The Olympics are here! Like all Olympics, this one started with the lighting of the Olympic flame. This tradition began with the first Olympics in Ancient Greece. Nobody wanted to be responsible for lighting the flame, so the athletes agreed to take turns carrying it. That way, if someone dropped it in a puddle, the folks in charge of the Olympics wouldn’t be able to pin the blame on a single person. Good thinking!
Nowadays it’s an honor to be picked to carry the Olympic Torch. You have to be a really great athlete and person in order to carry the torch. Rumor has it if you are not pure of heart, you will be struck by the lightning of Zeus!
Who is the most controversial person chosen to carry the torch?
Back in the day in Greece in around 550 BCE, the Greeks picked a dog named Big Bob to carry the torch! You might be wondering, why was a dog chosen? And why didn’t the dog have a Greek name?
Well, Big Bob was the Air Bud of Ancient Greece! The Jr. Javelin Team from Sparta Elementary was short one teammate for the game against a rival school. Legend has it, Big Bob ran up to the kids, grabbed a javelin in his mouth, beat up a rival kid with it (look, it was tough to be a kid in Ancient Greece!), and then threw the javelin 60 meters! Whoa!!
Big Bob became a full-fledged member of Sparta Elementary’s Jr. Javelin Team. Big Bob was so popular among kids, they had to let him carry the torch. The athletes that year were secretly very resentful that a dog got to carry the torch with them. Legend has it, the athlete who received the torch from Big Bob was super grossed out by how slobbery it was and almost dropped the Olympic flame!!
More recently, Olympic Committees have refused to allow animal athletes to participate in the games. Do you agree? If you think Air Bud should be allowed to carry the torch, write to your Congressman!