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Lighting the way to 2010 Youth Olympic Games

The official ceremony for the Lighting of the Olympic flame that will burn at the inaugural Youth Olympics Games in Singapore will take place today (July 23) at Ancient Olympia.
In the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and Minister of Culture Pavlos Yeroulanos, the priestess will stand in front of the 2,600 year-old Temple of Hera and by using a concave mirror will light a silver torch with the sun’s rays.
As soon as the flame is lit, the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame will begin travelling in five cities across the globe: Berlin, Dakar, Mexico City, Auckland and Seoul.
Yesterday, a successful rehearsal was conducted and hundreds of tourists, visiting the site where the Ancient Olympics were held from 776 BC to 393 AD, witnessed the event. The first ever Youth Olympic Games will be held from August 14 to 26 in Singapore.
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism: The Archaeological site of Olympia
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)
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Greece: “Green Development” in Olympia Region

PLANT(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Five ministers accompanied the premier during his visit to the area, along with Spanish urban planner Josep Acebillo, who will have the central role in designing the restoration of the area.  The regional plan features the establishment of a new International School of Sports, Olympism and Civilisation, and the further expansion of the International Olympic Truce Centre, so that Olympia could become the centre for peace and cooperation initiatives among nations.  A new bill will focus on green development, which could become a model for the whole country, Papandreou pointed out, during his visit to the region. The project is “an initial effort to attract international interest for offers and investment in the region,” he said.

Greece @ China’s Cultural Year

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece relishes international attention by being the honoured country for this year’s Cultural Year in China (www.greece-china.com). Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Sunday inaugurated the International Olympic Truce Centre exhibition at Beijing’s Hellenic House (“From ancient Olympia to Beijing 2008 – forty Greek and forty Chinese artists discuss the Olympic Truce” ) in the presence of former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The “Agon” exhibition by the National Archaeological Museum, initially held in Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games, presents themes from the athletic events of the ancient Olympic Games, along with the whole context of poetry, theatre and artistic competitions held from time to time at the major temples throughout the Greek world (Beijing’s Capital Museum). Dimitris Papaioannou, director of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony, brought his adapted version of ancient Greek tragedy Medea to Beijing (Grand National Theatre in Beijing on August 1 and 2). Greece will be the country of honour at the 15th International Beijing Book Fair to be held early September 2008. Greece is the fourth country after France, Russia and Germany to be receiving such an honourary invitation. Within the same framework, China will be the country of honour at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair in 2010.

An Hippodrome Discovered in Olympia after 1600 Years

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The site of an ancient hippodrome course in Olympia, where the emperor Nero competed for Olympian laurels, has been discovered. The hippodrome was discovered in Olympia by a research team that included Professor Norbert Müller, Dr Christian Wacker and Dr Reinhard Senff. “This discovery is an archaeological sensation,” commented Norbert Müller of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The research project extended over several weeks before its completion in mid-May 2008. Prior to this, the hippodrome had only been known from written sources. Archaeologists had failed to locate its actual site, which is surprising, as German archaeologists have been continuously excavating the site of where the ancient Olympiad was held since 1875.      Science Daily: Horse Racecourse In Ancient Olympia Discovered After 1600 Years (21.07.2008); Ministry of Culture: Olympia-The Hippodrome

Polish Idea: Bike Ride ‘Olympia to Beijing’

(ATHENS NEWS AGENCY) Two Greeks, 21-year-old Danae Tezapsidou and 32-year-old Vassilis Mesitidis, will be among the 12-member team of cyclists – from Poland, Lithuania, Italy and the United States – who will attempt a bike ride from ancient Olympia to Beijing via the so-called “silk road” in order to highlight the 2008 Olympic Games in China. The ride began at ancient Olympia on Wednesday and participants hope to arrive in the Chinese capital on August 8, the day when the Beijing Olympics begin, after crossing over a distance of some 12,000 kilometres.  The team will pass through, among other countries, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and much of China. . The idea originated with a team of cyclists (Travellers’ Association CROTOS) in Poland and was organised under the auspices of the Polish Olympic Committee. Continue reading