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Olympic flame lighting ceremony held for Rio Olympics

CCTV.com

04-22-2016 14:52 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

The flame for this year's Olympics Games has been lit. Now that the torch has been ignited, it will travel through its modern home -- Greece for the next week, before it is handed over to this year's host of the Summer Games -- Brazil, as it prepares to light the cauldron in Rio on August 5th. 

The moment, the Olympic flame for Rio 2016 was lit.

The official lighting ceremony was established 80 years ago and is based on a ceremony from Ancient Olympia where the games were held for more than 1,000 years.

Keeping to the tradition, the high priestess lit the flame using the midday sun in the temple of Hera in Olympia. The ceremony was accompanied by a choreagraphed display. A white pigeon was released to symbolize peace. And then the torch could begin its journey.

Greek world champion gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias was the first torchbearer.

Rio 2016 will be the first Olympics to take place in South America. 

OLYMPIA, April 21, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Second torchbearer, Brazilian volleyball player, Giovane Cavio runs with the Olympic flame during the torch relay in ancient Olympia, Greece, on April 21, 2016, after the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Olympia. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

OLYMPIA, April 21, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Second torchbearer, Brazilian volleyball player, Giovane Cavio runs with the Olympic flame during the torch relay in ancient Olympia, Greece, on April 21, 2016, after the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Olympia. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

The second torchbearer Brazilian volleyball double Olympic gold medalist Giovane believes that this is the moment Rio 2016 became a reality. The torch will be carried through Eleanos refugee camp near Athens by a refugee next week. A refugee team will also compete at the games. IOC President Thomas Bach believes it sends a strong message.

The Olympic torch will now travel across Greece before it is officially handed over to Brazil next Wednesday. From there it will then travel through 329 Brazilian towns and cities before using some 12,000 torch bearers. The countdown to Rio 2016 is now well and truly on. 

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