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The Olympic Torch

A celebration of the Olympic Torch Relay

by Becky May

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider lessons from the Olympic Torch Relay.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to show where the Olympic torch is on the day of the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to display the information. It is available at:
  • Have available the following images of Olympic torches and the means to display them during the assembly:

    - Olympic torches through the decades, available at:
    - the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch, available at:
  • Optional: if you know someone who was a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympic Games, you may wish to prearrange for them to run into the room in the Assembly, Step 4.
  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Concept Movie’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 3.45 minutes long and is available at:


  1. Welcome the students and ask them what they are looking forward to most as summer approaches. You may wish to share the things that you enjoy most about summer, such as sunny days, barbecues and holidays.

  2. Ask the students what sporting event is going to happen this summer. There are several, but hopefully, someone will mention the Olympic Games.

  3. Explain that the Olympic Games will be held this summer in Tokyo in Japan, beginning on 24 July. They are held every four years in different countries around the world. Every Olympic Games begins with a torch relay, where a light is carried from the site of the first Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, to the stadium where the Olympics are to be held.

    This year’s torch relay began in Olympia on 12 March and is now travelling across Japan.

    Show the current location of the Olympic torch.

  4. Explain that a new Olympic torch is made for each Olympic Games.

    Show the image of Olympic torches through the decades.

    It is a great honour to be selected to run part of the journey with the Olympic torch.

    Optional: if available, wait for the person who was a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympic Games to run in.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Concept Movie’.

  5. Show the image of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch.

    The theme of this year’s torch relay is ‘hope lights our way’. The organizers have planned a route that includes places previously damaged or destroyed by an earthquake and a tsunami. It is being seen as a symbol of hope, especially where there have been dark times.

  6. Point out that light is often a symbol of hope. As the torch makes its way from Olympia to Tokyo, it is passed from one person to another. Each person carries the light for a short distance before passing it on. This is a helpful image for us to think about because it reminds us that we can pass on hope and light to others.

Time for reflection

Ask the students to consider how they personally can share hope with people around them and pass it on to others.

Point out that it doesnt matter how small a light may be. Whenever we take that light into a dark place, the light takes away the dark; light always wins.

There is a verse in the Bible that describes this. It says, ‘A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’

As the torch travels around Japan, some of its destinations have experienced a lot of darkness. It is being carried to places where homes have been destroyed and communities have lost people they loved. In every one of those places, the torch will be a symbol of light driving out the darkness.

Ask the students to reflect quietly on how each of us can carry hope into dark places, like light in the darkness.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the students to think about school and home. How can they be lights and bring hope in these places?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
Thank you for hope and for the symbol of light.
As we look forward to these Olympic Games, and watch the torch travelling to its destination,
Help us to remember to be bringers of hope and light in the darkness,
sharing kindness with those around us.

Publication date: May 2020   (Vol.22 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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