Rio 2016 Torch Relay thrills kids and athletes alike
Continuing its tour of the south west of Brazil, on Tuesday the Olympic Torch Relay started the day in Bocaiúva, before travelling to the historical city of Diamantina where two local school teachers, Rosangela and Viviane, carried the Torch dressed as the Rio 2016 mascots Vinicius and Tom.
Named a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1999, Diamantina is famous for its historical Royal Road, built to transport Brazil’s monarchs of yesteryear, and, as its name suggests, for diamond exploration.
“I never imagined I’d be here and that the Torch Relay would include Diamantina on its route,” said Soraya Moreira, who has lived in Diamantina for 19 years, and who is a state taekwondo champion, having taken up the sport at the age of 46.
“This city is beautiful, historical, and has a wonderful mix of people of all ages and backgrounds. I’m very proud to be a Torchbearer in Diamantina,” she added.
Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello
On Wednesday, the torch relay started its journey in Datas, a town with a population of 5,237 people. Local kids took to the streets to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic flame in their town. Next stop was Serro, whose famous church, Nossa Senhora da Conceição, was decorated with the Olympic rings.
Later the same day, the relay arrived in Governador Valadares, where local students took turns to bear the Torch, kitted out as athletes of all of the Olympic sports. Also among the Torchbearers in Governador Valadares was Argentine-born canoeist Sebastien Cuattrin, who won nine Pan American Games medals representing Brazil and an Olympian, having participated at four editions of the Games between 1992 and 2004.
“This is awesome!” said Cuattrin. “Carrying the torch in the town that adopted me and is my home in Brazil is fantastic. This opportunity is a big thing for me.
The last Torchbearer during the Governador Valadares leg of the Relay was Brazilian international volleyball player Adenízia.
“It was a huge moment,” she said. “Lots of emotion involved. It has been of the happiest days of my life. I`d like to thank everyone who helped make this moment so special. It was beautiful.”
On Thursday, the Olympic flame remained in Minas Gerais, travelling to the town of Naque to begin the 10th day of the Torch Relay, before heading for Coronel Fabriciano and Itabira.
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.