When the Olympic torch arrived in PyeongChang today, it was carried by IOC President Thomas Bach; Miroslav Lajčák, the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations; and the President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG), Lee Hee-beom. With the iconic ski jump hill as a backdrop, they ran with the Olympic flame through the streets of the Alpensia resort.
Thomas Bach handed the Olympic flame to Miroslav Lajčák. The President of the General Assembly of the United Nations was instrumental in achieving the Olympic Truce Declaration, “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 November 2017 by consensus.
“The Olympic torch is a symbol of peace, a symbol of youth, a symbol of sport, communication, a symbol of tradition, a symbol of hope. It’s probably the best symbol in our times in our world,” Miroslav Lajčák said. He emphasised the importance of the Olympic Truce Declaration: “It is very important, it is an ancient tradition and it's a noble one, because that means we stop fighting and we give space to athletes, and I’m really happy that we were able to maintain and continue this tradition.”
President Lajčák continued, saying: “I have been through many things in my life professionally, but this was the first time and I really enjoyed it tremendously. I feel very strongly about sport, I really believe that sport and diplomacy have a lot in common. Both are about peace and getting people together.”
President Bach had received the Olympic flame from Choi Seung Hun, a 15-year-old boy who sang the Korean national anthem at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 as part of the PyeongChang handover. He also presented the Olympic flame lantern at last night`s IOC President`s Dinner.
Beforehand, Choi Seung Hun had received the flame from POCOG President Lee. Thomas Bach said after his handover to Miroslav Lajčák: “It's a very special and emotional moment,” He added: “these will be excellent Olympic Games” in PyeongChang, “I am sure Korea will show all its culture and welcome the whole world to this festival. I wish these Games to be remembered as a great festival on a human scale.”
IOC President Thomas Bach carried the torch for the seventh time. He had already carried the Olympic flame in 2004 in Berlin on its way to Athens, as well as in 2008 in Beijing, 2010 in Vancouver, 2012 in London, 2014 in Sochi, 2016 in Rio and now in PyeongChang.