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Olympic Flame Successfully Collected for Rio 2016

Xinhua News Agency - TheOlympic flame collection ceremony for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 is to takeplace in the Ancient Olympia of Greece on April 21. The ceremony will start atnoon in Athens (5:00 PM Beijing time), lasting for around 50 minutes.

It is precisely 80 yearssince the Olympic flame collection ceremony began at the Berlin 1936 OlympicGames.

The flame collectionceremony started with 30 priestesses played by actors walking towards theTemple of Hera. In Greek mythology, Hera is the wife of Zeus, Lord of Olympia,and controls family, marriage and fertility. In front of the ruins of theancient temple of the goddess, the High Priestess slowly extends the torchtoward a concave focus lens, calling on Apollo to ignite the holy flame,praying: “Apollo, the lord of the sun and embodiment of light, ignite this holytorch with your inimitable rays.”

The concave lens focusesunder the sun and ignites the torch.

A youth breaks off the olivebranch symbolizing honor and victory, and escorts the holy flame to the stadiumwith some ten other male dancers.

On the hills surrounding thestadium, the actresses playing the priestesses and male dancers give a danceperformance. This year they drew inspiration from ancient Greek sculptures.Part One is called “male and female youths”—a key theme of ancient Greeksculptures which gives out this youthful vibe. Part Two is “fairy in theocean”, which is another theme of ancient Greek sculptures and has mythologicalorigins. 50 fairies in the ocean control the wind in the sea and often playwith dolphins and travel by riding the waves.

Producer Artemis has thesame name as the goddess of the moon and the hunt, who is the twin sister ofApollo, the god of the sun. She started working as the producer of Olympicflame collection ceremony since the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. According toArtemis, Beijing 2008 has brought her good luck.

This year, the HighPriestess is played by a famous Greek actor Katerina Lechou. She graduated fromthe Theater of Arts Karolos Koun inAthens and has appeared in a number of popular TV series and dramas. She firstacted as the high priestess at the Olympic flame collection ceremony of theYouth Olympic Games Nanjing 2014.

The Grecian robe worn by theactors playing the priestesses is designed by renowned Greek fashion designerEleni Kyriacou. The dress features pleats and rich texture. This UK-born Greekdesigner has hidden the color of the Greek land and ocean inside the pleatingdetails and incorporated light green, light blue and olive green to symbolizethe ocean and olive trees of Greece.

When the actresses standstill, the dress only shows the color of the outer layer of the pleats, whichis light green. When they move, the varying colors on the inner layers arerevealed. For the robes of male dancers, the outer layer of pleating is olivegreen while the inner layer is light green and light blue.

The dresses are made withpremium Merino wool. Australia-produced Merino wool is of the best quality. Butthe wool’s place of origin is actually Spain and travelled across the worldfrom there. To make the 85 dresses used at the Olympic flame collectionceremony for Rio 2016, a total of 150 kilos of wool were used. The dressesweigh between 1.2 kilos and 1.8 kilos apiece.

The actors wear traditionalancient Greek sandals designed by Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglou whowere inspired by ancient Greek mythology, pottery painting and sculptures.

Excerpts from the poem Lightof Olympics the High Priestess read to Apollo at the holy flame collectionceremony:

“The holy silence

Sky, land, ocean, wind…

The mountains solemn, thebirds stop chirping.

The great god of the sungathers us all here.

Apollo, the lord of the sun,the embodiment of light,

Ignite this holy torch withyour inimitable rays.

For the impassioned city ofRio.

Apollo, the lord of the sun,the embodiment of light,

Ignite this holy torch withyour inimitable rays.

The almighty lord Zeus hasgranted peace to all,

He placed the olive branchatop the winner of the holy contest.

Hurray! Let us cheer for thehonorable winners!”

The first torch bearer thisyear is Greek gymnast Petrounias who was born in 1990. He won the first goldmedal for rings at the Gymnastics World Championships in Greek history at lastyear’s championship. He will compete at Rio 2016 for Greece. It will be hisfirst time at the Olympics.

Once ignited, the torch willbe passed across Greece for a 6-day relay, including the city of Marathon andCorfu. The relay will cover a trail of 2,235 kilometers, participated by 450torch bearers, including a refugee.

On April 27, the Olympicflame will be officially handed over to Rio 2016 in Athens, before traveling tothe IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. On May 3, the Olympic flame willarrive in Brasilia—capital of Brazil—and begin its relay in Brazil.


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