The Paralympic Torches use broadly the same designs as the Olympic Torches, with a three-sided form inspired by the multiples of ‘three’ identified across London 2012.
For the Paralympic version, one of these is the Agitos, the symbol of the International Paralympic Committee. According to Locog ‘the three Agitos encircle a central point to emphasise the role the International Paralympic Committee plays in bringing athletes from all corners of the world together to compete. In the same way, the three sides of the Paralympic Torch encircle the Paralympic Flame.’
While the Olympic Torch used a gold colour, the Paralympic torch uses a reflective finish. Locog says, ‘The Torch reflects light and shines to light the way during the night, which is particularly appropriate for our overnight Relay.
‘The Paralympic Torch Relay is all about community involvement and engagement, and the Paralympic Torch reflects the communities it will be travelling through. It is always changing depending on its surroundings, so is adaptable and flexible.’
Today the flame sites at Scafell Pike (England), Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa (Wales), Ben Nevis (Scotland) and Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland) – known as the National Flames – are being lit by groups of scouts using flint and steel to create a spark and kindle a flame. The four individual flames will then be placed in miners’ lanterns and carried to the UK’s capital cities.
A cauldron in Trafalgar Square will be lit by the ‘English’ torch on Friday, after which the cauldrons in Belfast. Edinburgh and Cardiff will be lit on Saturday, Sunday and Monday respectively.
The flames will then be united in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, during a ceremony next Tuesday to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.
At 8pm that night the 24-hour overnight torch relay will begin, when torches will be carried by teams of five torchbearers from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium through some of the communities of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, before visiting all six host boroughs and a number of London landmarks.