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Rio2016/Andre Mourao Rio2016/Andre Mourao
17 Jun 2016
RIO 2016 , Olympic Torch Relay , IOC News

Olympic Torch Relay passes through paradise

Over the course of the last few weeks, the Olympic flame has shone a light on some of Brazil’s most spectacular natural beauty spots, and this week, the flame passed through the paradise-like Lençóis Maranhenses in the north east of the country.

It required a special logistical operation to take the flame and the torchbearers to the beauty spot, which is formed by the dunes and lagoons of the coast of the northern state of Maranhão.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello

Setting off from the Preguiças River, local residents turned out to see off the flame and the 15 individuals who had been chosen to carry it over a distance of 340km. The Olympic flame then bid farewell to the north-east of Brazil with a stop in the city of Imperiatriz.

Here, the 75 torchbearers ran, cycled, sailed and abseiled with the flame alongside traditional folklore performances, called bumba meu boi.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello

Francisco Amorim, 49, started off the day with an abseil down the bridge over the Tocantins River where the flame was then transferred onto a boat. Another Torchbearer, Edilson Vieira, used his moment carrying the torch to pay tribute to the power of sport. After losing a leg in an accident 14 years ago, the wheelchair basketball champion said: “I thought I was never going to play ball again, go out with a woman or be good for anything in life. Sport saved me. Now I dream to play with the Brazilian national team."

On 15 June, the relay reached the rainforest, stopping at its first Amazonian capital, Belém in the state Pará. The relay was welcomed with regional dance, carimbó, as well as featuring tributes to the boi folklore, which is celebrated every June.

Rio2016/Andre Mourao Rio2016/Andre Mourao

Aurino Quirino, known as the “king of carimbó” performed before carrying the flame and said: “Brazil’s party is here in Belém of Pará today. And I carried the torch singing the rhythm of carimbó.”

Continuing its journey through the north, the Olympic flame reached Macapá, the capital city of the state of Amapá on 16 June.

Jader Farias, an Olympic swimmer who took part in Athens 2004, said: “With the Torch Relay, we live a little bit of the Games. The human warmth here is moving and drives us on.”

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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