24 October 2017

The Olympic flame-lighting ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 took place today in Ancient Olympia, Greece. It was the start of an incredible journey that will bring the Olympic spirit to the Republic of Korea and its citizens, and inspire the entire world – the .

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos, IOC Honour Member in Greece Lambis Nukolaou and Mayor of Ancient Olympia Efthimios Kotzas played hosts to the President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, Honour President Jacques Rogge and a number of National Olympic Committee leaders that took part in the ceremony.

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, were the special guests of the day.

The Chair of the PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission and IOC Executive Board Member Gunilla Lindberg and a number of other IOC members were in attendance, as well as representatives of the NOCs of the upcoming Ollympic Games and Olympic Winter Games including Tsunekazu Takeda (JPN), Zaiqing Yu (CHN), Denis Masseglia (FRA) and Lawrence F. Probst III (USA). as well as

“Today’s ceremony and the Olympic Games send a very important message to the world, ” Greek President Pavlopoulos said.  “Under the leadership of President Bach, the Olympic Movement continues to play a unique role in the world.”

“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.

“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.

He continued: “The start of the Olympic Torch Relay today is one of the most important milestones in our journey to February 9th. The Olympic Torch Relay will be a celebration of the passion that our nation has for the Olympic Movement as we welcome the flame back to our shores for the first time since the Seoul Olympic Games of 1988. Korea is ready to welcome the world again in PyeongChang.”

Twenty-four-year-old cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis from Greece, who has already secured his participation in PyeongChang 2018, was the first torchbearer. He passed on the flame to famous football player Park Ji-Sung from the Republic of Korea.

Over the following week, the flame will travel around Greece. It will cover 2,129km on Greek territory and will arrive at the Acropolis on 30 October. Some 505 torchbearers will participate, and 36 welcome ceremonies will be held in 20 municipalities over the eight days.

The ceremony to hand over the flame to the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee will be held at the Panathenaic Stadium on 31 October.

Then the flame will make its way 8,500km east, to the Korean city of Incheon, arriving on 1 November to coincide with 100 days to go until the start of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on 9 February.

Thereafter, the Olympic Torch Relay will see the flame embark on a tour of the entire host country, taking in nine provinces and eight major cities, before it finally arrives at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in time for the Opening Ceremony on 9 February 2018.

The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will run from 9 to 21 February in PyeongChang, and will feature approximately 3,000 athletes from 95 NOCs.