Olympic Torch Relay makes waves
On Friday 3 June, the Olympic Torch Relay continued its progress around Paraíba state, ending the day in state capital Joao Pessoa, which is best known as the first city to see the sun in Brazil every day. Ironically, on this particular day, the sun went missing, and the rains came, but that did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the Torchbearers or the spectators, who ignored the weather and took to the streets en masse to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic flame.
Rio 2016/Marcos de Paula
“At the moment you are carrying the Olympic torch you only think about showing your joy and happiness, you just want to say to the world: come join us and enjoy the spirit of the Games,” said 25-year-old nutritionist Celso Costa da Silva, following his stint as one of the Torchbearers in João Pessoa.
On 4 June, the Olympic Torch Relay arrived in Rio Grande do Norte, the Brazilian state closest to Europe and best known for its seafood restaurants and dunes. In the city of Natal three of Brazil’s most important athletes had the opportunity to carry the Olympic flame: basketball icon Oscar, volleyball star Virna and Paralympian swimming champion Clodoaldo Silva.
“It was really exciting,” said Virna, the winner of two Olympic bronze medals. “I felt the Olympic flame penetrating my body and bringing all my Olympic memories back. It was a lifetime flashback. It was amazing to have all my relatives with me. It was an unforgettable moment.”
“I’m very happy to have been chosen as the last Torchbearer in Natal and to have been given the honour of lighting the cauldron here. I hope everyone was left feeling a little bit inspired by that moment, with my history. This is certainly a magical moment for me”, said Clodoaldo, who won 13 medals, including six golds, over the course of four editions of the Paralympics Games.
On Sunday 5 June, the Torch Relay bid farewell to the mainland and headed for Fernando de Noronha, the paradise-like Brazilian Island in Atlantic Ocean. There, biologist and scuba diver Zara Matheus was among the Torchbearers. She carried the torch out to sea on a boat, before handing over to Olympic canoeist Alef Alves.
“It’s is amazing to represent all Fernando de Noronha scuba divers, being a woman carrying the Olympic torch, that represents the Olympic spirit asking for world peace. I’m thrilled and feeling blessed,” said Matheus!
On Monday 6 June, the Olympic flame will complete its time in Rio Grande do Norte with visits to four more towns: Lajes, Angicos, Assu and Mossoró. Then, on 7 June, it will head for Ceará, the 11th state on its journey around Brazil.
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.