Olympic Flame on its way to Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

09:25, October 30, 2009      

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Greek rowing Olympic medallist Vasileios Polymeros raises an Olympic torch in front of the Parthenon at the hill of the Acropolis in Athens October 28, 2009. The Olympic flame of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics will be handed over to the Canadian delegation on October 29.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The Olympic Flame for Vancouver's 21st Winter Olympic Games, which was kindled last week at Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics, was officially handed over to the Canadian delegation by the Greek Olympic Committee on Thursday evening in Athens.

In a moving ceremony held at the Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympics was hosted in 1896, the Sacred flame finished its journey around Greece and began its trip to Canada.

In the presence of President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, the Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean, Greek minister of Culture Pavlos Geroulanos and other officials, Niki Georgiadou, a Greek figure skating champion who is a student at Toronto, entered the Stadium as the last torchbearer on Greek soil.

Ending the Greek leg of the 2,180 Torch Relay which on Thursday included a stop at the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum, under cheers from the crowd Georgiadou lit the altar.

Then actress Maria Nafpliotou dressed as High Priestess accompanied by other 14 priestesses kindled the torch and gave it to Greek Olympic Committee president Spyros Kapralos.

Before handing it to the CEO Executive Officer of the VANOC John Furlong, wishing best luck mr Kapralos stressed that "the Sacred Light of Olympism always encountered people willing to adopt the eternal messages of love, peace, friendship and solidarity among people".

In his address Furlong replied "Today we accept the Flame with humility, respect and joy. As we embark on the longest domestic relay in Olympic history, we take with us the knowledge that the flame has the power to unite, inspire and bring harmony to the world. We look forward to welcome you all in Vancouver with glowing hearts".

The Flame will travel to Canada in a safe lamp. In Canada it will be transferred across 45,000 kilometers by 12,000 torchbearers until it reaches the Olympic Cauldron to the Host City of Vancouver to officially open the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 12.

Source: Xinhua
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