Olympic Torch Relay begins final leg in Rio
After three months and more than 300 cities, travelling by boat, bicycle and even surfing, the Olympic flame has reached the host city of Rio de Janeiro.
It made the symbolic journey across Rio’s Guanabara Bay on Wednesday 3 August in the hands of Olympic sailing champions Lars and Torben Grael.
The relay was in its final days before lighting the Olympic Cauldron for the Opening Ceremony on 5 August.
This is a very special moment in the history not only of our city, but of the whole country. Eduardo PaesRio de Janeiro Mayor - Eduardo PaesRio de Janeiro Mayor
“Olympism has a set of values that society needs to increasingly incorporate. It means a world that we all seek. A peaceful place, with different nationalities, religions and orientations are respected.”
“The emotion of receiving this flame on behalf of cariocas is indescribable.”
One of the first torchbearers in Rio de Janeiro was Rebeca Moraes dos Santos, who is a student at the Olympic Experimental School (GEO), one of the legacies of Rio 2016, offering top-level sports training alongside academic teaching.
Next to carry the torch was Renato Luiz Feliciano Lourenço, or better known as Sorriso (“Smile”), who became famous as a street cleaner, who samba danced while sweeping the Carnival arena, or Sambodromo.
“To know that you are part of this event, to be part of Rio de Janeiro, live in Rio, value the city and take it to the world is really good,” he said.
“Who is carrying the torch today is not Renato, but all the workers, breadwinners, street sweepers. I hope this torch transmits peace, love, affection.”
Before arriving in the city, the relay passed through some of the beauty spots popular with tourists on the outskirts of Rio including the beach town of Buzios.
Rowing legends and brothers Ricardo and Ronaldo Carvalho, who took part in Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, carried the torch on Monday 1 August.
“This city always played a part of our lives as athletes and also of our leisure time with our family,” said Ricardo.
“To have the privilege of carrying the torch in this marvelous city was a gift.”
René Silva, who lives in Morro do Adeus in the north of Rio and set up the favela newspaper Voz das Comunidades for Complexo do Alemão aged 11, carried the torch once again, having also been a torchbearer at London 2012.
“The newspaper was a way of showing that we were and are important, of telling our stories, of valuing us. Carrying the torch is another way of taking my community to the world,” he said.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay has three Presenting Partners: Worldwide TOP Partner Coca-Cola, which continues its longstanding support for Olympic torch relays, and local Partners Bradesco and Nissan. For further information, please visit the Rio 2016 website.