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Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 65 Rio 2016/André Luiz Mello
07 Jul 2016
RIO 2016 , IOC News , Olympic Torch Relay

Olympic Torch Relay reaches Brazil’s deep south

As the countdown to Rio 2016 entered its final month, the Olympic flame reached the southernmost point on its journey to the host city.

It began the week in Rio Grande do Sul, which borders Uruguay, where the torch was carried past the São Miguel Arcanjo archaeological site and was welcomed by Guarani Indians.

Aniceto Gonçalves Ferreira, the chief of the M’Bya Guarani village, gave a message in his native language and said: “I’m happy to carry the torch. Fire represents a lot to our people and we always gather around fire. It’s a form of union.”

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 63 Rio 2016/André Luiz Mello

On Tuesday, 5 July, the relay passed through the city of Lajeado to a reception that paid tribute to the state’s mixed European, African and indigenous heritage.

Roller skater Marcel Stürmer, who has competed in several Pan American Games, carried the torch on his skates, twisting and turning and even including a “Moon Walk”.

"This public saw my career happen, since childhood, my titles and difficulties. I felt that I brought the Olympic spirit to share with them here today,” he said.

The convoy’s first stop on Wednesday was the town of São Sepé where it met another famous flame, the traditional gaucho ground fire, which has been burning for 200 years.

Luiza Portela, the granddaughter of the Boqueirão ranch owner where the bicentenary fire burns, said: "This is my land. To represent the gaucho tradition here, in my house, is a proud moment for our whole family.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 65 Rio 2016/André Luiz Mello

“It is a pleasure to carry this symbol of the greatest sporting event in the world.”

The flame reached the deep south when it arrived in Rio Grande before ending the day in Pelotas, a city that celebrated its 204th anniversary.

In the heart of Brazil’s cowboy country, the relay was celebrated with traditional gaucho music and performances with crowds braving the winter temperatures of 6C to greet the flame.

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay - Day 65 Rio 2016/André Mourão

And in Rio Grande, the relay passed along Cassino beach, thought to be the longest in the world before taking a ride in a vagoneta, a traditional waggon moved along rails by sails.

On Thursday, 7 July, the relay will travel to the state capital, Porto Alegre.

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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