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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-04-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] The journey of the Olympic Flame for Rio de Janeiro begins

  • [01] The journey of the Olympic Flame for Rio de Janeiro begins

    A flame is lit, a message is sent, a hope for world peace is born. From the Ancient Olympia, where the ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic Flame is held on Thursday, humanity is called to redefine its universal values.

    The ceremony is attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and other officials and marks the beginning of the torch relay that will end up to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 31st Olympic Games to be held on August 5-21.

    During the ceremony, actress Katerina Lehou, in the role of high priestess, lit the flame from the sun's rays and Greece once again sent the message and kept alive the international hope for peace and solidarity. World champion in artistic gymnastics, Lefteris Petrounias, has been elected as the first torchbearer of the Olympic Torch Relay.

    "In the holy land of Ancient Olympia, the land where the Ancient Greek Spirit gave birth to the immortal Olympic spirit and its ideals, the Olympic Flame is lit. With thousands of modern phryctorias, that each runner and each torch symbolize, the flame will reach its final destination, Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic Flame, a symbol of the Olympic spirit, must stay genuine throughout this long journey, and beyond. The institution of the Olympic Games and the history of the Games require so. But this is even more critical at the current situation, perhaps more than ever," Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos underlined.

    The Greek President noted that in 2016 humanity is faced with two extremely threatening issues. "First," he said, "it is the deep global economic crisis which is turning into a deep social crisis while widening inequalities and affecting the core of the welfare state. Secondly, it is the refugee crisis, which has taken the dimensions of a real humanitarian crisis. And it may only concern the Middle East and Europe for the time being, but its impact and its 'corrosive' prospects are being globalised," he added.

    "Therefore, the 2016 Olympic Flame acquires a double and significant symbolism," Pavlopoulos stressed. "First, its continuous light must constitute a hope for peace, which will enlighten the heavy darkness of war and a new kind of barbarism in the form of terrorism which attempts to revive the nightmare of crimes against humanity. Terrorism, which, for this very reason, attacks the culture, and the democracy. Secondly, the Olympic Flame, especially at these critical times, should become on a global scale, the purgatory of the collective consciousness of every civilized people, reminding of its historic responsibility for the inalienable duty to defend man, its values and the free development of his personality in any field - political, economic and social - based on real solidarity and justice."

    On his part, the IOC chief Thomas Bach said: "It was on this exact spot where the first Olympic Games were held, and the unique gift of the Greeks to the humankind was born. We are grateful to Greece and the Greeks for that great gift to humanity and the human values."

    Referring to the 31st Olympic Games, Bach said: "We are reminded of the power of sports to bring people together in peace.The Olympic Games are a message of hope and peace. It is one of the moments that the past and the future of humanity connect."


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