Mon, September 23, 2013

Olympic flame lit in Greece

By SPORTS NETWORK


Greek actress Ino Menegaki (right), playing the role of High Priestess, lights the Olympic flame during the torch lighting ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the site of ancient Olympia in Greece on Thursday, May 10, 2012. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)


OLYMPIA, GREECE - The Olympic flame for the 2012 London Games was lit Thursday in Greece and will soon begin a journey that will culminate July 27 with the opening ceremony in the British capital.

According to tradition, the flame was lit by a high priestess -- actress Ino Menegaki -- using the sun's rays and a mirror at the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia.

The flame then ignited a torch, which will make its way through Greece and eventually to London for the start of the Games. Greek swimmer Spyros Gianniotis, a three-time Olympian whose mother is British, was the first of torchbearers and he handed it to Alex Loukos, a British resident with Greek heritage, who was a member of London's 2012 young ambassadors that helped with the bid process in Singapore seven years ago.

After an eight-day journey across Greece, the torch will be flown to Great Britain on May 18 for the London relay. It will visit more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities during its trek, which will cover about 8,000 miles over 70 days, ending with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron on July 27.

"As the Olympic torch travels the width and breadth of the United Kingdom on its way to the Olympic Stadium in London, its powerful symbolism and the inspiring stories of many of the torchbearers will touch hearts and fire imaginations around the world," said International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

The London Games will run from July 27 through Aug. 12.