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State-controlled Chinese media never mention of it > protests at Olympic Torch Ceremony March 26, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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State-controlled Chinese media made no mention of it after a protester evaded security and ran up behind Beijing Olympic organizing committee President Liu Qi as he was giving his speech during Monday’s Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

25-03-08_olympics1.jpg  The image and the report of the protester unfurling a black banner, the Olympic rings replaced by handcuffs, appeared around the world in newspapers, on Web sites and on television broadcasts. But not in China.

25-03-08_olympics2.jpg  After the torch left the Ancient Olympia Stadium, a Tibetan woman covered in red paint or dye lay in the road approaching the town of Olympia while other protesters chanted “Free Tibet” and “Shame on China.”

Greek Police said the woman and the three members of Reporters Without Borders were detained. One of the men arrested was Robert Menard, the group’s general secretary. The three Frenchmen were charged with the misdemeanor count of offending national symbols. They were released pending trial in late May, and said they hoped to return to France on Tuesday.

25-03-08_olympics3.jpg  When the incident took place China state-run TV cut away just before the protests on Monday and showed a prerecorded scene, preventing Chinese viewers from seeing the incident. Chinese TV commentators never mentioned the incident. The TV coverage was broadcast with a slight delay, allowing censors to intervene.

Three men advocating press freedom evaded security and ran onto the field and were seized by police. Watch the videos.

Video > http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=78703

Video > http://video.news.sky.com/skynews/video/?&videoSourceID=1310413&flashURL=/feeds/skynews/latest/flash/olympicsjoshi_p4199.flv

Video > http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid959009704?bclid=1350269312&bctid=1472339944

Olympic Flame Ceremony Rehearsal in Ancient Olympia March 23, 2008

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The final rehearsal for the Olympic Flame Lighting ritual of the Beijing Games was held today in Olympia, the Greek city where the Ancient Olympics were born in 776 BC.

23-03-08_rehearsal1.jpg  Hazy skies that persisted to the last minute prevented organisers from lighting the Games’ sacred flame through use of a polished mirror. A flame lit during a prior rehearsal yesterday was used instead.

23-03-08_rehearsal2.jpg  Actresses dressed as ancient Greek priestesses performed a choreographed ceremony which for the first time included six young boys acting out racing, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus throw events from the ancient pentathlon.

23-03-08_rehearsal3.jpg  Head priestess Maria Nafpliotou then lit the Beijing Games torch carried by the first relay runner, Greek taekwondo athlete Alexandros Nikolaidis, a silver medallist in the Athens 2004 Games.  The official ceremony will be held tomorrow, Monday 24 March.

23-03-08_rehearsal4.jpg  In case of heavy rain at the scheduled time, there are contingencies for the ceremony to take place indoors at the site’s Archeological Museum. Only once have we had rain for the summer Olympics, in 1956 ahead of the Games in Melbourne. 

23-03-08_rehearsal5.jpg  Concern over protests in Olympia against the 57-year occupation of Tibet by China, and last week’s crackdown in the Himalayan province by Chinese forces, has also introduced unprecedented security to this year’s ceremony. Hotels in Olympia are opening their guest lists to police inspection, officers are patrolling the hills around the ancient stadium where the ritual is held and there are plans to prevent spectators from lining the relay route.

23-03-08_rehearsal6.jpg  Thousands of people are expected to attend tomorrow’s ceremony, including 2500 accredited journalists and dignitaries, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, Beijing Olympic organising committee chairman Liu Qi, and the President and Prime Minister of Greece. 

23-03-08_rehearsal7.jpg  A number of Chinese athletes are scheduled to run the early relay leg out of Olympia, including Chinese swimmer Luo Xuejuan, a gold medalist in the 2004 Olympics, who will be the second relay runner.

23-03-08_rehearsal8.jpg  The flame will be handed over to the Chinese Olympic Committee on March 30 in another ceremony at the all-marble Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Olympic Torch to be lit by sun rays tomorrow March 23, 2008

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The Olympic Flame torch will be lit by the sun’s rays in Ancient Olympia, tomorrow March 24, in Ancient Olympia, to be held 12 o’clock at noon Greek time.

“We will continue with the traditional way to kindle the flame as it symbolizes the purity of the Olympic flame” Li Ping, spokeswoman for Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Center, said. “The flame is lit using a concave mirror to focus the rays of the sun, and a back-up fire will be prepared the same way during the rehearsal phase in case of cloudy weather on March 24” she added.

23-03-08_olympic_flame_lighting_ceremony.jpg  Greece is in its full wings for the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony. According to Greek mythology the Sun God Apollo originally lit the Olympic flame to bring brightness and warmth to human beings. The flame will be handed over to Beijing at 3 pm on March 30 at the Panathenian Stadium in Athens, the city where the first modern Olympics Games were held in 1896.

23-03-08_artemis_ignatiou.jpg  Artemis Ignatiou, the choreographer of the Flame-lighting Ceremony. The Olympic flame ritual for this year’s Beijing Games torch relay will introduce new elements such as male dancers, live music and a tableau recreating the frieze displays of ancient Greek temples, Ignatiou said.

After a reception in Beijing on March 31, the Olympic Flame will begin its global tour of 135 cities around the world on April 1. The relay will cover 137,000 km in 130 days before the flame finally arrives at the National Stadium in Beijing on August 8, for the opening ceremony.

The highlight of the torch relay, involving a total of 21,780 torchbearers, will be an attempt to take the Olympic flame to the summit of Mount Qomolangma, known as Mt Everest in the West, in May. Li said the list of some 19,400 torchbearers and the roadmap for the torch relay over 700 cities in China would be made public soon.

