The Olympic flame has been lit and is on its 1,800-mile journey around Greece before it makes its way to London next week. A “high priestess” (read: actress) ignited the flame by catching the sun’s rays in a mirror at a ceremony in Olympia’s Temple of Hera ruins. It then briefly went out, but was relit and transferred to the first torchbearer, Greek swimmer Spyros Gianniotis, at the ancient Olympic Games stadium, the BBC reports.
The London 2012 chairman made note of Europe’s political and economic struggles in his speech to the crowd, noting that “the timeless Olympic values … are more relevant than at any time before and particularly to young people the world over.” Gianniotis passed the torch to boxer Alex Loukos, the first British torchbearer, and it will change hands some 500 times before its weeklong journey through Greece ends. On May 18, it flies to Britain for a 70-day, 8,000-mile journey through the UK.