The torch relay of 1948 at Katakolon

24 May

Historical records show us that Katakolon played its role in the torch relay for the Olympic Games in 1948 that were held by London.

First of all, there was a huge debate on whether the torch relay should take place at all, since the second World War had just ended, and some people were expressing their concern on retaining the concept, since there were some links between the Nazi propaganda and the torch.

The Flame at Olympia 1948

However, it was decided that it was an ancient tradition that had to remain as it was, so the torch relay started on July 17th, just two weeks before the opening of the Olympic Games of 1948. There was a second problem though; the official ceremony took place in Olympia as always, with a girl kindling the flame from the sun rays in the stadium. But Greece was in civil war, so the flame could not travel in the country as it happens usually to honor the birthplace of the Olympics.

The solution was found almost right away. The flame was brought to Katakolon and remained there for 2 days, then it was  taken by a Greek warship to the island of Corfu, waiting a British frigate, the Whitesand Bay to arrive and carry it to Bari in Italy.

Indeed, the torch of the Olympic Games was left at Katakolon and many Greeks came to see it; after a 22h trip from Corfu, the frigate took the flame to Italy and then it continued its relay towards London. For the biggest part of the route, the flame was carried by a Rolls Royce which was moving slowly in the streets of the European countries, until it arrived at London for the opening ceremony of the Games.

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