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Whatever the design, the symbolism remains the same. Fire is the light in the darkness, a symbol of harmony and goodwill—symbolism which is further enhanced by the fact that the torch run is a relay, with the torch being handed off to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of different people as it makes its way through various countries and cultures, uniting them with a single, flaming thread. Not only does it unite geographically, but temporally as well, with the flame having come forward in time from the ancient Greeks to our modern day, connecting us to our past.

The myth of Prometheus shows us an important aspect of Greek culture—the concept of the hero who possesses the ability to suffer immense challenges. In this case, Prometheus’s choice to defy Zeus by giving fire back to mankind caused him to endure thirty years of daily torture, and he did so with strength and quiet resolve. So, too, does the torch bear this idea with it—the idea of the hero of myth, of the strength and determination that is so celebrated in the Olympic Games, brought into human form through our athlete-heroes who honorably fight for our respective countries. We carry the flame, the beating heart of freedom and passion that all mankind shares, in honor of that indomitable spirit.