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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-07-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Torch lit in Ancient Olympia for inaugural Youth Olympic Games
  • [02] Wildfires on Crete, Evia

  • [01] Torch lit in Ancient Olympia for inaugural Youth Olympic Games

    The Olympic Torch relay got underway Friday on a five-continent journey for the inaugural Summer Youth Olympics to be held in Singapore from August 14 to 26, after an official lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia, home of the ancient Olympic Games.

    Just as in the traditional Olympic Games, a High Priestess, represented by an actress, lit the Olympic Flame from the sun's rays, using a concave mirror to focus the rays, from which she lit a silver torch in a ceremony in front of the ruins of the 2,600 year old Temple of Hera.

    The torch, which was handed over by the priestess to the first young runner, will travel to five "Celebration Cities" -- Berlin, Dakar, Mexico City, Auckland and Seoul -- representing the five continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and the Americas), before arriving in Singapore, which was chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February 2008 to host the first-ever Summer Youth Olympics, officially referred to as the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, in which 3,500 young athletes aged 14 to 18 will compete.

    The Summer Youth Olympic Games is a major international sports event and cultural festival that will be celebrated in the tradition of the Summer Olympic Games, with the inaugural Singapore 2010 Games taking place in the middle of the XXIX Olympiad (an Olympiad is the four-year interval between two Olympic Games, according to the tradition of the ancient Olympics).

    The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are planned to be an international multi-sport event held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format. The idea for such an event was introduced in 2001 by IOC president Jacques Rogge, who attended Friday's flame lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, and was adopted in July 2007 at the 19th IOC session in Guatemala.

    The Youth Olympic Flame torch, made of aluminum with a non-slip handle, is inspired from fire and water, with fire representing the Youth's passion and burning desire to learn and excel, blazing the trail in life. Water represents Singapore, with its origins as a seaport; and the vibrant and dynamic nature of Singapore as an island city-state. The torch was designed to combine the dual elements of fire and water, with the water wave on the torch body and a flaming fire on top.

    The mascots for the Singapore Youth Olympics are a fire-themed male lion cub named Lyo and a water-themed female "merlion" cub named Merly.

    According to legend, a long time ago, a prince visited a lovely tropical island where, upon landing, he spotted a beautiful lion and thus named the island Singapura, meaning "Lion City". Today, the lion is the national symbol of Singapore.

    Lyo the mascot of the first YOG is a lion cub with a mane as fiery as his passion for life.\Merly got her name from "mer" (for mermaid, a maiden of the sea) and the letters "l" and "y" for liveliness and youthfulness.

    Caption: The flame lighting ceremony at ancient Olympia for the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore. (ANA-MPA/Y. Kormbaki)

    [02] Wildfires on Crete, Evia

    A large wildfire broke out early Friday in the Liopetra area of Siteia, on Crete and was still raging at noon, burning forest, brush and farm expanses.

    A strong team of firefighters with five fire engines and several municipal water trucks, and an army contingent were battling the blaze, assisted by a water-dropping helicopter, but efforts were being hindered by high winds.

    No homes or populated areas are at risk.

    A second fire was blazing in a forest expanse on Mt. Gorila in Paramythia, Thesprotia prefecture.

    Meanwhile, a major wildfire that broke out in Karystos, Evia, on Thursday was receding on Friday, although it has passed through several housing settlements and continued to burn forestland, while a strong force of f48 firefighters with 24 fire engines and four divisions on foot were battling the flames, while water-dropping aircraft resumed efforts at the first light of day and reinforcements have been sent from Athens.

    Further, a wildfire that broke out Thursday in Derveni, Arcadia prefecture, was reported as having been contained on Friday, as was another fire in Pera Chorio, Livadia, from which the water-dropping aircraft have now been withdrawn.

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