The journey of the Olympic flame to PyeongChang 2018 begins!

The flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia heralds the start of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay

PyeongChang, October 24 – The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 sparked into life today at the Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame in Ancient Olympia, Greece. The host nation of the upcoming Games was well represented by Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea LEE Nak-yon, PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee President LEE Hee-beom and global soccer star Park Ji-Sung – who was given the honour of being the first Korean torchbearer.

Following the official ceremony in the Temple of Hera with the High Priestess, the Olympic flame began its eight-day journey around Greece today with Apostolos Angelis – the 24 year-old Greek cross-country skier who has secured his place at next year’s Games – leading the way as the first torchbearer. He was followed by the first Korean to carry the flame – PyeongChang 2018 Ambassador PARK Ji-Sung.

President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee, LEE Hee-beom said, “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. We have dreamt of this moment for many years and now it is real. In 108 days the Olympic Winter Games will begin in PyeongChang and 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.”

Also taking part in the ceremony were the IOC President, Thomas Bach, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos, Mayor of Olympia Thymios Kotzas and President of Greece Prokopios Pavlopoulos. They were joined by the leaders of the National Olympic Committees of the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, France and the United States of America.

Speaking at the lighting ceremony, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, said, “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.” What better expression of this faith in the future, than the presence of the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, together with the Presidents of the National Olympic Committees of the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, France, and the United States of America. Together, they represent the future hosts of Olympic Games, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.” He continued, “Today’s ceremony marks the beginning of the celebration of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.”

PyeongChang 2018 Ambassador and global soccer star PARK Ji-sung said, “I was appointed as the Games ambassador in August which was a huge honour for me. To then be selected as the first Korean Torchbearer here in Olympia is an amazing experience and something I will never forget.

“I am excited to see how the local communities celebrate the Olympic Torch Relay and the torchbearers. Today has been amazing for me and the 7,500 torchbearers in Korea are going to have an unforgettable experience too.

“I hope that the PyeongChang 2018 Games will shine a light on Korea, our culture, our people, our wonderful facilities and scenery.”

‘Let Everyone Shine’ is the motto of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay and serves as an opportunity for people to engage, bringing excitement and creating a nationwide Olympic atmosphere. It also introduces Korea’s rich culture and various tourist attractions along the Torch Relay route, making them part of the Olympic legacy.

The flame will be transported to Korea by Korean Air following the handover ceremony in Athens on October 31 and will arrive at Incheon Airport on November 1 which coincides with the 100 days to go milestone. The relay across the Republic of Korea will involve 7,500 torchbearers and 2,018 support runners across its 2018 km journey to the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9.

Supporting the Olympic Torch Relay on its entire journey are the presenting partners of Coca-Cola, Samsung and KT. Along the route they will be adding music, entertainment and a real Olympic party-feel to this celebration of Olympic values, peace and passion for the PyeongChang 2018 Games.

For your chance to be part of the 16-day celebration of festivity and harmony, go to https://tickets.pyeongchang2018.com/ and get your tickets now.