Flame for Beijing Olympics lit in Olympia

March 24th, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by admin  

Athens, March 24 (DPA) The Beijing 2008 Olympic torch was lit by the sun’s rays in ancient Olympia Monday, marking the start of a five-month international torch relay that will end with the opening of the 29th Games on Aug 8. Despite an overcast sky at the ancient archaeological site, a high priestess, played by Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou, lit the torch in front of the Temple of Hera.

Prior to the flame lighting ceremony, two pro-Tibet demonstrators ran onto the field of the stadium at ancient Olympia carrying black flags during the speech of the President of the Beijing Olympic Committee Liu Qi.

The men were quickly detained by police.

Greek athlete Alexandros Nikolaidis, an Athens 2004 Games taekwondo silver medalist, will be the first torchbearer, starting a six-day relay throughout Greece before the flame is handed over to Chinese Olympic officials on March 30 at the Kalimarmaro Stadium in Athens.

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