Rio's Olympic Flame Begins Its 15-Week Odyssey

Officials promise 2016 Games will be a success
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2016 6:21 AM CDT
A dancer dressed as a priestess lights the Olympic flame with a parabolic mirror.   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
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(Newser) – The Olympic flame has been kindled at the birthplace of the ancient games in Greece, heralding the start of a 15-week journey leading to the Aug. 5 opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, reports the AP. IOC and Rio organizing committee leaders attended Thursday's flame-lighting at Ancient Olympia, where antiquity's greatest sporting event was held for over 1,000 years. They voiced confidence Brazil will overcome its political and economic problems to stage a successful games, the first in South America.

The flame was lit by an actress impersonating a pagan high priestess and will be delivered to the first torchbearer, Greek world gymnastics champion Eleftherios Petrounias. It will traverse Greece for six days, until the April 27 handover to Brazilian officials in Athens. After a brief stopover in Switzerland, the flame will start its travels through Brazil on May 3. (Read more 2016 Olympics stories.)

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