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After the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia, a relay takes it to Platanos (~6km) on foot, and it then travels by coach to Andravida airport and, finally, by plane to Athens. At midnight, the flame leaves Athens and is flown to Langley (Virginia, United States), with a stopover in Shannon, Ireland.
In the United States, the relay route was designed to retrace the American Revolution Bicentennial Trail. It started not far from where the first English settlers had landed in the New World, then passed through various sites of historical importance and big cities such as the capital, Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia.
On 31 January 1980, despite a heavy snowstorm, the flame reached American soil on schedule at the Langley military base in Virginia, in front of several thousand people.
On 6 February, the flame reached Albany. Here, the relay split in two: one route went west through the Adirondack Mountains, the other east up the Champlain valley.
On 8 February, the two flames were reunited at Lake Placid. A welcome ceremony was held at the speed skating stadium.