Olympic flame goes under water (video, photos)

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The Olympic flame went under water on the third day of the 100-day PyeongChang torch relay across South Korea.

The flame visited Jeju, the largest of more than 3,000 islands off the southern coast of South Korea.

The Haenyeo, female divers native to Jeju, carried the flame from water onto land. The robot device in the above video is called “Crabster.”

Arirang News has an English report on the torch relay here.

It will go from Jeju to the southeastern port of Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, and spend the rest of the trek on mainland South Korea.

It will visit Seoul closer to the end of the relay. It will culminate in PyeongChang on Feb. 9, with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.

The relay will include 7,500 torch bearers, visiting 17 cities and provinces.

The Olympic flame also went under water in 2000 in the Great Barrier Reef en route to Sydney and in 2013 in Lake Baikal en route to Sochi.

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Olympic flame under water

Olympic flame under water

PyeongChang gets Olympic flame ahead of 100-day relay

AP
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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Olympic flame was handed to organizers of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Tuesday, and it will now head off on a 100-day journey across South Korea before the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9.

PyeongChang organizing committee president Lee Hee-beom said the Games would be an Olympics of “peace and harmony,” despite tension between the host and its reclusive nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea.

Dressed as a high priestess, actress Katerina Lehou led the 90-minute ceremony in Athens at the Panathenian Stadium, a horseshoe-shaped marble venue where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

A cauldron was lit by Greek skier Ioannis Proios following performances by singers, dancers and acrobats from Greece and South Korea. The flame, placed in a lantern, was handed over to Greek Olympic Committee president Spyros Capralos, who passed it to Lee.

The South Korean leg of the relay will involve 7,500 torch-bearers and visit 17 cities and provinces across the country.

Preparations for the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games are being held amid escalating tension on the Korean peninsula following nuclear and missile tests by North Korea. Lee has promised the games will be safe, but he made no mention of the crisis in his remarks in Athens.

“We are ready to welcome the world to PyeongChang. The construction of competition and non-competition venues is already complete,” Lee said, moments before being handed a white-and-gold torch with the Olympic flame. “PyeongChang 2018 will be an Olympic Games of peace and harmony.”

South Korean organizers said two back-up paraffin lanterns were also being used on the flight from Athens to Incheon, South Korea, and were being escorted by three fire wardens.

Tuesday’s ceremony was held after the flame was lit in Ancient Olympia on Oct. 23. That was followed by a torch relay around Greece.

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Olympic flame lit in Olympia to start PyeongChang torch relay (video, photos)

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — The flame for the PyeongChang Olympics was lit at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics on Tuesday, despite a brief cloudburst that disrupted the sun-reliant ceremony.

It launched a long torch relay that will culminate with the Winter Games Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9.

Using fire kept from a rehearsal, an actress playing an ancient pagan priestess ignited the torch in front of the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera in the southern Greek Peloponnese region.

The full ceremony can be rewatched here.

She then passed the flame to the first relay runner, Greek skier Apostolos Angelis, who ran with it for a short distance before handing over to former Manchester United soccer player Park Ji-sung, a South Korean.

From the verdant, rain-soaked valley of Ancient Olympia, where the Games of antiquity were held for more than a thousand years, the flame will course through Greece for eight days and reach South Korea on Nov. 1.

Despite tensions between the U.S. and North Korea — with which the south remains technically at war — organizers insist there is no fear for the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games.

“We want the international community to understand that we are committed to hosting a safe and secure” Games, organizing committee chief Lee Hee-beom said during Tuesday’s lighting ceremony.

The ski resort town of PyeongChang lies about 50 miles south of the world’s most heavily armed border that divides the two Koreas.

The International Olympic Committee has also stressed that there is no cause for concern. IOC president Thomas Bach made no direct reference to the tensions Tuesday, only saying during his speech that the Games “stand above and beyond all the differences that divide us.”

Normally, the flame-lighting ceremony involves the priestess offering a token prayer to the dead pagan gods of Olympia — a major ancient Greek sanctuary — before using a bowl-shaped mirror to focus the heat of the sun’s rays on her torch.

But with rain forcing officials to huddle under umbrellas, there was no hope.

“Sorry for the rain,” Greek Olympic Committee chief Spyros Capralos joked.

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic cauldron unveiled

Greek Presidential guards march through the site at Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece ahead of the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Priestesses perform during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Participants perform during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
IOC President Thomas Bach speaks during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Actress Katerina Lehou, right, as high priestess, lights the torch during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Actress Katerina Lehou as high priestess, center, holds up the Olympic torch during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Actress Katerina Lehou as high priestess, right, lights the torch of bearer Greek cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Torch bearer Greek cross-country skier Apostolos Angelis, left, passes the flame to the South Korean former soccer player Park Ji-Sung during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The flame will be transported by torch relay to PyeongChang, South Korea, which will host the Feb. 9-25, 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)