Paris Olympics torch lit at site of ancient games

The flame that will burn at the Paris Olympics has been kindled at the site of the ancient games in Greece.
During a ceremony, an actress dressed as an ancient Greek priestess was supposed to use the sun to ignite the silver torch, but cloudy skies meant a backup flame was used to light it instead.

Thousands of spectators turned up to watch the event, during which the priestess offered up a symbolic prayer to Apollo, the ancient Greek sun god.

Image: Performers dressed as priestesses during the lighting ceremony. Pic: Reuters

Image: Actress Mary Mina carries the flame. Pic: Reuters
The flame will be carried from the ruined sports grounds of Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the games, by a relay of torchbearers on an 11-day journey of more than 3,100 miles (5,000km) through Greece until it is handed over to the Paris Games organisers in Athens on 26 April.

Image: Performers dance during the ceremony. Pic: Reuters

Image: Pic: Reuters
The torch will then travel from Athens’ port of Piraeus on the French three-masted sailing ship the Belem, which was built in 1896 – the first year of the modern games in Athens.

Image: Spectators gather for the ceremony at Ancient Olympia. Pics: Reuters
It is due to arrive in the southern French port of Marseille – a city founded by Greek colonists some 2,600 years ago – on 8 May, according to Captain Aymeric Gibet.

Image: Ms Mina lights the flame. Pic: Reuters

Image: Ms Mina passes the flame to the first torchbearer, Greek rower Stefanos Ntouskos. Pic: Reuters
In Paris, the flame will pass the site of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall as well as the Shoah Memorial, mayor Anne Hidalgo said.

Image: Mr Ntouskos runs with the flame. Pic: Reuters

Image: French swimmer Laure Manaudou, the second torchbearer. Pic: Reuters

Image: Mr Ntouskos lights Ms Manaudou’s torch. Pic: Reuters
The Paris city hall, which will host the flame on 14 July when France celebrates Bastille Day, will stay open all night so “visitors and Parisians can see this symbol of fraternal transmission across the planet,” Ms Hidalgo added.


Source : Sky News