The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic torch will boldly go where no torch has gone before: to the moon. Travelling by plane, train, car, reindeer sleigh, and spacecraft as part of the 39,000 mile relay involving 14,000 torch bearers, the Sochi flame relay will be the longest in the history of the Olympics. The torch will go to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest, to the peak of the Mt. Elbrus, the highest in Europe and Russia, and to the International Space Station, for the first spacewalk in flame relay history. This makes us wonder: is this “faster, higher, stronger” performance inspired by the Olympic spirit or the Olympic sports industry?
Changes in the flame relay show the influence of the managerial revolution on Olympic affairs and provide new insights into globalization. For more on the controversial history of this transnational ritual, read:
- MacAloon, John J. (2012). Introduction: the Olympic Flame Relay. Local knowledges of a global ritual form. Sport in Society. 15(5): 575-594.