As the first torchbearer of this summer's Olympic Games, Greek Olympic taekwondo silver medalist Alexandros Nikolaidis said here Sunday that the Beijing games will be a big success as their preparations are underway smoothly.
Nikolaidis appeared for the first time Sunday in the rehearsals for Monday's flame lighting ceremony of the Beijing Olympiad at Ancient Olympia.
He told reporters he was very honored and excited about being the first torchbearer of the Beijing Olympics. "The Olympic torch will start from here tomorrow to travel around the world," he said.
The 28-year-old Nikolaidis, who took the silver in the 80kg category in the Athens summer Olympics, hoped that this time he would be one step better.
"I'll train hard and fight for the best result in Beijing," he vowed.
The weather, which was dusty in Olympia Sunday morning, could be a concern for Monday's ceremony. Nikolaidis expressed his hope that it could be better tomorrow.
On Monday, at the Ancient Olympia archaeological site, High Priestess Maria Nafpliotou will use a torch ignited by the Olympic Flame to light the torch held by Nikolaidis, who would then hand over the torch to China's swimming Olympic Champion Luo Xuejuan.
The torch will roam Greece for six days. The last torchbearer in Greece, the country's 2004 Olympic silver medalist in triple jump, Pigi Devetzi, will transport the torch to Panathenian Stadium on March 30, where it will be transferred to the organizing committee of the Beijing Olympic Games.