On 29 September 2013 the Olympic Flame was lit in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games.
Traditionally, the Olympic Torch Relay commences in Ancient Olympia, Greece, where, historically, the Olympic Flame was lit on the eve of the ancient Olympic Games.
As part of the Ceremony, a theatrical performance took place in the ruins of the ancient Temple of Hera. During the performance, priestesses asked the Gods for permission to light the flame.
The Olympic Torch is always lit using the sun’s rays, reflected on a large parabolic mirror which is used to symbolize the approval of the Gods to host the Olympic Games. If the weather is cloudy, the Flame is lit using the Flame obtained during the Ceremony rehearsal conducted the day before.
The renowned Greek actress, Ino Menegaki, the third time played the role of the High Priestess and asked the Greek God Apollo to send the sun's rays to earth to light the Flame, and Zeus to crown the winners of the Games with laurel wreaths. The Priestess then lit the Olympic torch from the sun’s rays and passed the torch, and an olive branch signifying peace, to the first Relay torchbearer, the Greek alpine skier Giannis Antoniou. The Olympic Flame then was passed to one of the most celebrated Russian athletes, the ice hockey player Alexander Ovechkin. He became the first Russian torchbearer of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay.
Learn more on the Torch Relay website!