ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay Dates Within Greece Announced
The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games ATHENS 2004 yesterday announced the dates for the Olympic Torch Relay in Greece.
The Olympic Flame will pass through its 174 destinations on the Greek leg of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.
The selection procedure and criteria for Torchbearers and Escorts were also announced. They will give all residents in Greece the chance to participate in the Torch Relay route as torchbearers (if aged at least 14) or escorts (if aged at least 16). The first truly global Torch Relay in the history of the Olympic Games will allow all Greeks to experience the thrill of taking part in the kick-off for the Olympic Games with the motto 'Pass the flame, unite the World'.
For the first leg of the Greek route - for which the Hellenic Olympic Committee is responsible - the Olympic Flame will cross part of the Peloponnese and the islands of the Saronic Gulf, taking seven days. Its final destination will be the Panathinaiko Stadium, the place where the Modern Olympic Games of 1896 were revived. It will remain there until 4 June. Then it will set off for its first global journey in the history of the Games, visiting 33 cities on all five continents in 35 days, before returning to Greece, the country hosting the Olympic Games of 2004.
The Torch will then return to Greece on 9 July, to Heraklio in Crete. From there it will begin the second leg of the Greek route - a journey of 43 days. It will light up 54 prefectures in Greece with a total of 174 destinations, among them 32 islands and 24 archaeological and historical sites. In Greece there will be more than 680 crossing points, 41 overnight stays and 133 Passage Ceremonies. The Olympic Flame will be transmitted by 7,700 torchbearers with their 1500 escorts. It will cover a total of 5,300 km on Greek soil - 2,500 km on foot and 2,800 km by car, while 1,300 km will also be covered by helicopter.
On each day of the route the Torch will travel for 10 to 12 hours with stops of 15 to 30 minutes. In the Prefecture cities there will be a stop of one hour with a Protocol Ceremony and a programme of cultural events. The Torch will be lit at each ceremony and also at the 41 Overnight Ceremonies, where cultural events will be held after the protocol has been completed, with volunteer artists taking part. Attendance will be free to the public.
With only 211 days left to the official opening of the 2004 Olympic Games on Friday 13 August, the eyes of the sports' world focus increasingly on Athens.