Olympic Flame Lighting First

(ATR) For the first time, a woman will be the first torchbearer at the Olympic flame lighting in Ancient Olympia.

Olympic gold medalist Anna Korakaki was chosen for the honor by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. She won gold and bronze medals in shooting at the Rio Olympics.

Korakaki will be the first to receive the flame for the Tokyo Olympics lit in the traditional ceremony March 12 at the site of the first Olympics three thousand years ago.

"It's a great honor for me. I am thrilled and I think the feelings will get even more intense after that time in Ancient Olympia. I am looking forward to living that moment and I'm sure it will remain engraved in my mind and heart for the rest of my life,” Korakaki is quoted in a press release from the HOC.

Korakaki will take the torch lit by the flame about 100 meters through the stadium from the ancient Olympics. A crowd in excess of 10,000 could fill the grassy hillside to watch the event along with hundreds of dignitaries. 

Korakaki will then hand off the flame to a second runner to launch a week long torch relay across Greece, customary following each flame lighting.

On March 19 a ceremony to transfer the flame to Tokyo 2020 will take place at the Panathenaic Stadium built for the 1896 Olympics in Athens.

The final runner to bring the flame into the stadium will be another woman, Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi.

HOC President and IOC member Spyros Capralos says Korakaki and Stefanidi deserve this recognition.

“It is a historic moment as for the first time in history a female athlete will be the first Torchbearer. I believe that Anna Korakaki has honored the Greek flag and our country, and she deserves it, not only for the two medals at the Rio Olympics but also for her successes after 2016,” says Capralos.

“I am happy also for Katerina Stefanidi, another amazing Greek athlete who shines in the sports word and we are proud of our continued success. Congratulations to both of our athletes”.

After the handover ceremony the flame will travel to Japan for the March 26 start of the torch relay that will end on July 24 at the Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo.



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