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PyeongChang torch is ablaze with symbolism

Feb 02,2018
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The color and shape of the torch for this year’s Winter Olympics reflect Korean tradition. [HANHWA]
PYEONGCHANG SYMBOLS

In the early days of the Olympic torch relays, torch designs were more or less the same. Over time, however, the designs have become more diverse, reflecting the unique character of each host country. The torch design for this year’s Winter Olympics thus reflects Korean tradition. Under the slogan “Let Everyone Shine,” the white, curved torch calls to mind traditional Korean pottery. White is also, of course, a symbol of snow and ice, representing winter sports as well as the frosty landscape of the host city. The torch measures 700 millimeters (27.6 inches) in length, representing the “Happy 700,” a concept used to promote PyeongChang, which stems from the belief that the most comfortable elevation for people to inhabit is 700 meters (0.43 miles) above sea level, which is right where Pyeongchang is located.

The five pillars on the upper part of the torch are designed to resemble a burning flame while the pentagons at the top and bottom symbolize the five continents to which all competitors belong. The repeating golden star motif embedded between the inner sheath and surrounding the handle represents the Korean letter for “ch” as in “PyeongChang,” as well as the five continents. The star sign is also engraved on the outside of the ignition hole to represent the hope that the Games will open new horizons. The golden inner sheath is intended to be an extension of the flame once the torch is lit. Once lit, it is designed to withstand drastic weather changes to prevent the flame from going out.