The cauldron that lit up the heart of Buenos Aires
After a stunning Opening Ceremony, judoka Paula Pareto and sailor Santiago Lange, lit the cauldron with the Olympic flame to mark the start of Buenos Aires 2018.
Paula Pareto and Santiago Lange were chosen to light the cauldron by the Obelisk, one of the most emblematic sites in Argentina’s capital, putting the last touch on a spectacular Opening Ceremony full of emotions and marked by an inspiring message of friendship and equality.
Pareto, a bronze medallist at Beijing 2008 and gold winner at Rio 2016, and Lange, bronze medallist at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 and Olympic champion at Rio 2016, are two of the most successful figures in Argentinian sport. Their names will now also go down in history as being a part of this epic moment.
In every Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, the traditional lighting of the cauldron is a mesmerising moment for the spectators at the site as well as the millions who watch the event broadcast around the world. It is the ritual that signals the start of competition, which all athletes dream to be a part of.
At the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, the largest multisport celebration in Argentina’s history, the long-awaited moment dazzled everyone and lit up the city night.
Buenos Aires 2018, the first edition of an Olympic competition with gender equality, marked another turning point in Olympic history, as the lighting of the cauldron was symbolically carried out by a woman and a man. Traveling on top of a moving stage along Avenida 9 de Julio towards the Obelisk monument, the Youth Olympic Torch relay participants ran on a treadmill, each one appearing to face adversities such as wind and rain, representing the difficulties that stand between athletes and their goals, as well as the spirit of self-improvement that characterises sports devotees.
Taekwondo athlete Sebastian Crismanich (Olympic champion at London 2012), field hockey player Luciana Aymar (ambassador of Buenos Aires 2018 and four-time Olympic medallist with the national team, “Las Leonas”), cyclist Walter Perez (gold medallist at Beijing 2008), and tennis player Gabriela Sabatini (silver medallist at Seoul 1988) took the reigns for the first part of the torch relay on a float that rolled along the widest avenue in the world.
Once given the torch, Pedro Ibarra (Olympic champion with the men's field hockey team at Rio 2016) and Cecilia Carranza (gold medallist in the Nacra 17 sailing event at Rio 2016) jumped through a wall and passed the flame to Pablo Zaffaroni (pole vault) and Celeste D'Arcangelo (gymnastics), who will represent Argentina at Buenos Aires 2018.
Mazza and D'Arcangelo then walked to the base of the stairs where they handed the torch to Pareto and Lange, who climbed the ladder to light the cauldron. Inaki Mazza and Celeste D'Arcangelo, athletes who will represent Argentina at Buenos Aires 2018, also took part in the final stage of the torch relay. (Photo: Buenos Aires 2018)
With its minimalist design, the cauldron represents the human side of fire: its ability to gather people together. Now, the sacred flame will be transported in its lantern to the official cauldron, located at the Youth Olympic Park.