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Hopes for Better Weather at Olympia

INTERNATIONAL: The Olympic Flame for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be lit at an ancient ceremony on Monday afternoon in Greece and organisers are hoping for better weather. Cloudy and wet conditions put a damper on the final rehearsal at Olympia on Sunday, with a back-up flame eventually being used instead.

When the sun plays ball, the Olympic flame is usually lit by the sun's rays from a parabolic mirror and that’s the hope for Monday’s ceremony, but Sunday’s dress rehearsal was a miserable affair at the temple of Hera, with a reserve flame being used instead.

The actress playing the role of high priestess will say: "Light the sacred torch for the hospitable city of Beijing," on Monday, in a prayer to the Greek god Apollo. It will then be passed to the first torchbearer, Greek skiier Ioannis Antoniou.

This ancient site was the home of the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C and has been lighting the Olympic flame ever since the modern games were born in 1896. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Sunday’s rehearsal took place without spectators, as will the ceremony on Monday. There will be only a short torch relay in Olympia. The flame will then be handed to games organizers on Tuesday for the start of the traditional torch relay that will lead to Beijing and the opening of the Winter Games on 4 February.

PHOTO: ACTRESSES PLAYING PRIESTESSES BRINGING BACK-UP FLAME IN A BOWL TO TEMPLE OF HERA/HIGH PRIESTESS SAYING PRAYER TO APOLLO AND ZEUS AND LIGHTING TORCH FROM BACK-UP FLAME/PRIESTESSES PERFORMING CEREMONY/FIRST TORCHBEARER TAKING LIT TORCH/SOUNDBITE BY FIRST TORCHBEARER/MUSICIAN PLAYING ANCIENT LYRE AS PART OF CEREMONY 


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