Who Else Has Lit the Olympic Cauldron?

The cauldron at the Winter Games opening ceremony.
The cauldron at the Winter Games opening ceremony.
Lintao Zhang, Getty Images

The Vancouver Organizing Committee has managed to keep the identity of the person who will light the Olympic cauldron during today's opening ceremonies under wraps. Many have speculated that Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky will run the final leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, a tradition that dates to the 1936 Summer Games and begins with the lighting of the torch in the months before the Olympics in Olympia, Greece.

Others predict that Betty Fox, the mother of the late Terry Fox, the one-legged humanitarian who ran more than 3,000 miles across his native Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research, will light the flame that symbolizes the theft of fire from Zeus by Prometheus. Whoever emerges with the torch from the tunnel at BC Place Stadium will join a select group of Olympic greats, schoolchildren, and even royalty, who have lit the Olympic cauldron at past Winter Games.

Oslo, 1952

The Olympic flame has been part of the modern Olympic Games since the 1928 Summer Olympics, but the lighting ceremony wasn't introduced at the Winter Olympics until 1952. Norwegian Eigil Nansen, the grandson of polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, lit the Olympic flame that year. Fridtjof Nansen was the first man to cross Greenland on skis.

Cortina d'Ampezzo, 1956

1956-torch

During the lighting ceremony, Italian speed skater Guido Caroli tripped over a loose public address system wire as he carried the Olympic flame around the main rink for the 1956 Winter Games. Caroli didn't see the wire because he was looking toward the Presidential box, but he regained his balance in time to avoid an embarrassing fall. "I didn't let the flame go out," he later said. "Remember that I didn't let the flame go out."

Squaw Valley, 1960

Andrea Mead Lawrence, a retired Olympic skiing champion, delivered the torch to American speed skater and defending gold medalist in the 500m, Ken Henry, who lit the Olympic flame at the base of the Tower of Nations.

Innsbruck, 1964

Josef Rieder, an Austrian alpine skier, lit the Olympic flame in 1964.

Grenoble, 1968

Alain Calmat, who became a surgeon after his figure skating career was over, won the silver medal at the 1964 Olympics and had the honor of lighting the Olympic flame in his native France.

Sapporo, 1972

1972-torch

Hideki Takada, a 16-year-old Sapporo high school student, was the final torchbearer at the 1972 Winter Games.

Innsbruck, 1976

To remember the 1964 Games held in Innsbruck and usher in the start of the 1976 Games, two flames were lit simultaneously by a pair of Austrian Olympic champions: Josef Feistmantl (luge) and Christl Haas (skiing).

Lake Placid, 1980

Dr. Charles Morgan Kerr, a psychiatrist from Tucson, Ariz., was one of 52 runners who carried the Olympic torch to Lake Placid from Virginia, where it had arrived from Greece. The 51 other relay runners elected Kerr to light the torch at the opening ceremonies.

Sarajevo, 1984

Yugoslavia's top female figure skater, 21-year-old Sanda Dubravcic, lit the Olympic flame in Sarajevo after 1,600 other torchbearers participated in the Olympic torch relay.

Calgary, 1988

Seventh-grader Robyn Perry, the last of 6,250 Canadians to carry the torch before the 1988 Games, stood on her tiptoes to light the flame at the opening ceremonies. Perry, 12, a talented figure skater, was randomly selected from a group of eight other students as a symbol of youth. The Montreal Gazette caught up with Perry, who now goes by Robyn Ainsworth, last year. "It shaped who I was," said Ainsworth, who is the director of We Care Home Health Services in Calgary. "I got so many life experiences out of it that I don't think I could separate it out from who I now am. It definitely impacted my life."

Albertville, 1992

At least one French journalist described the Albertville organizing committee's decision to have French soccer star Michel Platini run the final leg of the Olympic torch relay as "très bizarre." Platini handed the torch to Francois-Cyrille Grange, a young boy from the Savoie region, who lit the flame.

Lillehammer, 1994

1994-torch

Former Norwegian ski flying champion Ole Gunnar Fidjestol was scheduled to soar into the ski jumping arena carrying the Olympic torch for the opening ceremonies, but was hospitalized after suffering a sprained neck and a mild concussion in a crash during a trial run. "This was not my worst fall, but it was my most embarrassing," said Fidjestol, one of the all-time greats in a sport that differs slightly from ski jumping in that ski fliers take off from a higher plane and soar farther than ski jumpers. Stein Gruben, who had been practicing the jump as Fidjestol's understudy, stepped in and landed the jump perfectly. Gruben handed the torch to blind cross-country skier Catherine Nottingnes, who handed it to Crown Prince Haakon, who lit the flame. Haakon's father and grandfather were former Olympians.

Nagano, 1998

Japanese figure skater Midori Ito, who won a silver medal in Albertville and the 1989 world figure skating championship, lit the flame.

Salt Lake City, 2002

The U.S. hockey team that upset the Soviet Union to win the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics lit the flame at the end of an inspirational torch relay that featured both Lance Armstrong and Christopher Reeve. Wearing USA hockey jerseys, 1980 U.S. captain Mike Eruzione and his teammates lit the Olympic cauldron after accepting the torch from U.S. skier Picabo Street and 2002 U.S. women's hockey captain Cammi Granato. "I think this is probably the final journey," Eruzione said afterward. "It's hard to imagine yourself being an Olympic athlete and winning a gold medal, then 22 years go by and you carry the torch and light the Olympic flame."

Turin, 2006

Stefania Belmondo, an Italian cross-country skier who won gold in Salt Lake City, lit the flame in Turin.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

This 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Honors 11 Unforgettable Women Who Made History

You can plot your own plan to make history while you assemble the puzzle.
You can plot your own plan to make history while you assemble the puzzle.
Galison/Amazon

The assertion that “well-behaved women seldom make history” has been an oft-quoted feminist slogan ever since historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich first wrote it in the 1970s. This 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle from Galison ($18) honors women from all eras who truly embody the phrase.

The image, illustrated by creative designer Ana San José, depicts a woman walking through a portrait gallery, gazing up at gilt-framed paintings of 11 icons who have pushed the envelope on what society thinks women can (or should) do. Some, like Amelia Earhart and Jane Austen, are household names, while others haven’t been as well-represented in education and popular culture. Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei, for example, became the first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest in 1975; and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson was instrumental in sending astronauts to the Moon. The puzzle includes a living legend, too: Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education activist and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history.

herstory museum 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle
Not a single well-behaved woman in sight.
Galison/Amazon

The completed puzzle measures 27 inches by 20 inches and comes with a printout showing the full image, which you can use as a guide. The pieces are printed with no-glare ink, so you won’t have to constantly reposition yourself (or the pieces) to keep your light source from obscuring your view. And when you’re finished, you can either pack the puzzle back into its box, or seal it with puzzle glue ($13) and hang it on a wall to create your very own mini feminist portrait gallery.

You can purchase the puzzle for $18 from Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.