May 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia was handed over to the first torchbearer


The Olympic flame lighting ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday (16/4) at 11:30 am, took place ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Responsible for the ceremony of lighting the Olympic flame Greek Olympic Committee. A simple and symbolic ritual took place at the altar on the site of the Temple of Hera (Heraion) in the archaeological site of Olympia.

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The priestess in whose hands the Olympic flame was “born” was actress Mary Mina.

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President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou

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The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulouas well as other political and public figures.

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Like the dress rehearsal, today's ceremony was open to the public.


The presence of foreign media was also particularly strong. In addition to the French, who showed great interest in connection with the Olympic Games in Paris, all major international agencies came to Ancient Olympia, such as Reuters, Associated Press, Getty, Agence France-Presse, Xinhua, TASS, RIA Novosti, CNN International, which led direct inclusions.

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The choreography – “Trinity of Holy Silence” – is inspired and choreographed by Artemis Ignatiou, the music is composed by Dimitris Papadimitriou, and performed by 35 priestesses and 15 kuroi. The dancers' costumes were created by world-renowned designer Mary Katrantzou.

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The Olympic anthem was sung by leading mezzo-soprano Joyce Di Donato

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The host was journalist Nikos Aliagas.

After the ceremony, runners, holding a torch with fire, will cross mainland and island Greece to arrive at Panathinaiko Stadium on April 26, where they will hand over the flame to the organizers of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, which this year will be held from July 26 to August 11.

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The first Olympic torchbearer in Greece was Olympic rowing champion Stefanos Douskos, after which the 11-day Olympic torch relay began in Greece.

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Its first point will be the monument to the founder of the modern Olympic Games, the French baron, located near the ancient stadium Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937).

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In total, the relay flame will be carried by 600 torchbearers, it will visit in 13 regions of the country, on 7 islands, in 43 cities, 41 municipalities, 5 communities, at 10 archaeological sites in two Olympic museums (in Athens and Thessaloniki).

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The Olympic flame will overcome 5,202 km across Greek territory and 563 nautical miles (approximately 1,043 km) across its seas. The relay on Tuesday will follow the route Amalias – Ancient Elis – Andravida – Pyrgos – Zacharo – Filiatra and will end in history town of Pylosin the bay of which the famous naval battle of Navarino took place in 1827, marked by the victory of the fleets of Russia, France and Great Britain over the Turkish-Egyptian fleet.

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On the second day, the Olympic flame will visit the city of Nafplion, first capital in 1828-1833. independent Greek state, where a monument was erected in honor of the military leaders of the then French mission. By the end of the day the relay will reach the sea harbor Athens – port of Piraeus, from where departure to the island of Crete.

Torchbearers will also visit in Thessalonikiwhere during the First World War the base camp of the Allied Army of the East was located, which included two brigades of the expeditionary force of the Russian army in France and Greece. Torchbearers will carry the Olympic flame through the islands of Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Corfu, as well as by city north, west and east of Greece.

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The Olympic flame will return to Athens on April 26where it will be handed over to the organizers of the Paris Olympics at an official ceremony at the historical Athens' white marble Panathinaikos Stadiumwhere the first Olympic Games in modern history were held in 1896.

He will spend the night at the French embassy in the Greek capital and the next day will sail to France aboard the 120-year-old three-masted sailing ship Le Belem, recognized in that country as a historical monument.

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The fire will be delivered to Marseille on May 8. It is expected that about 150 thousand people will take part in the ceremony to welcome him in the old port of Marseille, and this city itself, founded around 600 BC. e. Phocians, Greeks from Asia Minor, will become the venue for sailing races. The relay through France will last 68 days and will end with the lighting of the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the Games on July 26. The Olympic Games will be held in Paris until August 11.



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