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Celebrating youth and sport: Gangwon 2024 Torch Tour takes off

A symbolic flame was kindled today in Athens, Greece, signifying the beginning of an extraordinary journey. The flame, heralding the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024, commenced its three-month Torch Tour across the Republic of Korea.

Photo: Lato Klodian/Eurokinissi © 2023 - International Olympic Committee

The traditional lighting ceremony took place at the iconic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, attended by the Co-President of the Gangwon 2024 Organizing Committee, Jin Jong-oh, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member and President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos. 

The Youth Olympic flame was ignited in a time-honored fashion, using the sun’s rays focused through a parabolic mirror. It was then passed to the first torchbearer, Belli Maria, a 17-year-old cross-country skier and biathlete from Florina, Greece.

The torch relay featured Korean figure skater Kim Hyun-gyeom, 17, freestyle skier Yun Shin-ee, 16, and Greek Alpine skier Vougioukas Apostolos, 17, embodying the international spirit of the Youth Olympic Games.

The Youth Olympic flame is lit ahead of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 and begins its journey to the Republic of Korea. Photo: © 2023 – International Olympic Committee – All Rights Reserved

The Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Gangwon 2024, Hong Zhang, expressed excitement about the Torch Tour in a press release, stating, “This will be a special opportunity to spread the Olympic spirit throughout the host nation ahead of the YOG. As the Torch Tour begins its journey, we look forward to seeing the excitement build across the country as the countdown to Gangwon 2024 continues.”

Jin Jong-oh, Co-President of the Gangwon 2024 Organizing Committee, added, “The ‘Journey of Solidarity’ will engage and involve young people and inspire local communities while also nurturing the growth of our aspiring athletes.”

The flame will journey from Greece to the Republic of Korea, arriving in Seoul on October 8, where Gangwon 2024 Ambassadors and Youth Supporters will greet it. On October 11, a special celebration in Seoul City Hall Plaza will mark 100 days until the YOG, featuring K-pop stars and athletes sharing their enthusiasm.

The Torch Tour will visit 23 cities and counties nationwide, including Busan, Sejong, Jeju, and Gwanju. It will also explore renowned sites such as Mudeungsan National Park, the Sejong National Arboretum, and the stunning Seongsan Ilchulbong, also known as “Sunrise Peak.”

Starting November 7, the Torch Tour will visit 18 cities within Gangwon Province, the YOG’s host region. It aims to engage local youth by involving middle and high schools in each location.

The Torch Tour’s slogan, “Journey of Solidarity,” emphasizes its mission of uniting people to celebrate youth and the joy of sports. The tour includes cultural performances, Olympic values education activities, opportunities to meet Moongcho, the Gangwon 2024 mascot, and try out YOG sports.

The Torch Tour will culminate on January 19, 2024, at the Gangwon 2024 Opening Ceremony, where approximately 1,900 athletes from 81 National Olympic Committees will gather to celebrate the culmination of this extraordinary journey.

Also Read – FIS Autumn Meetings 2023: Setting the cross-country skiing stage for an exciting season ahead. 

Are you interested in traditional cross-country skiing? Click HERE and read more.

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