Fire and fury: the Olympic torch relay

The Olympic torch has traveled to space, deep sea, and even Mount Everest.

It has had its fair share of disasters along the way.

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As Paris prepares to reveal the route for the 2024 Olympic torch relay, AFP looks back at some of the event’s most memorable events since it debuted ahead of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

One of the most memorable torch relay scams occurred in 1956, just before the Melbourne Games, when an Australian student named Barry Larkin deceived audiences with a makeshift torch topped by burning underwear.

Larkin was cheered on by tens of thousands as he carried his torch — a wooden chair leg crowned with a metal pudding container carrying the fiery undergarments — up the stairs of Sydney’s Town Hall and delivered it to city mayor Pat Hills.

The university student even prepared his own bogus motorbike escort, but legitimate police outriders quickly apprehended him.

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