Olympic Torch Lit In Greece [Video]
The countdown to the 2012 Olympics has officially begun. The olympic torch was lit today at the 2,600 year-old Temple of Hera in Greece and will now embark on its journey through Greece and the UK before it lands in London for the opening ceremony on July 27th.
ESPN reports that the flame was lit at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics earlier today by actress Ino Menegaki who was dressed as a high priestess. Menegaki, who used the sun to light the flame, handed the Olympic flame to Greek swimmer Spyros Gianniotis.
Gianniotis will be the first torch bearer as the flame embarks on an 1800 mile journey around Greece. 490 other torchbearers will help to carry the flame across Greece. Nineteen-year-old Alex Loukos was the second person to grab the torch. Loukos said:
“It is an unbelievable honor to be a torchbearer … especially carrying the flame in Olympia and representing the city of London… I have grown up with London 2012 — from helping with the bid in Singapore when I was 12, to witnessing the incredible regeneration of my home in East London.”
Once the Olympic torch completes its journey through Greece the flame will be taken to the United Kingdom where it will travel for more than 8,000 miles.
London organizing committee chief Sebastian Coe said:
“In 1948, shortly after the Second World War, my predecessor stood where I am today and made the first tentative steps in turning the world from war to sport. We find ourselves in challenging times again and turn to sport once more to connect the world in a global celebration of achievement and inspiration.”
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge added:
“With this ceremony, we begin the final countdown to a dream that came to life seven years ago in Singapore. London is ready to welcome the world for the third time.”
Here’s a video of the Olympic torch lighting ceremony.