The Olympic Flame lighting ceremony was held today in Olympia, Greece, without spectators due to coronavirus concerns.
The flame lighting ceremony, which is always held in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, was attended by only 100 accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.
Onhand was the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee acting President, Toshiaki Endo, IOC Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates and Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos.
30 priestesses or “Caryatids Kores”, performed the timeless rituals at the ancient Temple of Hera to call upon Apollo, the sun god to ignite the Olympic flame using the rays of the sun and a parabolic mirror.
The flame, which stays lit for the entirety of the Olympic Games period, symbolizes purity and represents the values of the Olympics between all nations.
For the first time, a woman was the first Olympic torch relay torchbearer. Rio Olympics shooting gold medalist Anna Korakaki began a journey that will deliver the Olympic Flame to the coming Tokyo Olympics. The flame will spend eight days in Greece and will pass through more than 30 towns and cities around the country before arriving in Athens.
There it will be handed over to host city Tokyo, in a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Hollywood star Gerard Butler who portrayed King Leonidas in the blockbuster “300”, has arrived in Athens with his girlfriend Morgan Brown. The movie star is in Greece to take part in the lighting festivities marking 2500 years since the Battle of Thermopylae. Butler will run holding the torch from the Byzantine town of Mystras to Sparta.