Nikosia – Das Olympische Feuer ist auf der Mittelmeerinsel Zypern eingetroffen. Die Sondermaschine mit der Fackel landete auf dem Flughafen der westzyprischen Hafenstadt Paphos.
Am Fackellauf auf der Insel werden 146 Läufer teilnehmen. Zypern ist das 33. und letzte Land, das die olympische Flamme besucht, ehe sie nach Griechenland zurückkehrt.
Am 9. Juli wird das Olympische Feuer in Kreta für den letzten Teil seiner Reise im Gastgeberland der Spiele erwartet. Der Fackellauf endet am 13. August bei der Eröffnungsfeier im Olympiastadion von Athen.
Das Olympische Feuer ist auf der Mittelmeerinsel Kreta eingetroffen und damit ins Gastgeberland der 28. Olympischen Spiele zurückgekehrt.
Die Sondermaschine mit der Fackel landete kurz nach 18.30 Uhr Ortszeit auf dem Flughafen der kretischen Hafenstadt Irákleion. Das letzte Stück des bislang längsten Fackellaufs in der olympischen Geschichte wird durch ganz Griechenland führen.
Zuvor war das am 25. März im Heiligen Hain von Olympia entfachte Feuer durch alle Kontinente getragen worden. Darunter auch erstmals nach Afrika (Kapstadt) und Südamerika (Rio de Janeiro). Der Fackellauf wird am 13. August im Athener Olympiastadion «Spyrídon Loúis» enden.
Hier ein Bericht über die Feierlichkeiten rund um die Fackel im Süden Kretas:
ATHOC Athens Olympics: The Olympic Flame in South Crete
It was like a national holiday in South Crete on Sunday. Torchbearers were running on hot road pavement, welcomed in towns decorated with flags. Ierapetra was like a town waiting for a parade to march through. Cars left the main streets before the Torch Relay began and people gathered to cheer the local youth who would run with the Olympic Torch. The young people selected as Torchbearers in Ierapetra had distinguished themselves in Athletics, or had been involved in sports for years.
Marina Varsamidou, a former track athlete, raised the Torch and set alight the Olympic Altar at the centre of the great ceremony, upholding the tradition that would send a message of peace. Mrs Varsamidou had participated in the Olympic 4×100 relay team and this was the second time she had run with the Olympic Flame: “I also ran in 1996 in Athens, but it’s different when you light the Altar in the place where you grew up. It is a great honour. I am overjoyed…”. “Touched by our hot sun, by the blessed soil of Ierapetran earth, the Flame reveals to all the ideals of Olympism”, the Mayor of Ierapetra, Nikos Christofakis was declaring beside her. Nikos Tamporatzis, a 14-year-old student, vented his feelings of happiness from the unique experience: “I won’t relive such moments. I wish there is peace for all the children of the world”. Gianna Kirmitzoglou, a pensioner, waited to run under the hot sun, not bothered by the high temperature: “It is a dream for me. I hope the rest of the world shares it with me”.
Traditional dances and songs bid the Flame farewell as it left for Pyrgos. There, five pigeons, one for each continent, were released to carry the Flame’s symbolism to the world. The Heraklio municipal philharmonic were playing when 52-year-old Yiannis Epitropakis, a migrant to Germany, lit the Altar. “I came from Germany to take part in the Torch Relay, wanting to show all Cretans of the diaspora that we serve the ideals of Olympism with respect for differences in cultures”. The town’s Mayor, Manolis Epitropakis, did not hide his optimism for the success of the Games: “We also saw it in the national football team’s progress. We can achieve spectacular results with faith and persistence”.
The Olympic Flame mission spent the night in Agia Galini, their last stop in the south of Crete. While it was still early, the streets were filled with the sound of mantinades, their music reaching the unveiling of the statues of Daedalus and Icarus, who, according to legend, had set off on their flight from Agia Galini. “Let us keep in our souls the Flame and what it symbolises, described in a common language all mankind can understand”, declared Mayor Yiannis Tatarakis. A football player with the local team, Giorgos Fragakis, lit the Altar, and Manolis Lidakis, who participated in the cultural events as a Volunteer, sang as the ceremony came to a close. “It is an opportunity to become aware of the fact that we should not only be proud because we are descended from ancient Greece. It is time to take action and show what it means to be Greek. I thank the ATHENS 2004 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games for the honour they bestowed on me…” he said.
The ATHENS 2004 Torch Relay Manager, Penny Mikelopoulou, noted how the Olympic Flame is uniting the world in a great chain of brotherhood and solidarity. “The Flame is being carried in the hands of Cretans and it is casting its light on their bravery and their pride…”.
The Olympic Flame will make its way to Hania on Monday, stopping at Spili, Rethymno, where a welcoming ceremony has been scheduled, and towards the tombs of the Venizelos family. The overnight ceremony will take place at the Hania Fortress.
The Torch will change hands 174 times and the Torchbearers will travel a distance of 54.7 kilometres during the course of the day.
The Olympic Flame continued on its journey around Crete on Monday, starting from Spili at 9:45 a.m. and covering a total of 134 kilometres. After Spili the Olympic Flame was carried to Rethymno, passing through many villages, with a stop at the Tombs of the Venizelos family before reaching Chania, the last city in Crete hosting the Flame.
Various events were held at the Firka fortress, ending with a concert by Manolis Lidakis. On Tuesday, the Olympic Flame will travel to the Dodecanese.
ATHENS, July 12 – The Olympic Flame reached its last stop, Chania in the Create, Greece through Spili and Rethymno in the prefecture of Rethymno, covering 134 kilometres with 174 torchbearers on Monday.
Despite the high temperatures, the Flame was greeted by thousands of residents who took to the streets to cheer and to participate in the events.
A ceremony was held in the morning at Spili, which greeted the Flame from Agia Galini, where the Flame stayed overnight. Mayor Yiannis Tatarakis said: "Our land is small, but its tradition is enormous." Spili has fifteen torchbearers running with the Flame and student Emanuella Sapountzi lit the Altar.
Then the Flame left for Rethymno where a welcoming ceremony was held with regional dances and songs. Afterwards, the procession headed for the Tombs of the Venizelos family and stopped at Chania,the last city in Crete. The Municipal band welcomed the Flame and events were held at the Firka fortress, ended by Manolis Lidakis’s concert. Doctor Stylianos Kalogerakis had the honor to light the Altar.
Tomorrow the Flame will make its way through Karpathos, Kalymnos, Kos, Kastelorizo and Rhodes in the prefecture of Dodecanese.