Olympic Flame Lit Ahead of Rio 2016 Games

Posted: Apr 21, 2016 7:30 PM
Olympic Flame Lit Ahead of Rio 2016 Games

The Olympic flame has been lit and the torch relay has begun ahead of the Summer Olympic Games this August in Rio. The flame will travel around Greece, including through a refugee camp, before being handed off to Rio officials in Athens. The flame will arrive in Brazil in early May, and there will be a 95-day long tour through 329 cities prior to the opening ceremonies of the Olympiad on August 5.

On Aug. 5, the flame will arrive in Rio where the final torchbearer – always a closely guarded secret – will ignite the cauldron in a manner that is also top-secret for the first Olympic Games in South America.

But first, the flame will spend a week traveling around Greece, including a dash across the aptly named Rio-Antirrio Bridge and a pass through a refugee camp. On April 27, the flame, which is always accompanied by a backup, will be handed over to Rio organizers in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the modern Games began in 1896.

The torch relay will then proceed to Switzerland to United Nations headquarters in Geneva and the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. On May 3, the flame will arrive in Brazil where the torch relay will go through 329 cities and towns in 95 days. More than 12,000 torchbearers will have the honor of carrying the flame, usually on short stints.

The Rio Olympics have not been without controversy. There have been serious issues with corruption, the construction of the stadiums, and the Zika virus.