Olympic torch on display

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This replica of the Olympic torch that was carried through South Carolina in advance of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, can be seen through this year’s London Olympics at the South Carolina State Museum. (Photo by Susan Dugan/courtesy S.C. State Museum)
In celebration of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the South Carolina State Museum is exhibiting a replica of the Olympic torch that was carried through the Palmetto State during the buildup to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

“The torch was presented to Gov. David Beasley on June 12, 1996 by Bob Howell of Coca-Cola Consolidated Bottling Company of Greenville,” said Curator of History JoAnn Zeise. “The Olympic torch relay started in Los Angeles on April 27 of that year and ended in Atlanta July 19 when the flame was used to light the cauldron at the Centennial Olympic Stadium.”

The torch’s cross-country journey took it to 42 states, and it was carried 15,000 miles by 10,000 Americans. The relay runners passed through South Carolina on June 24 and 25.The torch is made of aluminum, with a pecan wood handle, said Zeise. “To celebrate the fact that the Atlanta Olympics marked the 100th anniversary of the modern games, the names of the 20 host cities from 1896 to 1996 are etched into a gold-plated band near the torch’s base.”

The case containing the torch also features a map of the torch’s route through South Carolina, from Rock Hill to Columbia, then up through Spartanburg and Greenville toward Asheville, N.C.

The torch can be seen in the museum’s lobby through Aug. 12, the duration of this year’s games. For more information, contact JoAnne Zeise at (803) 898-4942 or joanne.zeise@scmuseum.org.State Museum exhibits Olympic torch replica