“They were a serious business, Olympic Torches in 1948,” says Hugo Rifkind, who joined the torch relay yesterday. “Today’s Torches are puny things, all holes and glitter. Back then they were heavy and solid, as befitted a different age, with different priorities. ‘I could run with this,’ you wanted to know, ‘but I could also use it to cudgel a Nazi.’”
On the left, comedian Eddie Izzard models the 2012 torch; on the right is Frank Verge, 86, who carried the flame in 1948.