Greece officially handed over the Olympic flame to the Brazilian organisers of the 2016 Rio Olympics on Wednesday, in a ceremony held at the Panathenian Stadium in Athens. The Olympic Torch was lit in Ancient Olympia on April 21, after which it embarked on a seven-day relay throughout Greece to reach the stadium for the ceremony on Wednesday.
The flame was presented to the Hellenic Olympic Committee and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee during a ceremony, attended by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The handover ceremony again featured ‘high priestess’ Katerina Lechou and the ‘priestesses’ in costume, performing a ceremonial ‘ritual’ designed by choreographer Artemis Ignatiou to music by composer Yiannis Psimadas.
Greek singer Sakis Rouvas then took over, followed by Greek and Brazilian dancers performing signature songs and dances from the two countries.
The flame will now be carried to Brazil for the second leg of the Olympic Torch relay, ahead of the Rio Games on August 5, when it will enter the Maracana stadium for the official opening ceremony of the 2016 summer Olympic Games.
Representing the city of Rio was the head of the Brazilian organising committee Carlos Nuzman, who took it from HOC President Spyros Kapralos.
The Rio Olympics are the first Olympic Games held in Brazil and the first in South America.