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Screengrab via What's Inside?/YouTube

Here’s why the Olympic flame is pretty much unbreakable

The flame won't go out, and the torch won't be destroyed.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Aug 1, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 8:48 am CDT

Much like today’s teens, the Olympic torch must stay lit at all times. To make that possible, the torch has to be durable. As the proprietors of the YouTube channel What’s Inside? found out, the torch isn’t just tough; it’s damn near indestructible.

Daniel Markham and his son Lincoln, the hosts of What’s Inside?, teamed up with fellow YouTuber Shonduras to crack open one of the official torches used to carry the flame to Rio, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics—a task that took nearly a full day and three different saws to accomplish.

The torch proved to be a surprisingly sturdy structure, with its aluminum frame and reinforced body proving to be difficult to crack open. The chassis took one saw out of commission completely as the YouTubers tried to cut through it.

Eventually they opened it up and found a pretty intricate design for what appears to be such a simple device, including a look at how exactly the torch stays lit as it travels between 300 cities and changes hands between more than 12,000 runners

A pressurized fuel tank slots into the bottom of the torch and feeds the gas through a spring-loaded fuel pipe to be ignited by a burner. A valve at the top of the contraption helps maintain the high pressure required to keep the flame going.

Given the surprisingly detailed design that goes into the Olympic torch, it’s no wonder that it’s survived all it’s been put through, including everything from falls to fire extinguishers. 

Unfortunately, it’s still no match for a bucket of water in the hands of angry protesters. Technology has only come so far.

H/T Gizmodo

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*First Published: Aug 1, 2016, 4:06 pm CDT