Olympic Data – the Torch


Today I’m taking a break from my previous two week’s Python blogs to focus my attention on another data topic – who carries the torch in the Olympics. Because let’s face it, most everyone’s productivity goes down during this major sporting event. I have the data to prove that somewhere but I digress.

If you’ve ever tried playing a sport or even if you’ve ever tried to exercise regularly, you realize the enormous effort it takes. I am always intrigued by the Olympic Games and this year’s XXXI Olympiad in Rio is no exception. The Olympics are inspiring; they capture my imagination and the stories we hear are just so amazing. The games of the XXXI Olympiad also bring a wealth of data – including the torch bearers, medal counts and predictions and so much more. I want to take a look at the torch bearers today and give you some data visualizations to enjoy.

Wikipedia and several other places have lists of people who have lit the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony and the distance covered in doing so. For the 2016 games in Rio, it’s taken 106 days and about 12,000 torchbearers to cover the 20,000 km (12,427 miles) from Athens, Greece to Brazil.  The following info graphic from the Associated Press is a classic way to tell part of the torch’s story.


For a more detailed look at the cities the torch has visited in Brazil, here’s another map from Maps of the World. This also has a chart that list which day the torch arrived in a particular city. Note this was the planned route as of April 4, 2016 – about 4 months before the games began. I was also able to find a video showing the route also. Maybe one of the blog readers can explain why the torch goes all over the country as this is definitely not the shortest torch route. Perhaps the route is to encourage as much participation as possible?


The torch expands when the flame is passed from one torch bearer to another. Each segment on the torch represents something different about the colors of Brazil. I love this use of innovation blended with the tradition and heritage of Brazil. According to organizers, each torch weighs between 1-1.5 kg and stands 69 cm when expanded.


Hopefully you’ve learned a bit more data about the Olympic torch today. Next week I’ll take a look at some other ways data is used during the Olympics.

One thought on “Olympic Data – the Torch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.