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Greece Seeks to Permanently Host the IOC Presidential Vote

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The flame lighting ceremony at the Ancient Olympia archeological site. File Photo. Credit: AMNA

Greece wants to permanently host the election of new International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidents in ancient Olympia, the Greek Olympics chief said in an interview Monday.

“My dream is to have this election in ancient Olympia, to remind everybody where the Games started, 2,800 years ago,” Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos told AFP.

“Every eight or 12 years to organize the election of the IOC president in Ancient Olympia, this is something that is feasible.

“I think that overall it would give positive vibes to everybody in the Olympic movement,” he said.

Greece is scheduled to host the next IOC presidential election in March 2025, when the term of IOC President Thomas Bach ends.

However, Bach has signaled that he may extend his tenure until 2029. He explained that his IOC colleagues wanted him to stay on, as they did not want an election campaign disrupting the preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

He added that many members also wanted to “express their recognition for the work accomplished by the IOC in the last 10 years.”

Ancient Olympia to host flame-lighting ceremony for Paris 2024

Under Olympic tradition, on April 16th, ancient Olympia will also host the flame-lighting ceremony for the torch relay of the Paris 2024 Games.

Its history begins in 1936 on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Berlin. With the help of a concave mirror, as the ritual defines, the lighting is performed by the High Priestess in the Temple of Hera (Heraion) at the archaeological site of Olympia. There, the priestess asks for the help of the sun god Apollo to light the torch as she makes the invocation.

The lighting ceremony will be followed by an eleven-day torch relay in Greece to the Panathenaic Stadium on April 26th, where the flame will be handed over to Paris organizers.

At the ceremony, Nana Mouskouri, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, will be invited to perform, Capralos told AFP.

“We hope in the handover ceremony that Nana Mouskouri will be able and will come to sing the national anthems,” he said.

“That would be a very special moment because Nana Mouskouri is somebody very well-respected and very well-known in France and Greece, but also all around Europe and the world,” Capralos added. Mouskouri, who has sold more than 350 million albums globally, turns ninety in October.

The Olympic Flame for the 2024 Paris Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille, a former Greek colony founded 2,600 years ago.

The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolizes the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city.

For Paris 2024, the flame will be taken through all the regions of France as part of an epic relay that will pass through iconic locations, creating moments for people to come together and celebrate the event throughout the country.

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