As the Olympic torch receives the flame and is held aloft by the first Torchbearer, we are reminded through its light of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect that it carries on its journey
(PRWEB) May 11, 2012
– Running from 10 to 17 May 2012, the 3,000km (1,864 mile) Greek leg of the Torch Relay will see the Olympic Flame reach approximately 40 communities and be carried by around 500 people
– London 2012 Bid ambassador is second Torchbearer on the 8 day journey across Greek mainland and islands
The ceremony organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) to light the Olympic Flame was held inside the Temple of Hera at the historic ruins of the home of the ancient Olympic Games.
Following the traditional ceremonial rites, the Olympic Flame was lit at noon local Greek time (10:00am BST) by the High Priestess, Ino Menegaki, using the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. During the hour long Lighting Ceremony, the High Priestess made use of a parabolic mirror to capture the sun’s rays to create the Olympic Flame that will be carried by 8,000 inspirational people in the UK from Saturday 19 May to Friday 27 July 2012. In a procession choreographed by Artemis Ignatiou, the Flame was then brought into the Ancient Olympic Stadium itself.
The Lighting Ceremony was preceded by the UK and Greek national anthems, the recital of ‘The Light of Olympia’, and speeches by Efthymios Kotzas, the Mayor of Ancient Olympia; Spyros Zannias, Chairman of the Olympic Torch Relay Commission; Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee; Spyros Capralos, President of the HOC and Sebastian Coe, Chair of London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, said: ‘The lighting of the Olympic flame in ancient Olympia is always a moment of great significance for the Olympic Movement. As the Olympic torch receives the flame and is held aloft by the first Torchbearer, we are reminded through its light of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect that it carries on its journey.’
He continued, ‘The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will celebrate those values, as it tours the country that invented modern sport and the spirit of fair play. It will also celebrate the many inspirational Torchbearers, who, like the athletes that will compete in London this summer, will help to inspire a generation, as they invite the world to gather and celebrate the Games of the XXX Olympiad.’
Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, said: ‘We are pleased to share our culture and tradition with the UK and the world. We will carry the Olympic Flame 3,000 kilometres around Greece and reach around 40 communities before we entrust the safe keeping of the Olympic Flame to the UK.'
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: ‘The Olympic Flame lit today in Olympia will connect the ancient Games and the modern Games. Cities, towns and villages across Greece and Britain will be connected together and to the London 2012 Olympic Games forever. Sport has enduring and universal appeal, and the timeless Olympic values transcend history and geography; values, which, I believe, in these challenging times are more relevant than at any time before, particularly to young people all over the world.
‘This is the second time representatives of the UK have gathered here to celebrate the lighting of the Olympic Flame. In 1948, shortly after the Second World War, my predecessor stood where I am today and made the first tentative steps in turning the world from war to sport. We find ourselves in challenging times again and turn to sport once more to connect the world in a global celebration of achievement and inspiration.’
Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, said: ‘This is a significant moment in our journey to the 2012 Games. Lit in a ceremony steeped in tradition, it is exciting to think that in just eight days the Olympic flame will arrive on our shores for a Torch Relay that I hope the whole country will embrace.’
British-born Greek 10km swimming world champion Spyros Gianniotis, had the honour of then starting the Olympic Flame’s journey across Greece, as he carried it from the Ancient Stadium via Pierre de Coubertin’s Grove, before handing the Flame on to 19 year old London Borough of Newham resident Alexandros (Alex) Loukos. Alex whose father is Greek was selected by LOCOG to carry to the Olympic Flame in Olympia. He was one of the youngest Bid representatives in Singapore, helping London to win the Olympic bid in July 2005, and is today, once again, representing the youth of London.
Alex Loukos, said: ‘It is an unbelievable honour to be a Torchbearer in the Olympic Torch Relay, especially carrying the Flame in Olympia and representing the city of London. I have grown up with London 2012 – from helping with the bid in Singapore when I was twelve, to witnessing the incredible regeneration of my home in East London as the 2012 Games have taken shape and changed the area forever, to now with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be one of the first to carry the Torch for the London Games.’
From the Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, the HOC will take the Olympic Flame on an 8-day relay around Greece, showcasing the beauty and history of the Greek mainland and islands, travelling to the island of Crete before going to Piraeus, Thessalonica, Xanthi and Larissa among many other communities before arriving at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on the evening of Thursday 17 May 2012 for the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony that is expected to start at 19:00 local time (17:00 BST)
The Olympic Flame will then travel to the UK from Athens on Friday 18 May, landing in the evening at RNAS Culdrose, ahead of the start of the Olympic Torch Relay on Saturday 19 May 2012.
Presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, the Olympic Torch Relay will take the Olympic Flame on a 70-day and 8,000 mile journey across the UK. 8,000 Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame for approximately 300 metres each, passing the Olympic Flame from Torch to Torch until it reaches the Olympic Stadium on the evening of 27 July 2012. The Olympic Flame will journey to within 10 miles of over 95% of the UK population.
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office.
Notes to editors
Click here for key facts about the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
For more information on the London 2012 Torchbearers and the streets through which they will carry the London 2012 Olympic Flame, please go to http://www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay
About the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners:
As the longest standing Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will be using its heritage and experience to spread excitement across the UK ahead of London 2012. Coca-Cola's national nomination campaign - Future Flames – has focused on finding inspirational young people from across the country to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. This summer Coca-Cola will celebrate these Future Flames: young people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and community and the environment; to spread happiness in their local communities.
As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB will be taking the spirit and inspiration of the Olympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK. As part of Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland will be the National Presenting Partner in Scotland. Schools can be right at the heart of the celebrations through our Flame Followers programme, giving them access to free resources to get their pupils inspired and excited about the Olympic Torch Relay. Customers can be the first to hear how they can follow the Olympic Flame, through our customer-exclusive programme Trackside.
As a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Samsung aims to encourage everyone to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay to make London 2012 ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games.’ We aspire to offer new and memorable experiences for everyone around the world. Samsung is providing 1,360 Torchbearers, who have “gone the extra mile” by contributing to the local communities, through its worldwide public nomination campaign. Samsung will support towns and cities to celebrate the exciting moment of the Torch Relay and help showcase Great Britain’s cultural landmarks to provide a more enjoyable experience to everyone. The evening celebrations that will be staged in 66 towns and cities throughout the Olympic Flame’s journey across the UK, will allow Samsung to entertain the community they are visiting. The Samsung caravan, complete with LED screen on the side showcasing runners and goodwill messages, will travel with Torchbearers around the UK cheering up everyone to celebrate the Torch Relay with music and interaction with local communities. It is Samsung’s ambition that London 2012 will be an event that reaches and involves more people than on any other Olympic Games occasion.
The Supporters of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay are:
Worldwide Olympic Partners Procter and Gamble and Visa, Tier One Partners adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT and EDF, Tier Three Providers Aggreko, Holiday Inn and NATURE VALLEY.
London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow Chemical Company, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS.
There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.
There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.