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Lit in Olympia, the flame was carried by relay for about 10 days in Greece.
The relay then visited 12 island countries and territories of Oceania, beginning with Guam, where the flame landed on 22 May. Due to political tension, the Organising Committee cancelled the originally scheduled Fiji stop between Tonga and New Zealand. In New Zealand, the last leg before Australia kicked off on 5 June in the snow of Coronet Peak, Queenstown on the South Island. It ended on 7 June in Auckland, on the North Island.
On 8 June, the flame reached Yulara in Australia and the relay began near the sacred rock of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. Nova Peris-Kneebone, a hockey gold medallist at the Atlanta 1996 Games, ran barefoot in the first leg of the relay on Australian soil as a mark of respect for the Aboriginal people, of whom she was one.
The flame travelled the country for 100 days in passing through over 1,000 towns and suburbs. Modes of transport included a section on camel back in Broome, a railway journey across the Nullarbor Plain on board the Indian Pacific and a trip by surfboat in the rollers of Bondi Beach in Sydney.
On 15 September, during the Games Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried into the Stadium by Betty Cuthbert who sat in a wheelchair, pushed by Raelene Boyle. Then, in turn, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland, Shane Gould and Debbie Flintoff-King relayed the flame to Cathy Freeman. Freeman climbed a series of steps, positioning herself at the centre of a shallow circular pool and stood level with the water to light the 150 burner nozzles placed just below it. A circle of fire surrounded the athlete before the whole cauldron was raised to the top of the Stadium where it burned for the duration of the Games.