Visitors, security at site of ancient games in southern Greece ahead of lighting of Olympic Flame

(16 Apr 2024)
RESTRICTION SUMMARY:

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Olympia, Greece – 16 April 2024
1. Various of people walking on main street in Ancient Olympia with flags from various countries decorating lamp posts
2. Close-up of Greek and French flags
3. Close-up of flag with “Paris 2024” logo
4. Various of people walking and security
5. Wide shot of street with flags
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Rodrigo Mora, from Brazil
“Oh, it’s a big event, for humanity, for all humankind. It’s an honor to be here. A special moment.”
7. Wide of people walking near statue
8. Close-up of people walking
9. Close-up of flags
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesco Alberti, from Italy:
“It’s the history of the sport. It’s the history of society and the world.”
11. Wide of Alberti speaking to woman
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesco Alberti, from Italy:
“Sport for the peace.”
13. Security
14. Various of main street with flags
15. Various of security
STORYLINE:
The flame for the Paris Olympics will be kindled at the site of the ancient games in southern Greece Tuesday, one way or another.

Forecast cloudy skies could frustrate efforts on Tuesday to produce the flame in the customary fashion, when an actress dressed as an ancient Greek priestess uses the sun’s rays to ignite a silver torch.

If that doesn’t work, French organizers will get their flame from a backup that was successfully lit at a final rehearsal on Monday.

In an elaborately choreographed ceremony, the foremost of a group of priestesses in long, pleated dresses offers a prayer to the ancient Greek sun god, Apollo.

She then dips the fuel-filled torch into a parabolic mirror which focuses the sun’s rays on it, and fire spurts forth.

From the ancient stadium in Olympia, a relay of torchbearers will carry the flame more than 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) through Greece until the handover to Paris Games organizers in Athens on April 26.

Thousands of spectators from all over the world are expected for Tuesday’s event amid the ruined temples and sports grounds where the ancient games were held from 776 B.C.-393 A.D.

The first torchbearer will be Greek rower Stefanos Douskos, a gold medalist in 2021 in Tokyo. He will run to a nearby monument that contains the heart of French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the driving force behind the modern revival of the games.

The next runner will be Laure Manaudou, a French swimmer who won three medals at Athens in 2004. She will hand over to senior European Union official Margaritis Schinas, a Greek.

The flame will travel from Athens’ port of Piraeus on the Belem, a French three-masted sailing ship built in 1896 — the year of the first modern games in Athens.

AP Video by Srdjan Nedeljkovic

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