Olympic flame traces ancient course in Marathon

March 30th, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by admin  

Athens, March 30 (Xinhua) The Olympics flame arrived at Marathon Sunday, tracing the ancient course marked by the Greece’s legend of Pheidippides. Niki Bakogiannu, the high jump silver medallist in the 1996 Atlanta Games, ran onto the shelf to ignite the cauldron at the starting point of ancient route left by Pheidippides in Marathon.

“This is my fifth time as a Olympic flame torchbearer. I was running in the Atlanta, Sydney, Athens Summer Games and the Turin Winter Games,” said Bakogianna, who lives in Thessaloniki and works as a coach.

“Each time it’s a different feeling. The more you participate in the flame relay, the better you love it,” he added.

The 39-year-old has two trainees Persa Hazinaga (female) and Nicos Giosis (male) who has best records in 1.91 meters and 2.22 meters respectively.

The name of the athletic long-distance endurance race, the “marathon”, comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been miraculously defeated in the Battle of Marathon.

It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping, but moments after proclaiming his message “Nenikekamen” (We were victorious) to the city he collapsed from exhaustion.

Greece’s national record holder of marathon, Maria Polxzou, was the first torchbearer who initiated the relay in ancient marathon route.

Polxzou’s best timing is 2 hours 33 minutes and 40 seconds in the classic marathon race, which placed her in 12th place in world championship.

Now Polxzou, 39, is an organizer of classic marathon race.

Marathon is an ancient Greek city-state, a contemporary town in Greece, and the site of the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, in which the heavily outnumbered Athenian army defeated the Persians.

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