The Olympic torch is rekindled from a "mother flame" that is kept in a protective lantern case and is never extinguished. Before the Olympic games begin, an olive branch is lit by the sun's rays in Olympia, Greece. The flame from this olive branch is used as the mother flame.

After the ceremony in Olympia, the flame is placed in a cauldron and travels through Greece for seven days. Afterwards it travels in its protective lantern case that travels with the torch through the relay. The torch used in the relay is lit from the lantern every morning. During the relay, runners pass the flame from torch to torch.