In the context of the Ancient Olympics, fire had connotations of excellence, and it was praised by Pindar in his odes dedicated to victorious athletes, while the Olympic flame burned throughout the Games at the grand temple of Zeus.
The modern torch relay starting with the ceremonial lighting of the flame at Olympia and ending up at the host city may originally be the product of Nazi propaganda (it was introduced during the 1936 Berlin Olympics and thoroughly organised by Hitler's regime), though over time it has managed to become a celebration of human achievement and shake off any negative connotations, with thousands of people volunteering to carry the torch and become a part of its journey.
The flame is ignited at the grounds of the temple of Hera, as sun rays are focused on the torch using a parabolic mirror. After the ceremonies held at the site and at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, as well as a relay around Greece, the flame is finally carried to the host city, where it is used to light the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony. After burning continuously for the entire duration of the Games, its course ends as it is symbolically put out in the closing ceremony held on the final day.