International Ice Hockey Federation

The flame is on!

The flame is on!

Olympic countdown begins in Ancient Olympia

Published 15.08.2018 16:17 GMT+11 | Author Martin Merk
The flame is on!
Greek cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis was the first athlete to start the Olympic Torch Relay in Ancient Olympia. Photo: Greg Martin / IOC
On Tuesday the Olympic Flame was lit in Ancient Olympia with just over three months to go until it will reach PyeongChang for the opening ceremony.

The Olympic flame has been a symbol of the Olympic Games since its classic era over 2,000 years ago and is lit every two years at the site of the classic Olympic Games at Ancient Olympia in Greece. It traditionally involves eleven women dressed in classic Greek style representing the Vestal Virgins who perform a ceremony at the Temple of Hera in which the Olympic torch is lit with the power of the sun by a parabolic mirror.

The ceremony was performed on Tuesday noon local time with representatives including International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee President Hee-beom Lee, the President of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Korea, Kee-Heung Lee, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, among the speakers to start the final countdown to the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Also heads of the National Olympic Committees of the next Olympics were on-site including Zaiqing Yu from China where the 2022 Olympic Winter Games will take place.

Greek cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis, who has secured his participation in PyeongChang 2018, was the first torchbearer. He passed on the flame to Korean football player Park Ji-Sung.

Video:  summary of the ceremony (1:18), full video (>1h)

The flame will now tour for a seven-day relay through Greece. In one week it will be handed over to the Korean organizers at the over 2,300 years old Panathenaic Stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896. From there the torch will travel 8,500 kilometres east.

On 1st November the Olympic Flame will land on Korean soil at the Incheon international airport near Seoul. Stars and prospects, or as the organizers say Achievers and Dreamers, will take part in the torch relay as the flame will travel across the Republic of Korea for 101 days to arrive in more than 150 cities in the country. It will first travel to Jeju Island for two days before continuing on the mainland in Busan on 4th November. 7,500 torch bearers will participate in the relay until the flame will lit the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony on 9th February 2018 in PyeongChang.

The relay will cover 2,018 kilometres by diverse means of transportation, including plane, ship, train, sailboat, zip wire, cable car and bike.

The first competitions will begin on 10th February including the women’s ice hockey tournament while the men’s ice hockey tournament will start on 14th February. The Olympic Winter Games will end on 25th February when the gold medal game of the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament will be one of the last events prior to the Closing Ceremony.

20 ice hockey teams from 13 countries will battle for medals at the ice hockey tournaments in PyeongChang 2018. Those will be played at the coastal city of Gangneung at the brand-new Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Kwangdong Hockey Centre.

Our website will serve as home of ice hockey during the Olympic Winter Games. 


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