This is a picture of the athlete Konstantinos Kondylis, the first runner who carried the Flame from Olympia.

A little known fact about the Olympic Torch Relay: it was originally revived for the controversial Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Hitler was convinced by Joseph Goebbels to allow the games to take place in Germany as an opportunity to promote Nazi ideology. Hitler removed signs stating “Jews not wanted” and similar slogans from the main tourist attractions. In an effort to “clean up Berlin,” Hitler ordered the German Ministry of Interior to authorize the chief of Berlin Police to arrest all gypsies and keep them in a special camp.

Germany won most of the medals in the Olympics that year.

Knowing that slice of history–after all of the protests and chaos and costs of trying to protect that torch on its trot around the world–it kind of makes me wonder how necessary the relay is.

It seems to have nothing to do with athleticism.

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