Monday, October 18, 2021 - 15:24
The Olympic Flame has begun its journey to Beijing. The Lighting ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games took place in the holy land of ancient Olympia, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, who was welcomed in the ancient stadium by the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos.
The flame was lit in the hands of Highpriestess Xanthi Georgiou, while the dance ritual to the sounds of composer Giannis Psimidas, inspired by the choreographer Artemis Ignatiou, was imposing. The priestesses and dancers wore the costume designed by Eleni Kyriakou. The first torchbearer was the ski champion Ioannis Antoniou, who passed the flame to the Chinese Olympian Li Jiajun. The Olympic anthem was performed by the soprano Vasiliki Karagianni, while the ceremony was directed by the Olympic Torch Relay Committee President Thanassis Vassiliadis and conducted by Dr. Konstantinos Pantazis, Chief Director Lighting and Handover Ceremonies.
The ceremony was also attended by Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, IOC Vice Presidents Zaiqing Yu, Ser Miang NG, John Coates, Nicole Hoevertsz, IOC Vice President Stelios Angeloudis and Secretary General Manolis Kolympadis.
The HOC President and IOC member Spyros Capralos said, among other: " This time, the Olympic Flame, in addition to the messages it sends out to the world, also represents a symbol of confidence in the final victory of humanity in the tremendous battle it has been waging, against the pandemic for nearly two years.
Even though we were not able to welcome many people to this magical stadium today, the images that will travel, from here are so beautiful, so powerful, that, I am sure, they will send messages of hope around the world.
I am sure that the Beijing Winter Olympics will be a triumph of human will and effort. They will prove that the Olympic movement runs in a disciplined manner, with discretion and accountability and they will once again write glorious pages in the Olympic history through the achievements of the best athletes in the world."
IOC President Thomas Bach said, " Over 3,000 years ago, the Olympic Games were born. It was right here in Olympia, on this sacred ground, that the ancient Greeks celebrated the Olympic Games.
We are grateful to the Greek people to this very day for this precious gift to humankind. This is why I would like to thank the President of the Hellenic Republic, Her Excellency Katerina Sakellaropoulou, for honouring us with her presence today, demonstrating the direct connection between modern Greece and this noble heritage.
My thanks and gratitude also go to our hosts, Georgios Georgiopoulos, the Mayor of Olympia, and the Hellenic Olympic Committee, under the great leadership of its President, Spyros Capralos. Thank you, for making our ceremony possible today, carrying this great heritage into the future.
The Olympic Games are universal. They stand above all the differences that divide us. The Olympic Games unite humanity in all our diversity. In our fragile world, where separation, conflict and mistrust are on the rise, the Olympic Games always build bridges and friendship. "
Speaking on behalf of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, Vice President Yu Zaiqing said, " This is a historic moment as we are gathering here in the ancient city of Olympia to celebrate the lighting of the Olympic flame for the XXIV Olympic Winter Games. On behalf of Beijing 2022 President Mr. Cai Qi and the Organising Committee, I would like to express our warmest greetings and heartfelt gratitude to President Sakellaropoulou, President Bach, President Capralos and all the friends for your presence at the ceremony.The Olympic flame is a symbol of the lofty Olympic spirit. For thousands of years, the sacred Olympic flame has been a light of solidarity, friendship, peace and justice, shining on the world.“
The Mayor of Ancient Olympia George Georgiopoulos said, " The storm will pass, humanity will survive, but we all live in a different world now. Crises accelerate historical developments. Olympic institutions can be part of these developments. The Olympic ideal from ancient times to the present teaches us that there are no two concepts. The concept of nature on the one hand and the concept of man as spirit on the other. But it teaches us how body and spirit, nature and man can and must coexist harmoniously. It is therefore crucial for the IOC and its President, Thomas Bach, in cooperation with other international institutions, to take initiatives for a fruitful discussion on these important global issues.”.