The Olympic Torch Relay starts the final countdown to one of the greatest athletic and cultural events in the world. Taking place as it does against the backdrop of Olympia, the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony serves more than any other tradition to connect the modern Games with their ancient origins and – like the messengers who proclaimed the sacred Olympic truce – the runners who carry the Olympic flame will carry the message of the Olympic values on their journey.
Representatives of the NOCs of the upcoming Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games included: Tsunekazu Takeda (JPN), Zaiqing Yu (CHN), Denis Masseglia (FRA) and Lawrence F. Probst III (USA). They joined the President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG), Lee Hee-beom and the President of the NOC of the Republic of Korea Kee-Heung Lee, as well as Spyros Capralos from the Hellenic Olympic Committee (GRE).
“As our founder, Pierre de Coubertin, once said: ‘The Olympic Games are a pilgrimage to the past and an act of faith in the future,’” President Bach told the crowd at the ceremony.
He continued: “What better expression of this faith in the future, than the presence of the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, together with the Presidents of the National Olympic Committees of the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, France and the United States of America. Together, they represent the future hosts of Olympic Games, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. Today’s ceremony marks the beginning of the celebration of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.”
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay is an invitation to join in the celebrations around the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and be inspired by its message: “Passion. Connected.”
The IOC President was joined by the Chair of the PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission and IOC Executive Board Member Gunilla Lindberg and a number of other IOC members.
“I am very proud to be here today in Ancient Olympia to see the Olympic flame begin its journey to PyeongChang in the Republic of Korea,” said Lee Hee-beom, President of POCOG.