Backup flame for Rio lit in birthplace of ancient Olympics

AP News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2016 7:49 AM
Backup flame for Rio lit in birthplace of ancient Olympics

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — Fire spurted from the concave mirror as a priestess, kneeling in her long, pleated dress before a ruined Greek temple, focused the blazing sun's rays on her metal torch.

Come rain or shine on Thursday's official lighting ceremony, Rio de Janeiro has now secured its Olympic flame, which will burn in the main Olympic stadium throughout the Aug. 5-21 games.

About 2,500 people attended Wednesday's dress rehearsal for the meticulously-choreographed ceremony in Ancient Olympia, southern Greece, where the Olympics of antiquity were held for more than 1,000 years.

The flame lit before the Temple of Hera will be kept as a backup, in case cloudy skies derail Thursday's ceremony, which will be attended by top International Olympic Committee officials and Rio organizers.