in six months time and it is only right that we celebrate the significance of Stoke Mandeville, the Paralympic Movement’s birthplace.”
The three Presenting Partners for the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, BT, Lloyds TSB, and Sainsbury’s have each carried out a public nomination process to find some of the most inspirational teams across the UK to carry the Paralympic Flame. There were over 3500 nominations and they are now going through judging before the successful teams are announced in the next couple of months. The Relay will also include nominations from the International Paralympic Committee, the British Paralympic Association and other London 2012 sponsors.
Suzi Williams, Director, BT Group Marketing and Brand, added: “Here at BT we’ve been involved in the Paralympics for decades and we understand the power of Paralympic sport to inspire all of us. The unveiling of the Paralympic Torch design today – with just six months to go - will help to inspire the teams of amazing people we’re bringing together to run with the Flame.”
Sally Hancock, Director, 2012 Partnership and Group Sponsorship at Lloyds Banking Group said: “As the only Presenting Partner of both the Paralympic and Olympic Torch Relays, Lloyds TSB is proud to be bringing the spirit of the Games closer to communities. We had a fantastic response from the public last year, nominating people who have supported and inspired people in their community to carry the Paralympic Flame. With six months to go until the start of the Relay it’s great to see the excitement building as the Paralympic Torch is unveiled and communities prepare to celebrate at Flame Festivals around the UK.”
Gwyn Burr, Customer Service & Colleague Director at Sainsbury’s, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the stories of determination, inspiration and courage which have been shared with us as part of our UK-wide nominations process. We look forward to sharing these stories with our customers and colleagues once the successful teams have been announced and to seeing the efforts of these incredible people rewarded with a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience.”