The Olympic Flame will be lit in Olympia, Greece, to start the Tokyo Olympic torch relay on Thursday, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.
Coverage of the ceremony begins at 5:30 a.m. ET on TV and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.
The Olympic torch relay traditionally begins at the ancient Olympic site of Olympia several months before the Opening Ceremony (on July 24 this year). The lighting ceremony, first held for the 1936 Berlin Games, uses the sun’s rays and a concave mirror.
Via the Greek Olympic Committee: “According to the ritual, the High Priestess proceeds to the lighting at the Temple of Hera (Heraion) which is opposite to the Temple of Zeus, at the archaeological site of Olympia. There, the High Priestess, calls the God of Sun Apollo to light the torch, making a prayer.”
A Greek athlete is traditionally the first torchbearer. This year, it’s Rio Olympic shooting gold medalist Anna Korakaki, who will become the first woman to be the first torchbearer.
Japan’s 2004 Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi will be the second torchbearer, according to Tokyo 2020 officials.
The lighting ceremony will be held without spectators due to coronavirus concerns. It will be attended by 100 accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020.
The Olympic Flame will spend eight days in Greece before being flown to Japan for a 121-day trek through the country leading up to the Opening Ceremony cauldron lighting.
The Japanese part of the relay begins in the tsunami-affected prefecture of Fukushima, with the first torchbearers being members of the 2011 Women’s World Cup champion team.
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