Olympia awaits flame lighting ceremony for PyeongChang

On 24 October, the lighting ceremony for the Olympic flame will signal the start of the countdown towards the next edition of the Games, PyeongChang. Be part of this historic moment and follow the ceremony live here on Olympic.org on Tuesday at 11.00 CET. 

Picture by Getty Images

The ceremony will take place in Olympia, home of the ancient Games in Greece. As is the tradition, a torch at the ancient temple of Hera will be lit by the rays of the sun using a parabolic mirror, to set off a domestic relay. The lighting ceremony will start at 12 noon local time, with actress Katerina Lehou as High Priestess and Artemis Ignatiou as the choreographer.

Twenty-four-year-old cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis from Greece, who has already secured his participation in PyeongChang, will be the first torchbearer. “It is a great honour for me to be chosen as the first torchbearer for the Olympic Winter Games of 2018. It is truly a unique moment that I am looking forward to. I feel very proud and with a unique sense of happiness,” says Angelis. 

It is truly a unique moment that I am looking forward to. I feel very proud and with a unique sense of happiness. Apostolos AngelisFirst torchbearer for the Olympic Winter Games of 2018 - Apostolos AngelisFirst torchbearer for the Olympic Winter Games of 2018

The famous football player Park Ji-Sung (Republic of Korea) will be the second torch bearer. He will take the Olympic Flame from the torch of Apostolos Angelis outside the Pierre de Coubertin Grove. Park Ji-Sung has been in the past a star player for, among others, Manchester United and of PSV Eindhoven.


Over the following week, the flame will take a tour of Greece. The symbol of Olympism will cover 2,129km on Greek territory and will arrive at the Acropolis on 30 October. Some 505 torchbearers will participate and 36 welcome ceremonies will be held in 20 municipalities over the eight days. The ceremony to handover the flame to the PyeongChang Organising Committee will be held at the Panathenaic Stadium on 31 October at 11 a.m. Athens time.

Then the flame will make its way 8,500km east, to the Korean city of Incheon, arriving on 1 November to coincide with 100 days to go until the start of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang.

Thereafter the Olympic Torch Relay will see the flame embark on a tour of the entire host country, taking in nine provinces and eight major cities, before it finally arrives at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in time for the Opening Ceremony on 9 February 2018.

The lighting ceremony is one of the most powerful rituals in the Olympic cycle. Taking place as it does against the backdrop of Olympia, it perhaps serves more than any other tradition to connect the modern Games with their ancient origins and like the messengers who proclaimed the sacred Olympic truce, the runners who carry the Olympic flame will carry a message of peace on their journey. Next week’s lighting ceremony will signal the start of that journey to bring the world together for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang.  

During the ancient Olympics, a fire was kept burning throughout the Games. In the context of the modern Games, the flame only made its first appearance in Amsterdam in 1928. It was first featured at the Winter Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen eight year later.


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