Tokyo Olympic flame lit amid uncertainty over virus pandemic | Daily News


Tokyo Olympic flame lit amid uncertainty over virus pandemic

The flame for this summer's Tokyo Olympics was lit Thursday in ancient Olympia, Greece, without spectators present as the global spread of the new coronavirus has cast doubt over whether the quadrennial sporting event will go ahead as scheduled.

The lighting ceremony, marking the start of a torch relay that will end with the opening ceremony on July 24 in the Japanese capital, was held in the presence of a limited number of delegations, officials and journalists, a day after the World Health Organization labeled the outbreak of the virus a "pandemic."

The virus that broke out in China late last year has since spread to more than 100 countries, with some health experts now saying that the impact on the games from the WHO's designation would inevitably be adverse.

The virus has prompted organizers not only to scale down the traditional ceremony, allowing as few as 100 Olympic representatives to participate, but also many other festivities leading up to the Summer Games.

As concerns mount over Olympic preparations, Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou, dressed as a high priestess, ignited the flame using the sun's rays and a parabolic mirror at the Temple of Hera.

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said Olympic organizers are committed to the "success" of the games, despite "difficult circumstances."

(Source: mainichi)

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