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Olympic Flame scheduled to make arrival in Brazil on May 3rd

CCTV.com

04-28-2016 16:04 BJT

First up is news about the Rio Olympics, as the Flame that symbolizes the connection between the ancient and modern Games has been handed over to organizers from Brazil, in an Official Ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. After leaving Greece, the Torch will go on display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, before it sets off for Brazil.

ATHENS, April 28, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Carlos Nuzman(R), the President of the Organizing Committee for the "RIO 2016" Olympic Games, receives the torch from Spyros Capralos, the President of HOC (Hellenic Olympic Committee), during the handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, April 27, 2016. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

ATHENS, April 28, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Carlos Nuzman(R), the President of the Organizing Committee for the "RIO 2016" Olympic Games, receives the torch from Spyros Capralos, the President of HOC (Hellenic Olympic Committee), during the handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, April 27, 2016. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

The tradition lives on. At a glittering ceremony that was attended by thousands at the historic site of the first modern Games in 1896, the Olympic Flame was officially handed over to Brazil. The Flame for South America's first Olympics was lit last week at the birthplace of the ancient Games in Greece, traversing the country’s archaeological sites by 450 torchbearers. Maria Polyzou, a well-known marathon champion, was one of the few who could lay her hands on the magical flame.

"As a Greek, and a marathon runner, it is really important for me to participate in the Torch Relay. The Flame is a symbol of peace representing Olympism all over the world," said marathon runner & torchbearer Maria Polyzou.

The plight of millions of refugees was highlighted when the Flame went through a refugee camp, led by a Syrian refugee.

"Greece performed its duty to global society. The Flame was lit in Ancient Olympia, and then sent to one of the largest countries, Brazil," said IOC member & torchbearer Nikos Tsonis.

"It is such a privilege to cover this emotional event and even further to carry the flame with my little daughter. It is a day to remember," said journalist & torchbearer Vangelis Ioannou.

ATHENS, April 28, 2016 (Xinhua) -- The last torch bearer on Greek territory, rowing World Champion Katerina Nikolaidou of Greece lights the cauldron during the handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, April 27, 2016. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

ATHENS, April 28, 2016 (Xinhua) -- The last torch bearer on Greek territory, rowing World Champion Katerina Nikolaidou of Greece lights the cauldron during the handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, April 27, 2016. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

After a brief stopover in Switzerland, the flame will start its travels through Brazil on May 3rd. Organizers say it will reach most of the vast country's 200 million population, in a giant effort involving 12,000 torchbearers.

Preparations for the first Games in South America have been plagued by problems, and the political and financial turmoil. Brazil is experiencing its worst recession in decades. But despite difficulties, the passion for sport amongst the Brazilians is likely to keep the Olympic Spirit alive.

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