I wasn't going to make any comments about the Olympic Torch thing (as I have done in the past) primarily because of the protests associated with it (I try to avoid injecting politics here if it isn't absolutely necessary), but since Mary Beard has made a fine rant about the fascist origins of the thing and it is getting picked up in more mainstream venues (e.g. the Spectator, the CHE, etc.) I'm worried that folks might think there is absolutely nothing Classical about it. (pardon that near-run-on sentence)

While we can acknowledge that the Berlin Olympics made the torch relay into the spectacle MB is ranting about, it must be pointed out that torch races and torch relays were a feature of ancient athletic competitions, such at the Panathenaia, the Prometheia, and several others. On this, see appendix A (p. 190 ff) in Donald G. Kyle, Athletics in Ancient Athens. (available at Google Books; the whole appendix did show up in a preview).

So should we get rid of the torch race? Probably not ... for my part, though, I could do without the speeches and other babblings of non-athletes looking for photo-ops.