Pyeongchang receives Olympic flame for 2018 Winter Games
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[October 31, 2017]
ATHENS (Reuters) - The flame
that will burn during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was
handed over to organizers in Athens on Tuesday in the marble stadium
that hosted the first modern Games in 1896.
After a week-long journey across Greece and an overnight stay on the
Acropolis hill, the flame that was lit in Ancient Olympia,
birthplace of the Olympics, was carried into the Panathenaic Stadium
by Korean Olympic speed skating medalist Kim Ki-hoon.
The crowd erupted into cheers as Greek skiing champion Ioannis
Proios lit the golden cauldron surrounded by priestesses in long
"We are ready to welcome the world to PyeonChang," Games chief Lee
Hee-beom said. "PyeongChang 2018 will be Olympic Games of peace and
The Games take place from Feb. 9-25 in the mountainous resort town
of Pyeongchang, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the heavily fortified
border with North Korea.
The run-up has been overshadowed by an escalating crisis triggered
by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, but organizers
have said the Games will be safe.
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Greek actress Katerina Lehou during the handover ceremony
South Korea staged the 1988 Summer Olympics and co-hosted the 2002
soccer World Cup with Japan and both events were marred by instances
of aggression by North Korea.
Following Tuesday's handover in Athens, the flame will be flown in
special safety lanterns to Switzerland for a ceremony at the United
Nations in Geneva.
It is due to arrive in South Korea on Nov. 1 for a 2,018km relay
before reaching PyeongChang for the opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
Greece hosted the Summer Olympics in 2004.
(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris, editing by Ed Osmond)
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