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The Olympic Flame for the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 will Take Place in Ancient Olympia Today

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The lighting of the Olympic Flame for the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 will take place in Ancient Olympia today. The ceremony of the lighting of the Olympic Flame marks the commencement of the Olympic Torch Relay, an event revived in 1936 for the Berlin Olympic Games. The Beijing Olympic Torch Relay 2008 is expected to last 130 days and cover 137,000 km, passing through the five continents and visiting some of the principal points of the Ancient Silk Road. In the ancient times, a fire, symbol of hope and purity, permanently burned in the sanctuary of Olympia, while animal sacrifices were offered to the gods in ritual ceremonies. Even in modern times, the lighting of the flame takes place before Hera’s alter in Olympia, a reminder of those events. Ever since the 1936  Berlin Olympic Games, a few months before the opening of Games, a ceremony is organised in the same ancient sanctuary of Olympia. Actresses play the role of priestesses. The flame is lit in the traditional way, with sun rays reflected on parabolic mirrors. The flame is then transferred by the High priestess to the ancient stadium in order to be received by the first torchbearer. The ceremony will be addressed by the President of the International Olympic Committee Dr. Jacques Rogge, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Mr. Minos Kyriakou, and the President of the Organizing Committee for Beijing 2008 Mr. Liu Qi. International Olympic Committee- Lighting of the Olympic Flame; Beijing 2008- Official website