Rio Olympics torch relay begins | SASCOC - SASCOC

Rio Olympics torch relay begins

South Africa joined the rest of the world in celebrating the Olympic Games torch relay, which began on Thursday 21 April 2016.

The Olympic torch for the 2016 Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro in three months’ time was lit in Olympia, Greece – birthplace of the Games – using the rays of the sun and a concave mirror – before being handed over to Rio 2016 organisers on 27 April after a tour around Greece.

Once the torch was lit, the flame was placed in a small ceramic bowl and is part of a procession towards the Panathenaic Stadium, briefly stopping to observe the custom of cutting a branch from an olive tree – a symbol of peace.

When the High Priestess, played by an actor, arrived into the stadium, she then lit the torch of the first runner to signal the start of the relay, Greek world gymnastics champion Eleftherios Petrounias.

The torch relay is estimated to reach 90% of the population while covering around 20,000 kilometres of the country by road and 16,000km by air.

Approximately 12,000 torchbearers will take the Olympic flame across Brazil between 3 May and 5 August 2016 and it will end at Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium at the Games’ Opening Ceremony.

The Olympic flame represents the positive values of the games.

The count down continues and excitement mounts as Team SA gears up for the games, which will see a total of 28 Olympic and 22 Paralympic sports being contested.