- 22 Oct 2009
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Flame Lit in Olympia
With only 113 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the Olympic flame was lit today in Olympia, symbolically marking the beginning of the Torch Relay that will bring the flame to the shores of British Columbia. The flame was lit successfully by a Holy Priestess in front of the Temple of Hera (relive it here), according to the traditional ritual, using the sun’s rays and a parabolic mirror. The priestess entered the Ancient Olympic Stadium with the torch and handed it over to the first runner of the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay, Vassilis Dimitriadis.
Longest National Relay in History
In the presence of the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr Spyros Capralos, and the CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC), John Furlong, IOC President Jacques Rogge said in his speech: “It is always a special moment to be in Olympia, the birthplace of our Movement. The Olympic torch and flame are symbols of the values and ideals which lie at the heart of the Olympic Games. The relay is a message of friendship and respect to millions of people of different nationalities, races and creeds”. He continued, “The longest national Olympic Torch Relay in history will create a spirit of global community and world citizenship. It will inspire new hopes, new dreams, particularly among the younger generation, to take part in the Games. It will invite Canadians and visitors from around the world to gather and celebrate the Games with glowing hearts.”
Symbolic Message of Peace
After a short relay in Greece, the flame will be passed to the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC) on 29 October in Athens, before being flown to Victoria, Canada, where it will arrive on 30 October. It will then travel through all 13 provinces and territories of Canada, involving 189 community celebrations and covering some 45,000 kilometres, before entering BC Place Stadium on 12 February 2010. More than 12,000 torchbearers will bring together tens of thousands of people to witness the event, bringing with it a symbolic message of peace across the country.
Vancouver and Whistler will host the XXI Olympic Winter Games from 12 to 28 February 2010 and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games from 12 to 21 March 2010. The seven Winter Olympic sports that will be on show in Vancouver are Luge, Skiing, Skating, Ice Hockey, Biathlon, Bobsleigh and Curling.