• Date of Lighting: March 24, 2008
  • Colour of the torch: red, silver
  • Height: 72cm
  • Weight: 985gr
  • Number of torches: -
  • Number of torchbearers: 21.800
  • First torchbearer: Alexandros Nikolaidis (taekwondo)
  • Last torchbearer: Li Ning
  • Countries crossed: Greece, China, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia, England, France, USA, Argentina, Tanzania, Oman, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, South Korea, North Vietnam, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau
  • Kilometres: 137.000

The Olympic Flame was lit successfully in an impressive ceremony, at the foot of the Cronian hill, in Ancient Olympia and started its long journey to Beijing. The ceremony took place under the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic and the political authorities, the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, the President of PASOK Giorgos Papandreou and the IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge with the honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch. Tens of IOC members were present along with Greek and Chinese officials of the political and sports authorities.

Maria Nafpliotou (High Priestess for the first time following the decision of the HOC Plenary Session) handed over the Flame to the silver Olympic medalist of taek-won-do, Alexandros Nikolaidis who passed the Flame to the Chinese Olympic champion of swimming Luo Zuo Yen (100m breaststroke). The HOC Plenary also decided that Mrs. Artemis Ignatiou, would be the choreographer of the Lighting Ceremony in the place of Mrs. Maria Horss who retired, after 50 years of invaluable contribution.

The Flame covered 1.528 kilometres in Greece by the hands of 605 torchbearers and arrived in Athens. The torch relay passed through 16 Prefectures, 43 Municipalities and 4 Communities while 29 ceremonies were organised in specific cities along the route of the torch relay.

High Priestess