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Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 66 Rio 2016 / Fernando Soutello
Date
11 Jul 2016
Tags
RIO 2016 , IOC News , Olympic Torch Relay

Olympic Torch Relay begins its return journey


After reaching the southernmost point in Brazil, the Olympic flame headed back up the country as it gets closer to the host city – Rio de Janeiro.

On 7 July, the relay stopped off at its 23rd state capital in Porto Alegre and the flame was passed between local athletes.

Two times cycling champion Dirceu Hartwig, 49, carried the flame on his bike. “Being a Torchbearer was the ultimate emotion,” he said. “Especially being able to carry the Olympic torch on my bike.”

In a touching moment, Fernando Aguzzoli Peres carried the torch in memory of his grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and died in 2013.

Fernando, who campaigned for care for the elderly and published a book in her honour, said: “Carrying the Olympic torch today, I remember my grandmother. I saw the last Olympic Games with her. She taught me a lot. For me, being able to carry the torch representing my grandmother is something incredible.”

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 67 Rio 2016 / André Mourão

The flame continued through gaucho territory on 8 July and was greeted with acrobatic performances, music and dance.

Two Brazilian fencing athletes carried out the traditional kiss of the torches in Novo Hamburgo.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 67 Rio 2016 / André Mourão

Antonio Augusto Machado and Regis de Avila both competed in Seoul 1988.

“This fire represents the pursuit of excellence and constant improvement, which are values that I have carried all my life,” Antonio said.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 67 Rio 2016 / André Luiz Mello

The relay also passed through the city of Gramado, famous for its chocolate and its crystals, including its Angel of Crystal sculpture in the Praça das Etnias square.

On Saturday 9 July, the flame crossed the state border and returned to Santa Catarina, setting off from the town of Bento Gonçalves.

Aged just 14, aspiring tennis player Bernardo Tomazzoni was one of the Torchbearers and said: “I want to pass on the lessons of the Olympic flame of peace and union to everyone. I hope that carrying the torch is the first of many Olympic successes. I hope to win a medal for Brazil one day.”

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 67 Rio 2016 / André Mourão

On Sunday 10 July, the relay was launched in Tubarão by football referee Mayck Costa.

“I was born with respiratory problems and I heard many doctors say I’d never be able to take part in physical activity,” he said. “As I didn’t manage to be a footballer, I found a way to enter the field. You need a lot of concentration and focus to be a referee.”

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 69 Rio 2016 / André Luiz Mello

On Monday 11 July the flame will take a boat trip to the island capital and popular tourist spot of Florianopolis.

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.

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