Olympic Torch Relay arrives in Rio de Janeiro
Having travelled the length and breadth of Brazil, the Olympic flame is on the final straight to the Rio 2016 host city.
The Torch Relay arrived in the beautiful, historic town of Paraty in Rio de Janeiro state on Wednesday, 27 July after bidding farewell to São Paulo. Starting the week with a visit to some of São Paulo’s attractions, the flame visited Beco do Batman, or Batman’s Alley, where graffiti artists have transformed the area.
“To hold the Olympic torch at this moment is like holding two lights: one that illuminates the world with the idea of communion through sport, and the light of my dear neighbourhood that illuminates the city of São Paulo,” said Gilberto Dimenstein, 49, a journalist and one of the torchbearers.
Later in the day, the relay visited Ilhabela, one of São Paulo’s most beautiful spots and a sailing capital.
On 26 July, the relay passed through the cities of Suzano, Mogi das Cruzes and Jacareí on it prepared to leave the state.
Almost 150 torchbearers, including world champion sprinter and Paralympic medal hope Verônica Hipólito, carried the flame towards São José dos Campos.
The torch relay coincided with the town’s 249th anniversary celebrations and ended by lighting an Olympic cauldron in the city park with a special concert by singer Maria Rita.
Before reaching Rio on Wednesday afternoon, the flame visited towns close to the state border including Taubaté and Ubatuba. Maria Machado, who took up running aged 78, was among the torchbearers. Now 86, she said: “I’ll only stop when I no longer have strength in my legs. Carrying the torch is an emotion that has no size.”
After briefly stopping off in Rio back in May, the flame returned to the state on Wednesday afternoon, passing through the cobbled streets of the picture-postcard town of Paraty before heading to Angra dos Reis.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay has three Presenting Partners: Worldwide TOP Partner Coca-Cola, which continues its longstanding support for Olympic torch relays, and local Partners Bradesco and Nissan. For further information, please visit the Rio 2016 website.