Anna Korakaki to be First Woman Ever to Launch Olympic Games Torch Relay



For the very first time, a woman has been chosen to launch the torch relay for the 2020 Tokyo Games at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece.

Greece’s Olympic committee said Thursday it had chosen Rio de Janeiro shooting gold medalist Anna Korakaki as the first torchbearer following the flame-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on March 12, 2020.

The carefully-choreographed ceremony is led by an actress portraying an ancient Greek priestess who lights the flame using a bowl-shaped mirror to focus the heat of the sun’s rays on her torch. She will then pass it on to Korakaki.

The Greek Olympian said in an Instagram post that she was “extremely honored and moved” since, for the first time in history, “a woman carries the Olympic Torch from Ancient Olympia, where its journey around the world begins, till it reaches the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on July 24th for the XXII Olympiad!”

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O αθλητισμός συνεχίζει να μου χαρίζει τόσο μεγάλες συγκινήσεις! Σήμερα, μου ανακοινώθηκε επίσημα πως στις 12 Μαρτίου θα είμαι η πρώτη λαμπαδηδρόμος στην τελετή αφής της Ολυμπιακής Φλόγας για τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες «Τόκιο 2020». Μία εβδομάδα αργότερα, η @stefanidi_katerina θα είναι η τελευταία λαμπαδηδρόμος που παραδίδει τη Φλόγα. Ευχαριστώ την Ολομέλεια της Ελληνικής Ολυμπιακής Επιτροπής για την τεράστια τιμή, διότι για πρώτη φορά στην ιστορία, μία γυναίκα στη χώρα μας θα μεταφέρει πρώτη το Ολυμπιακό Φως από την Αρχαία Ολυμπία, πριν ξεκινήσει το μεγάλο του ταξίδι σε όλο τον κόσμο, για να φωτίσει στο Ολυμπιακό στάδιο και την έναρξη των ΧXII Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων στο Τόκιο!🕊 / Extremely honoured, extremely moved! Today the @hellenic_olympic_committee announced I will have the honor to be the first torchbearer for @tokyo2020 Olympics on March 12! A week later, @stefanidi_katerina will deliver the torch as the last torchbearer. What a GREAT HONOR that is, since it's the first time in history a woman carries the Olympic Torch from Ancient Olympia, where its journey around the world begins, till it reaches the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on July 24th for the XXII Olympiad!✨ #thankful #olympictorch #torch #olympics #greece #tokyo2020

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The torch relay will course through Greece for a week before the flame is handed over to the the Tokyo organization’s officials at a ceremony in Athens. The very last torchbearer carrying the 2020 Summer Olympic flame will also be a woman — Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi, who won the pole vault gold medal in Rio.

Greece’s national Olympic committee President Spyros Capralos said the selection of Korakaki was a “historic” moment.