In May, the Olympic torch will begin its journey around the British Isles. It's a symbol of all that is noble about sport: its embodiment of human aspiration, its capacity to unite people around the world in peaceful competition.
But here's a thing that, as Michael Caine would say, not many people know: the ritual of the Olympic torch we know today was invented by the Nazis.
The Greeks lit a torch at their games, but it didn't travel anywhere. The idea of it being paraded through different countries and communities was dreamt up by the organiser of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who wanted to connect the ancient Greek games to the modern event. As the BBC explains:
The idea chimed perfectly with the Nazi belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich. And the event blended perfectly the perversion of history with publicity for contemporary German power.
The first torch was lit in Greece with the help of mirrors made by the German company Zeiss. Steel-clad magnesium torches to carry the flame were specially produced by the Ruhr-based industrial giant Krupp.
Media coverage was masterminded by Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, using the latest techniques and technology. Dramatic regular radio coverage of the torch's progress kept up the excitement, and Leni Riefenstahl filmed it to create powerful images.
So, I've just gone and poisoned a perfectly innocent pleasure for you. Next week I'll be explaining how Thomas the Tank Engine was created by Mussolini to show off his rail system.