The detailed route that will be taken by the 2016 Olympic torch relay was announced at a special event in Rio de Janeiro on 24 February. The relay is due to begin in Brazil on 3 May, and by the time it has reached the host city for the 2016 Opening Ceremony on 5 August, it will have visited 329 towns and cities across Brazil, covering an astonishing amount of ground.
Starting in the capital city, Brasilia, it will travel 20,000 kilometres by land and 10,000 by air, reaching an estimated 90 per cent of Brazil’s population.
Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
Following its traditional short relay of Greece, which will follow the Olympic Flame’s lighting on 21 April, the Torch will briefly visit Switzerland before being brought to Brazil. After departing Brasilia it will take in many of the country’s most stunning attractions, from the city of Salvador and the beaches of Bahia to the jungle-bound north, the mountains and wine growing areas of the south, to the vibrant city of Sao Paulo and, eventually, Rio de Janeiro itself.
Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
“By taking the Olympic flame to the whole country, we will be keeping our promise to give millions of people the chance to participate in a celebration that will stay in their memories for a long time,” said Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman. “We want to see the pride of people in the streets, show our cultural diversity and our nature. We will reveal to the world the essence of our country.”
Rio 2016/Felipe Varanda
The relay will be a celebratory event and the public are encouraged to get fully involved. A special hashtag – #ChamaGeral, which can be translated as #CallEveryone in English but features on pun on ‘chama’, meaning ‘call’ and ‘flame’, when read in Portuguese – has been created and a digital campaign will encourage people to get out on the streets and be a part of this historic occasion, wherever they are in the country.
The launch event, which took place at the organising committee’s headquarters, also saw the torchbearers’ uniform unveiled. There will be around 12,000 torchbearers in total, all handed the exciting task of carrying the Torch along different stages of its 95-day journey. As the IOC President Thomas Bach revealed last month, one of the torchbearers in the Greek phase of the relay will be a refugee from the Eleonas camp in Athens.
The torch itself has a uniquely Brazilian design, uniting movement, innovation and the local flavour. It is intended to reflect the essence of the torch relay as a meeting of the traditional Olympic flame and the warmth of the Brazilian people in all corners of the country.