The flame for the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was lit today in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece. This marks the start of the Torch Relay, which will travel 14,000 kilometres across the whole of Argentina, highlighting the achievements of some unique young people, as well as the country’s cultural and geographical diversity.
Following Olympic tradition, the Youth Olympic flame was lit by the sun’s rays reflected in a parabolic mirror, with a priestess from the Temple of Hera passing on the torch to the first relay runner in Athens’ ancient stadium – the home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Four young athletes from Argentina and Greece started the Torch Relay in the iconic stadium, before the Youth Olympic flame is transported to Argentina.
“Within 74 days, in an Opening Ceremony welcoming everyone, the Youth Olympic flame will be celebrated by hundreds of thousands on the streets of Buenos Aires. Millions will see it shine through their televisions and social networks throughout the world. Its light will inspire the young athletes,” said IOC Member and Chairman of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Organising Committee Gerardo Werthein.
During the speeches, heartfelt words of condolences were also offered by Danka Bartekova, member of the IOC Coordination Commission for Buenos Aires 2018, who acknowledged the tragic events taking place outside Athens due to the recent wildfire outbreak.
“Tragic events are happening here in Greece and our hearts are with you. The Olympic flame is a symbol of peace, but today let me say that the flame becomes a symbol of hope not only for Greece to recover, but also for a generation of young people all over the world, not only those participating to the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.”
The Torch Tour will officially kick off on 5 August, when the sacred flame arrives in La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, and the first relay takes place. In total, the flame will travel 14,000 kilometres in an almost 60-day journey that will finish on 6 October at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires for the first Olympic opening ceremony to take place in a city centre and outside traditional stadiums.
In each city the relays will cover one kilometre, with 10 torchbearers passing the sacred flame from torch to torch. During the tour the flame will also visit some of the most iconic and touristic sites in Argentina, such as Mar del Plata, the Flag Monument in Rosario, the waterfalls in Iguazu, and the Perito Moreno Glacier.