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IOC calls for Olympic Truce as Flame lit in Ancient Olympia for Paris 2024

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Ancient Olympia (Greece), April 16 (IANS) International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and other IOC high officials called for world peace on Tuesday during the flame-lighting ceremony for the 2024 Paris Olympics in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

The Olympic Flame that will be burning for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games started its journey after being ignited at the birthplace of the Games in Ancient Olympia, on Tuesday during a traditional lighting ceremony.

Actress Mary Mina, in the role of an ancient Greek High Priestess, lit the torch at 12.16 p.m. (local time) before the 2,500-year-old Temple of Hera, a goddess in ancient Greek mythology. She prayed to the Gods to bring peace to the world and help the French city host a successful Games, reports Xinhua.

"Apollo, God of Sun and the idea of the Light, send your rays and light the sacred torch for the hospitable city of Paris, and you Zeus, give peace to all peoples on earth and wreath the winners of the Sacred Race," she said.

Due to cloudy skies, she used a backup flame instead of a concave mirror to light the torch. "In ancient times, the Olympic Games brought together the Greek city states, even - and in particular - during times of wars and conflict. Today, the Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in peaceful competition.

"Then as now, the Olympic athletes send this powerful message: yes, it is possible to compete fiercely against each other and at the same time live peacefully together under one roof," Bach said prior to the ritual of the lighting of the flame.

Spyros Capralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and an IOC member, also sent a strong anti-war message in his speech. "We are urging all nations to implement a truce," he said.

"From here we are sending an authentic message of world peace. We are calling on all warring sides to respect the Sacred Light and (Olympic) truce," Mayor of Ancient Olympia Aristidis Panagiotopoulos said.

The Olympic Truce is a tradition originating from Ancient Greece that dates back to 776 BC. A "truce" was announced before and during the Olympic Games to ensure the host city state (Elis) was not attacked and athletes and spectators could travel safely to the Games and peacefully return to their respective countries.

In 1992, the IOC renewed this tradition by calling upon all nations to observe the Truce during the modern Games. The Truce was revived by United Nations Resolution 48/11 of 25 October 1993, as well as by the United Nations Millennium Declaration relating to world peace and security.

"The Olympic Flame disseminates the eternal values of peace and solidarity," Tony Estanguet, president of the Organizing Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said in delivering an address.

During Tuesday's ceremony, the High Priestess lit the first Olympic torch of the Games and passed it, along with an olive branch, to the first torchbearer, Greek rowing gold medalist Stefanos Ntouskos. In parallel a dancer released a white pigeon to spread the Olympic ideals of friendship and peace to the world as the flame's journey started.

"We wish for Olympic Truce and the prevalence of peace across the world," Artemis Ignatiou, the choreographer of the lighting and handover ceremonies, told Xinhua.



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