PyeongChang Olympic Torch Relay illuminates Greece

The Greek leg of the PyeongChang Olympic Torch Relay began with the lighting of the Olympic flame by leading Greek actress Katerina Lehou at a ceremony held at the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera in Olympia on 24 October, and ends with the flame’s arrival in Athens.

Picture by IOC/Milos Bicanski

In the meantime, the relay for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang completed a 2,129-kilometre journey around the country, with the Olympic flame carried by 505 torchbearers and 36 welcome ceremonies held in 20 towns and cities.  

The first of those torchbearers was Greek skier Apostolos Angelis, who was one of 16 to complete a three-minute leg on the opening day of the Olympic Torch Relay as the flame was conveyed from Olympia to the town of Pyrgos. The second was the former football player Park Ji-sung, representing the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2018 (POCOG) and one of four Koreans to take part in the Greek leg of the Olympic Torch Relay.

Day two saw the flame journey from Patras, across the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge, to Antirrio and Nafpaktos, receiving a very warm welcome from schoolchildren and local people alike. After passing through Messolonghi, Agrinio and Arta, with its beautiful bridge, it ended the day in Ioannina, where Greek rower Stefanos Ntouskos, who finished sixth in the men’s lightweight coxless four at Rio 2016, had the honour of lighting the cauldron.

On 26 October, the Olympic Torch Relay continued to spread its message of peace, friendship and solidarity around Greece, making its way from Ioannina, along the shores of Lake Pamvotida, to Grevena and Kozani, with thousands of people flooding the streets to cheer the Olympic flame on its way.

IOC/Milos Bicanski

On its arrival in the beautiful town of Kastoria,local hero Christina Giazitzidou, who won a rowing bronze at London 2012, lit the cauldron at the Olympic Flame Park before a crowd of children waving Greek, Korean and Olympic flags.

The sun shone brightly on day four of the Relay, as the flame was carried to Thessaloniki, where, after passing through Toumba and the Olympic Museum, it spent the night flickering next to the statue of Alexander the Great. En route, the Olympic Torch Relay passed through the town of Edessa, whose stunning waterfalls provided a fitting backdrop for the eternal flame.

Though the weather turned on 28 October, with the sun making way for grey skies and rain, the flame continued its journey undimmedand was warmly welcomed at the ancient theatre of Mieza, where the famous philosopher Aristotle founded his school.

One of the highlights of day five came in Rodopolis, where a group of local children sporting PyeongChang T-shirts showed their enthusiasm for the Olympic Games by running alongside the torchbearer. The last port of call for the day was the town of Naousa, where the skier Sofia Ralli lit the day’s final cauldron.

On 29 October, the route took in the town of Litochoro, which sits in the shadow of Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek gods, and ended in Delphi, considered by the ancient Greeks as the centre of the world.

In a moving night-time ceremony held at the temple of Apollo, the cauldron was lit by Greek skier Georgia Marre, with Athanasios Vassiliadis, the President of the Torch Relay Commission, also in attendance on behalf of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, which organised the Olympic Torch Relay.

On 30 October, the penultimate day of the Greek leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, the flame passed through Arahova, Livadia and Elefsina, before arriving in Athens and remaining lit overnight at the Acropolis.

Following the handover of the flame to POCOG at a ceremony to be held at the Panathenaic Stadium on 31 October, it will travel to Incheon in the Republic of Korea, arriving the following day, exactly 100 days before PyeongChang gets under way.

The PyeongChang Olympic Torch Relay has three Presenting Partners: Worldwide TOP Partner Coca-Cola, which continues its long-standing support for Olympic torch relays, Worldwide TOP Partner Samsung and local Partner KT. For further information, please visit the PyeongChang website.


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