When the Olympic torch left Greece on October 24, 2017 to journey to Korea, Greek cross country skier, Apostolos Angelis, took two items – the torch and an olive branch. Carrying on the tradition of the Olympic Flame and torch relay, the Olympic Flame touched down in Korea on November 1 to begin a 101-day trek through 17 cities and provinces across Korea that will end in PyeongChang, site of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games on opening day, February 9.

The journey is symbolic in many ways. The relay will travel through sites that highlight the culture, heritage, history and technological accomplishments of the Korean people, crisscrossing across the peninsula, passing the torch through the hands of virtually every sector of Korean society: from better known TV personalities and K-pop stars, athletes and public officials, to local youth leaders, crossing guards, mothers, students, and foreigners who have made Korea their home. In total, 7,500 people will have held the torch.

The 2010 flame passes from one torch to another. Photo by: Ben Dauphinee

The Torch Relays have fired up national excitement for the PyeongChang Olympics. But a more subtle and lasting effect could be the demonstration of the power of people brought together in common cause. One cannot but think of the olive branch that came with the torch, the hopes that it carries for peace of a long-divided people, and the feasibility of its realization when every person adds their contribution.

The torch relay is unique in another way in that it has a theme song. Renowned K-pop star, Insooni, who sang “Hana e Gum” (The Dream of One) at the 2016 One Korea Concert, sings “Let Everyone Shine.” Although the lyrics are implicitly about winning gold medal and representing the best of a nation, Insooni’s gospel-like delivery of the song makes the song sound more like a peace anthem than a torch relay theme song.

Torch bearers shout encouragement for everyone: for the Korean team, which incidentally will include North and South Korean athletes marching under one Korean flag; for all the athletes from around the world who have prepared to show their best in PyeongChang; for friends and family and peers who have contributed to the making of the games.

Perhaps the torch relay and its theme song is in a way a shout from the Korean collective soul, reminding them of their calling much like the one made by Indian Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote to encourage the Korean nation to be an “illumination” for others.

What follows are the lyrics of the 2018 Winter Olympic Torch Relay song:

All of us gathered here share one dream
It is the moment to rise again, and follow the flame
With a shining dream deep inside of you
Together we can move forward one step at a time
When all our dreams come together
and shine as one bright flame

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Lighting up every corner of the world

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Shining on you, here and now
All the time

Our stories filled with dreams and passion
Will lead to new goals and hope for tomorrow
When all our dreams come together
and shine as one bright flame

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Lighting up every corner of the world

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Shining on you, here and now
All the time

The passion within you
Will come together as one right here
Shining on each and everyone

Let everyone shine (The flame of passion)
(Will burn as one) Let everyone shine

Let everyone shine and shine
Shining brightly on your passion

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Shining on you, here and now

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Shining brightly on your passion

Let everyone shine
Let everyone shine and shine

Shining on you, here and now
All the time

All the time
All the time

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