For the first time in history, a female athlete has been chosen to kick-off the torch relay for this year’s Olympic Games. The Greek Olympic committee on Thursday, announced that they had picked Anna Korakaki, the shooter who won gold in the Rio Olympics four years ago, to be the first woman torchbearer of the competition following the flame-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on March 12. The Olympia is regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Olympics games.
The flame-lighting ceremony which is being carefully choreographed, will see Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou posing as the ancient Greek High Priestess, who will light the flame using a bowl-shaped mirror to focus the heat of the sun’s rays on her torch. She will then pass it on to Korakaki, which will be an iconic moment in the history of the tournament.
The torch relay will then begin its tour of Greece which is scheduled for a week, before the flame is presented to the organizing members of the Tokyo Games at a ceremony in Athens. Significantly, the final torchbearer of this summer’s Olympics will also be a woman; Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi, who won the pole vault gold medal at Rio has been given this prestigious task.
In an interview, the president of Greece’s national Olympic committee, Spyros Capralos said that both Korakaki and Stefanidi’s selection was a “historic” moment.
In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Anna Korakaki bagged a gold and a bronze medal in the 25m pistol and 10m air pistol event respectively and was also named the world champion in 2018. One of the most prolific athletes of her generation, Korakaki at the tender age of 20, became the first Greek woman to win two Olympic medals in the same competition.
Meanwhile, pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi also won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games with a superb leap of 4.85 meters. She is the current World Outdoor (2017), European Outdoor (2018), Diamond League (2018) champion, and has won a total of ten medals in all five major international athletics championships.
You may also like: