The flame for the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria was lit Saturday in Athens – the first time in modern Olympic history the flame has been lit for three Olympic events taking place in the same city.
The Youth Olympic flame was lit by the sun’s rays reflected in a parabolic mirror, with a priestess from the Temple of Hera passing on the torch in Athens’ ancient Panathinaiko Stadium to the first relay runner, following Olympic tradition.
Among those attended the ceremony were International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, and Innsbruck 2012 CEO Peter Bayer.
Rogge said at the ceremony, “the flame and relay symbolise the values and ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic Movement. They embody excellence, friendship and respect and they are the spark that will ignite the passion and magic of the first Winter Youth Olympic Games”.
The flame will travel from Greece to Austria, where the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Torch relay will make its way across the country from December 27 to January 13, 2012, the date of the Opening Ceremony.
It will be carried by 2,012 torchbearers in 18 days around Austria, including a stop in the capital city, Vienna, for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.