With just over 100 days to go until the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a global audience will tune in this Thursday (21 April) for the historic Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Torch in Greece. In accordance with tradition, the flame will be lit by the light of the sun in the Temple of Hera in Olympia, site of the ancient Olympic Games. The ceremony starts at midday (Greek time).
Thursday’s ceremony marks the official start of the Olympic Torch Relay. After a six-day tour of Greece and a visit to Switzerland (see details below), the torch will embark on a 90-day journey across Brazil. The relay ends on 5 August, when the torch will be used to light the Olympic cauldron in the Maracanã Stadium at the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
An ancient ceremony
Greek actress Katerina Lehou will light the flame using a paralobic mirror. Lehou will be dressed as a high priestess of the goddess Hera, wearing a costume created by designer Eleni Kyriacou, a pupil of Alexander McQueen.
Greek gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias, world champion on the rings, will be the first athlete to hold the torch. He will then pass it on to Giovane Gávio, Brazil’s double Olympic volleyball champion.
Former volleyball star Giovane Gávio will be the first Brazilian athlete to carry the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch after the lighting of the flame. Now the volleyball manager for Rio 2016, Gávio participated in the torch relay for Athens 2004, when it traveled through a series of different countries. “It will be very exciting to be a torchbearer in Greece as it is sacred ground for the Olympic Games,” Gávio said.
Check out the route for the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay:
The Rio 2016 Olympic torch relay will begin its tour of Brazil on 3 May in the capital city, Brasília. Some 12,000 torchbearers will participate across the country. The design of the torch is inspired by the geography of Rio de Janeiro. Wired magazine included the torch in its 20 most cleverly designed objects of 2015.