Olympic flame

Olympic torch

Olympic flame-lighting still set to proceed March 12

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Next week’s flame-lighting ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in Greece despite concerns about the virus outbreak, organizers said Tuesday.

The Greek Olympic committee said it is working closely with national health authorities and will hold meetings to re-evaluate the situation every two days. The committee, known as the HOC, also said the Greek leg of the torch relay will go ahead.

Greece has recorded seven cases of the virus, all linked with people who traveled from Italy.

The Olympic flame is ceremonially lit months in advance of the games at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece, among the ruined pagan temples of Ancient Olympia. From there, it is carried in a week-long relay through Greece before being handed over to games organizers.

The HOC said it would not allow spectators at the final rehearsal on March 11, the eve of the ceremony. It added that it would “reduce significantly” the number of accreditations.

The HOC is also canceling lunches, dinners and receptions scheduled during the lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia, and will recommend to local authorities to cut down on planned public events.

The flame will be handed over to Tokyo organizing officials on March 19.

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Olympic flame meets Christ the Redeemer statue

Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images
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Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmark met with one of the most iconic symbols in the world on Friday.

The Olympic flame arrived at the Christ the Redeemer statue early this morning, carried by a 56-year-old Brazilian medalist.

The flame will make its way to Friday night’s Opening Ceremony, having started its journey in Greece on April 21.

From the Associated Press:

Brazil Olympian Isabel Barroso Salgado was emotional as she stood beneath the 125-foot statue (38 meters, 30 centimeters), holding the torch straight above her head with both arms outstretched.

The volleyball medalist from Brazil then received a blessing as cameras snapped all around.

Man tries and fails to put out Olympic flame with extinguisher (video)

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The Olympic torch is making its way toward Rio, and it survived another attempt from a bystander to put out the flame.

It wound through the city of Joinville on Wednesday, where a man emerged from the crowd with a fire extinguisher. He attempted to put out the flame, but failed before getting tackled to the ground by security.

Here’s the video, discovered by SwimSwam.com:

This comes a couple weeks after a man was arrested in Maracaju for trying to douse the flame with a bucket of water.

Controversy has surrounded the torch relay, as well. Last month, a jaguar involved an event was shot dead after it escaped. And in May, a wheelchair basketball player’s disability was questioned after he fell out of his chair before passing the torch along to the next carrier.

Summer Sanders, the four-time Olympic swimming medalist, ran with the flame on Thursday. No incidents were reported.

MORE: Jaguar shot dead after Olympic torch relay event