Argentina awaits arrival of future champions as IOC lights Youth Olympics’ flames
The same site that saw the rise of the Olympic Games in the modern era in 1896 was the epicentre for the ritual led by an actress playing the role of a high priestess. With the use of a parabolic mirror, she lit the flame with the purity of the sun’s rays.
The flame’s journey will last two months and cover 14,000 kilometres. During its tour it will spread the Olympic values of friendship, respect, and excellence while sending a message about the transformative power of sport to build a better society.
Yesterday’s ceremony was shorter than usual due to the deaths caused by wildfires outside Athens. The Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee expresed its solidarity with the local authorities.
“Buenos Aires 2018 has started today with the lighting of the flame. With pride we will bring it to the south of the planet and from there we will light up the world with the inspiring message of Olympism and its values”, said the president of the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, Gerardo Werthein, in a speech during the ceremony.
“We are proud to be part of the Games. With them, the Olympic Movement is going to reach new horizons. We have the honour of organising the first edition of an Olympic competition with strict gender equality”, he added.
As soon as the priestess brought the “sacred fire” to life, the torch for Buenos Aires 2018 was lit for the first time, kicking off a short relay within the stadium led by two Greek and two Argentine athletes.
The flame was carried for the Buenos Aires 2018 host country by two South American youth cycling champions, Valentina Muñoz and Yoel Vargas. They were accompanied by Argentine cycling legend Walter Perez, a gold medallist at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008.
“It may be that Patagonia is very far from this beautiful stadium. But I assure you that the flame’s glow doesn’t know distances”, underlined Valentina Muñoz in a short speech.
Its radiance is in the dreams of all athletes who are giving our best day by day to triumph at Buenos Aires 2018. And it’s also the dream of our families, who never stop helping us to be faster, to go further and become stronger”, added the athlete from the Patagonian province of Rio Negro.
The Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee will also be represented at the event by its executive director, Leandro Larrosa. The Secretary of Citizen Development for the city of Buenos Aires, Matias Lopez, was also present, in addition to officials from the Hellenic Olympic Committee, headed by president Spyros Capralos, and the Argentine Embassy in Athens.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation was led by Olympic athlete and IOC member, Danka Bartekova, a member of the Buenos Aires 2018 Monitoring Commission.
The youth Olympic flame will arrive in Buenos Aires today, and will be welcomed in an official act in the following days at the Youth Olympic Village.