The traditional lighting ceremony for the Youth Olympic flame was held in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. Co-President of the Gangwon 2024 Organising Committee Jin Jong-oh and IOC Member and President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos attended.
Following Olympic tradition, the Youth Olympic flame was lit by the sun’s rays reflected in a parabolic mirror, with a priestess from the Temple of Hera then passing on the flame to the first torchbearer, Belli Maria – a 17-year-old cross-country skier and biathlete from Florina, Greece.
Korean figure skater Kim Hyun-gyeom, 17, and freestyle skier Yun Shin-ee, 16, also participated in the relay segment, alongside Greek Alpine skier Vougioukas Apostolos, 17.
IOC Member Hong Zhang, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Gangwon 2024, said: “We are very excited for the Gangwon 2024 Torch Tour. This will be a special opportunity to spread the Olympic spirit throughout the host nation ahead of the YOG, and is sure to bring back happy memories of the Olympic flame’s journey across the Republic of Korea ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. As the Torch Tour begins its journey, we look forward to seeing the excitement build across the country as the countdown to Gangwon 2024 continues”.
Gangwon 2024 Organising Committee Co-President Jin Jong-oh expressed his excitement, saying: “While the flame we light together today is just the beginning, it will come to symbolise friendship, excellence and respect as it travels throughout the Republic of Korea. We take immense pride in the fact that the 'Journey of Solidarity' will engage and involve young people and inspire local communities, while also nurturing the growth of our aspiring athletes”.The flame will now be travelling from Greece to the Republic of Korea, where it will arrive in Seoul on 8 October and be welcomed to the host nation by Gangwon 2024 Ambassadors and Youth Supporters.
On 11 October, a special celebration will be held in Seoul City Hall Plaza, marking 100 days to go to the YOG. The ceremony will see K-pop stars, who are yet to be announced, take to the stage to entertain fans, while athletes will also be in attendance to share their enthusiasm ahead of the YOG.
The Gangwon 2024 Torch Tour will then visit 23 cities and counties nationwide before reaching Gangwon Province.
Major metropolitan cities such as Busan, Sejong, Jeju and Gwanju will be included on the Torch Tour, which will also take in renowned sites around the country such as Mudeungsan National Park, the Sejong National Arboretum and the stunning Seongsan Ilchulbong, also known as “Sunrise Peak”.
The Torch Tour will, from 7 November, visit 18 cities within Gangwon, the host province of the YOG. It will be starting in Sokcho and pass through Goseong, Cheorwon, Samcheok, PyeongChang and Gangneung. The Youth Olympic flame will be welcomed by middle and high schools in each location to help further engage local youth.
As well as giving people across the country the unique opportunity to view the Youth Olympic flame, the Torch Tour aims to help build excitement ahead of the YOG, while also promoting the Olympic values and the importance of sport to young people throughout the country.
To celebrate these efforts, the Torch Tour’s slogan is “Journey of Solidarity”, underlining its goal of bringing people together to celebrate youth and the joy of sport.
In addition to the array of cultural performances and Olympic values education activities that are set to be held in each location, fans and local residents will also have the chance to meet Moongcho, the Gangwon 2024 mascot, and try out some of the sports on the YOG programme.
The Torch Tour will conclude on 19 January 2024, when the Youth Olympic flame reaches the Gangwon 2024 Opening Ceremony.
Approximately 1,900 athletes from around 81 National Olympic Committees are expected to take part in the YOG, which will come to a close on 1 February 2024.