Photo Courtesy of Yahoo Sports Canada
In the midst of one of the darkest era in the modern history of ancient Greece, a guiding light to remind the people of what is great about their country was lit on Thursday morning, as the London 2012 Olympic torch relay began. The flame was ignited from a sun-powered source at the 2600-year-old Temple of Hera in Athens by actress Ino Menegak, portraying a high-priestess in an elaborate, choreographed ceremony.
The first bearers of the torch signified the unity between Greece and the United Kingdom hosts of the Olympics, as the Liverpool native Spyros Gianniotis, who represents Greece as a sporting citizen, received the torch for its first leg.
Gianniotis is an open water superstar, and by way of winning the World Championship in last year’s Olympic 10km swim is the defacto favorite at the London Games; this is his 4th-straight Olympic Games representing Greece.
The torch will now make its way to the United Kingdom, where on May 18th it will begin at the main-island’s southernmost point at Land’s End. In order to avoid the protests that plagued past torch runs, the flame will remain in the UK, aside from a one-day stop through Dublin, for the duration until it is used to light the main cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on July 27th.