ANCIENT OLYMPIA, GREECE: South Korea is ready to give the world great Winter Olympic Games in Feb 2018, said PyeongChang Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) President on Monday from ancient Olympia in western Greece, the birthplace of the games, China’s Xinhua news agency reported, told Bernama.
“We are ready to welcome the world,” he told a press briefing here after the dress rehearsal of the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame which will be burning for the PyeongChang Games was successfully held on the site which hosted the first Olympics 2,500 years ago.
All venues are complete and hosts are set to deliver successful games on Feb 9-25, he said.
PyeongChang Winter Olympic Organising Committee’s vision is opening new horizons, and cross-border cooperation to promote the ideals of the Games is essential, the South Korean delegation stressed.
As Beijing will host the next Winter Olympics in 2022, POCOG is already cooperating with Chinese officials to exchange know-how, Lee told Xinhua.
“Olympic Games is not only a sports event but also a cultural event and an event of technology. We can share our experience and steps, and we will work together to share experience,” he said.
“In terms of working together we are already working very closely together,” stressed the POCOG Executive Vice President Kim Jae-youl, adding that for the host countries, the games represent a great opportunity to develop winter sports.
Greek cross-country skier and biathlon athlete Apostolos Angelis who was chosen as the first torchbearer also expressed hope that more people will get inspired to take up sports and discover how they bring people closer.
Angelis has been a torchbearer in the past for the Sochi and the Vancouver Winter Olympics, but on Tuesday when the official flame lighting ceremony will be conducted at Olympia, it will be the first time he will lead the torch relay.
“The moment is unique. It is so different when you carry the Flame at your home,” he told after Monday\’s rehearsal inside the ancient stadium where he received the Flame from Greek actress Katerina Lehou playing the role of an ancient High Priestess.
Using the rays of the sun, Lehou lit the torch out of a parabolic mirror praying to the Gods to bring peace to the world and help the South Korean city host successful Games.
The torch relay across Greece will end when Greek organisers will pass the flame to the South Korean delegation in a handover ceremony at the Panathinaic Stadium in Athens on Oct 31.