Olympic Torch Relay discovers Carnival spirit

Picture by Rio 2016
Rio 2016

Passing by iconic landmarks including the Lacerda Elevator and the historic, cobbled Pelourinho neighbourhood, the torch was passed from athletes to locals to pop stars. “Carrying the Olympic flame is a huge moment that has lots of meanings,” said Salvador-born swimmer, Alan do Carmo, who will compete in the open water marathon in Rio. “I had the pleasure to carry the torch at the Bonfim da Sagrada Colina Church slope, a very special place in Salvador.”

In one of the most heart-warming moments of the flame’s journey through Salvador, the torch was passed from former boxing world champion, Acelino Freitas to Brazilian diva Daniela Mercury, who was greeted by crowds singing her classic 1990s hit and Salvador anthem, “O Canto da Cidade”. “I’m speechless,” she said, returning to the stage to celebrate the Torch Relay in the evening alongside samba star Thiaguinho and pop/rock band Jota Quest. “The feeling of being so close to this flame is amazing. If you know and love sports, it’s really extraordinary to be part of the relay.”

The celebratory atmosphere continued despite tropical showers as the flame left Salvador for the Bahia countryside, visiting one of the biggest rural towns in Brazil, Feira de Santana on Wednesday, 25 May.

Rio 2016

The soundtrack for the leg was the emotive “O tema da vitória”, the music made famous in the victories of the late Brazilian Formula 1 legend, Ayrton Senna. “This is a very special moment for me and Feira de Santana,” said Andrea Coloma, a handball teacher, who was the first Torchbearer in the town. “I think this day will be forever in our memories and will encourage my students for the future. And I hope it helps them to learn discipline and responsibility.”

The flame was due to continue through the Bahia countryside before crossing the state border into Pernambuco and visiting the town of Petrolina.

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.