Rio 2016 today revealed its design for the Olympic Torch and the route for the Torch Relay, 399 days before the Opening Ceremony is due to take place.
The unique design of the Torch incorporates “Brazilian flair,” officials claimed.
It aims to reflect the unprecedented meeting between the legendary Olympic flame and the human warmth of the Brazilian people, they said.
The Torch’s texture has triangles running the length of its body, alluding to the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the floating effect of its different segments refers to the efforts of the athletes.
One of its main innovations is the movement of these segments, which open up and expand vertically when the Olympic Flame is passed from one torchbearer to another.
Upon expanding, the segments reveal the elements that add the Brazilian flavour: diversity, contagious energy and exuberant nature, with the soil, the sea, the mountains, the sky and the sun represented in the colours of the Brazilian flag, which are also present in the visual identity of Rio 2016.
“The design of the Rio 2016 Torch was inspired by the Olympic spirit, our country’s nature, and the harmonious diversity and energy of our people," said Beth Lula, the Rio 2016 brand director.
"We used the specific stroke of the Rio 2016 brand to design the torch’s contours. Its horizontal segments, once open, reveal the sky, mountains, sea and the ground, represented by the promenade of Copacabana.”
The design was the result of a nationwide competitive tender that 76 agencies responded to and that concluded with the meeting of a multidisciplinary judging panel, formed by 11 members recognised for their expertise in product design or their contribution to the Olympic Movement.
The panel unanimously selected the São Paulo-based design studio Chelles & Hayashi, established 21 years ago by Gustavo Chelles and Romy Hayashi.
After having been selected, the winning design was refined in collaboration with Rio 2016.
“The day is coming when we will have the honour of being the first country in South America to host the biggest sporting event on the planet," said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
"In 399 days, people from across the world will look at us and see the Olympic flame lit in Rio.
"We are confident that we are going to meet, to the highest level, this great challenge that we have taken on.
"The Olympic torch is truly beautiful and fantastic.
"It will travel around Brazil and will be carried by the men and women of our people. It will stay in various municipalities and will cross the nation from north to south and east to west. It will be a great work of cooperation.”
The Torch Relay will begin with the traditional Flame Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, Greece, where the Ancient Olympic Games were born.
Then the torch will begin its tour of Brazil in May 2016.
Starting in the capital city of Brasilia and passing through an expected 500 cities and towns, with 300 of them due to host the Olympic Torch itself, the route was designed to reach as much of the Brazilian population as possible – an estimated 90 per cent of the public, it is claimed.
It will be carried by 12,000 people.
The torch will travel 20,000 kilometres by road and another 10,000 miles by air over the North and Midwest parts of the country, between the cities of Teresina and Campo Grande, without the Flame ever going out.
"We want to show the world the chemistry that we believe will be born when the Olympic Flame meets the warmth of the Brazilian people," said Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016.
Each Torch – crafted from recycled aluminium and resin with a satin finish – will weigh between one kilogram and 1.5kg and stands 63.5 centimetres high when contracted and 69cm when expanded.
Lightweight materials and a design that induces a grip closer to the Torch’s centre of gravity have been employed to make the experience the best it can be.
The Torch Relay is due to end on August 5, when it will light the Olympic Cauldron at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
The Relay will last between 90 and 100 days, allowing for technical breaks or special photo events.
“Rio de Janeiro is working very hard to host the Games, but these are all of Brazil’s Games and the whole population will take part," said Nuzman.
"The most important things is that each person who takes part in the torch relay can leave for their city a strong message of union.”
The Relay will be presented by International Olympic Committee TOP partner Coca-Cola and Rio 2016 sponsors Nissan and Bradesco.
A special website for the Torch Relay has been set-up and can be seen by clicking here.
April 2015: Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch Relay to cover all five regions of Brazil and Stoke Mandeville
March 2015: Philip Barker: Rio 2016 Torch Relay will revive memories of previous Brazilian cameos
January 2015: Presenting partners named for Rio 2016 Torch Relay visiting all 26 Brazilian States
January 2015: Rio 2016 Torch Relay to emulate London 2012 by providing "Olympic experience"