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Countries visited by the torch relay in the lead up to the Summer Olympics 1936-2016

Since 1936, the Olympic torch relay has been used to transport the Olympic flame from its point of origin in Olympia, Greece, to the host city of that year's games. Until the 1970s, the torch was traditionally transported by land, and when sea or air journeys were necessary the flame would touch down in various countries along the way. From 1976 to 1996, the majority of the relays took place in Greece, before the flame was then flown (or transmitted via satellite) to the host country, leading to lower numbers in those years. As the 2004 Olympics took place in their country of origin, a special route was taken around the world, to highlight international peace and unity represented in the Olympic games. This relay also saw the Olympic torch pass through more countries than any other relay, and it visited the continents of Africa and South America for the first time in its history.

Number of countries visited by each torch relay before each Summer Olympics from 1936 to 2016

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Release date




Survey time period

1936 to 2016

Supplementary notes

Data was compiled from the linked source, as well as the individual event pages from

*This also includes the relay from Olympia to Stockholm, where the equestrian events were held.

**The official Olympic website states that the 2012 relay only took place in Greece and the United Kingdom, however the torch also passed through the Republic of Ireland.

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