Paris Olympics flame lit at Greek cradle of historic video games

The countdown to this 12 months’s staging of the final word world sporting occasion has begun in earnest.

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Even with out the assistance of Apollo, the flame that’s to burn on the Paris Olympics was kindled on Tuesday on the web site of the traditional video games in southern Greece.

Cloudy skies prevented the normal lighting, when an actress dressed as an historic Greek priestess makes use of the solar to ignite a silver torch after providing up a symbolic prayer to Apollo, the traditional Greek solar god.

As a substitute, a backup flame was used that had been lit on the identical spot Monday, in the course of the ultimate rehearsal.

Usually, the foremost of a bunch of priestesses in lengthy, pleated attire dips the fuel-filled torch right into a parabolic mirror which focuses the solar’s rays on it, and hearth spurts forth. 

However this time she did not even strive, going straight for the backup, stored in a duplicate of an historic Greek pot.

Satirically, a couple of minutes later the solar shone.

From the traditional stadium in Olympia, a relay of torchbearers will carry the flame greater than 5,000 kilometres by means of Greece till the handover to Paris Video games organisers in Athens on April 26.

Worldwide Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach mentioned the flame lighting mixed “a pilgrimage to our previous in historic Olympia, and an act of religion in our future.”

“In these troublesome occasions … with wars and conflicts on the rise, individuals are fed up with all of the hate, the aggression and destructive information,” he mentioned. 

“We’re eager for one thing which brings us collectively; one thing that’s unifying; one thing that offers us hope.”

Historic historical past

1000’s of spectators from all around the world packed Olympia for Tuesday’s occasion amid the ruined temples and sports activities grounds the place the traditional video games had been held from 776 BC to 393 AD.

The sprawling web site, in a lush valley by the confluence of two rivers, is at its prettiest within the spring, teeming with pink-flowering Judas bushes, small blue irises and the occasional purple anemone.

The primary torchbearer was Greek rower Stefanos Douskos, a gold medallist in 2021 in Tokyo. He ran to a close-by monument that comprises the center of French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the driving power behind the fashionable revival of the video games.

The subsequent runner was Laure Manaudou, a French swimmer who received three medals at Athens in 2004. She handed over to senior European Union official Margaritis Schinas, a Greek.

The flame will journey from Athens’ port of Piraeus on the Belem, a French three-masted crusing ship inbuilt 1896 – the 12 months of the primary fashionable video games in Athens.

In response to Captain Aymeric Gibet, it is due on Could 8 within the southern French port of Marseille, a metropolis based by Greek colonists some 2,600 years in the past.

The Belem arrived in Katakolo, close to Olympia, on Monday. Lookers-on included a small, enthusiastic group of vacationers from the northwestern French area of Brittany, the place the ship’s homeport of Nantes is, waving French and Breton flags.

“We thought it will be a novel alternative to see the flame lighting on the historic web site of Olympia,” mentioned Jean-Michel Pasquet from Lorient, close to Nantes. “And once we additionally learnt the Belem would carry the flame … we mentioned we should do that.”

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However Pasquet mentioned he’d have to look at the Paris Video games from residence.

“For us, it will be actually very costly, unaffordable,” to go to the venues, he mentioned. “So we’ll watch them on tv … from our armchairs.”

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