LAUSANNE, Sept 18 (GCSports) The Flame burning for the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games was lit and handed over to organizers in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens, Greece here on Tuesday.
At the marble venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896, the Flame was ignited by the sun’s rays during a ritual ceremony led by Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou playing the role of an Ancient Greek High Priestess.
She passed the flame to the first torchbearer, 17-year-old Greek skiing athlete Christos Marmarellis, kicking off a relay that will end on January 9, when the III Winter Youth Olympic Games will start in Lausanne, Switzerland, the home of the International Olympic Committee.
Approximately 1,880 teenage athletes from about 70 countries and regions will participate in the Games which will end on January 22, 2020.
Tuesday’s event closed with Spyros Capralos, Hellenic Olympic Committee President and member of the International Olympic Committee, passing the Flame to the president of the Games Organizing Committee Virginie Faivre with wishes for best success.
The Youth Olympic Games, which were launched in 2010, have proved that their mission has been achieved, they have reinvigorated the Olympic movement, Capralos said in a speech.
“This Flame unites the world. It reminds us of the Olympic values which started from this country and undoubtedly in the difficult times we are currently going through, this Flame brings the entire world together,” he told Xinhua.
Faivre noted that this is the first time Switzerland will host the Olympic movement Games since the Winter Olympics of Saint Moritz in 1948.
The Flame will pass through all 27 cantons over the next three months to celebrate her return after 70 years, she said.
“For us, the Youth Olympic Games are more than just a sports competition. We want to educate and promote the values of sports and Olympism through these Games. We are really happy, proud and honored to bring back this flame to Switzerland,” Faivre told Xinhua.
The Swiss delegation left the stadium under the warm applause of Greek ministers, international Olympic movement representatives, Olympic medalists and Greek schoolchildren.