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03 Nov 2003
Olympic News

Cathy Freeman first international torch-bearer

Australian runner Cathy Freeman will be the first international torch-bearer for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, to be held in Athens from 13 to 29 August 2004. The torch will be lit in Olympia, (Peloponnese) Greece, in spring 2004.

Traditional method of lighting the torch
The way in which the Olympic torch is lit in Olympia, at the same place where the Ancient Games took place, is steeped in tradition. The sun's rays and a parabolic mirror are used to ignite the Olympic flame.

By plane to Sydney
After the lighting in Olympia, several runners will carry the torch through Greece before it travels by plane to Sydney. There, Cathy Freeman, who lit the Olympic cauldron at the 2000 Sydney Games, will be the first international torch-bearer, followed by more than 10,000 runners on all the five continents.

Great symbol
The torch and the Olympic flame are two of the greatest symbols of Olympism. The origin of the Olympic flame goes back to the Ancient Olympic Games, through the course of which a sacred flame burned continuously at the altar of Zeus.

Since 1936
Now an integral part of Olympic tradition, the torch and relay appeared at the modern Olympic Games for the first time at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

Official website of Athens 2004

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