Olympic Flame lighting ceremony on 24 March in Ancient Olympia March 21, 2008

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The flame will be lit on March 24 beside the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera by an actress dressed as an ancient Greek priestess. It will then start its 137,000-kilometre journey to Beijing. The first torchbearer in the relay will be Alexandros Nikolaidis, who won a silver medal in taekwondo at the 2004 Athens Games. He will hand the flame to Luo Xuejuan, who won China’s only swimming gold medal in Athens. IOC President Jacques Rogge will attend the lighting ceremony with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) confirmed that the Olympic Flame for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be lit in Ancient Olympia at 12 o’clock at noon on March 24 and will be handed over to the Beijing Organizing Committee at 3 p.m. on March 30 at the Panathenian Stadium in Athens.

21-03-08_olympic_torch_relay.jpg  Olympic taekwondo silver medalist Alexandros Nikolaidis (left) and Olympic triple jump silver medalist Pigi Devetzi answer questions from journalists during a press conference in Athens, March 13, 2008. The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) announced Thursday that Nikolaidis will be the first torchbearer for Beijing Olympic Games and Devetzi will be the last one, who will light the Olympic Flame at the altar of the Panathenian Stadium on March 30, shortly before handing over to Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee.

The Torch Relay for the Beijing Olympic Games will last seven days on Greek territory after the Lighting of the Flame in Ancient Olympia on March 24. The Olympic Flame will cover in Greece 1,528 kilometers by the hands of 605 bearers and 14 vehicles will follow them. The Torch Relay will pass through 16 Prefectures, 43 Municipalities, 12 Municipal Districts, 4 Communities and there will be organized 29 ceremonies in specific cities along the route of the Torch Relay and in 5 archaeological sites.

According to HOC, on March 24, the ceremony will start at 12 o’clock at noon. Then the Olympic Anthem, the National Anthem of China, the National Anthem of Greece will be played and the Olympic Flag, the Chinese Flag and the Greek Flag will be hoisted.

The speeches will be given by the Mayor of Ancient Olympia Georgios Aidonis, President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Minos Kyriakou, as well as the President of the Organizing Committee for Beijing 2008 Liu Qi.

The Ritual of the Lighting Ceremony at the Temple of Hera will start at 12:25 p.m and then the High Priestess and Priestess enter the Ancient Stadium with Olympic Flame. The High Priestess will hand over the Flame to the first Torchbearer who will depart via Pierre de Coubertin’s Grove and starts the Olympic Torch Relay in Greece. Alexander will receive in Ancient Olympia the sacred flame from the High Priestess and will give the signal for its long voyage to Beijing.

Kyriakou said that Alexander was chosen as the first torchbearer, not only because he will participate for the third time in Olympic Games in Beijing and apart his athletics abilities, he is example to follow, for his morality, his modesty and his integrity. Alexander said that he had visited Beijing last year and he likes Beijing very much. He wishes to achieve better result in Beijing Olympic Games in August.

Alexander began taekwondo when he was a little child at the age of 3. His first big success was in 1996 when he won the gold medal in World Junior Championship in Barcelona. At Sidney’s 2000 Olympic Games, he made his first appearance in Olympics but he was unlucky as he suffered serious injury during the quarterfinal match and had to quit. The leading moment in his career was the silver medal in Athens 2004 Olympic Games, in the over 80 kilograms category.

Kyriakou also announced that the Olympic silver medalist Pigi Devetzi will be the last torchbearer, who will light the Olympic Flame at the altar of the Panathenian Stadium on March 30, shortly before handing over to Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee. According to the schedule, the Olympic Flame will be handed over to Beijing 2008 Olympic Organizing Committee at 3 p.m. at Panathenian Stadium in Athens.

Since 2005, Greek sports editors have been voting for Devetzi as the top female Greek athlete. Devetzi went in for sports, first for artistic gymnastics, then for volleyball, and continued with the long jump before ending up a triple jumper. The year of 2004 was a turning point in her career. She stood up on the third step of the podium at the World Indoor Athletics Championship in Budapest with a 14.73 leap. At the Athens 2004 Games, she got a silver medal with a 15.25 meters jump, the third best performance ever. She came third at the Osaka World Championship last year with a 15.05 meters jump.

Devetzi said she is very happy to be chosen as the last torchbearer for the Beijing Olympic Games Torch Relay in Greece. She said that she hasn’t been to China but she is expecting to achieve a good result in Beijing Olympic Games in August.

Olympic Torch security at Ancient Olympia March 19, 2008

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The police said yesterday that they would adopt strict security measures at Ancient Olympia for the lighting of the Olympic Torch on Monday 24 March, amid fears of protests by Tibetans.

Officers will line the route of the torch relay, from Olympia to Athens, to prevent the event from being disrupted by campaigners protesting against the treatment of Tibetans by Chinese forces during several days of unrest recently. Police had to intervene earlier this month when a group of some 10 Tibetans attempted to hold their own torch-lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia.

Olympic flame lighting ceremony on March 24 March 14, 2008

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Olympic flame lighting ceremony to be “immaculate, simple” > Officials pledge splendor despite recent fires in region

14-03-08_olympic_flame.jpg  Greek Olympic officials promised the flame-lighting ceremony for the Beijing Games would be held with full splendor in Ancient Olympia, an area ravaged by wildfires last year.

“We have secured all the conditions for an immaculate and simple ceremony, as history, tradition and the site dictate,” Greek Olympic Committee President Minos Kyriakou said yesterday.

The flame will be lit on March 24 beside the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera by an actress dressed as an ancient Greek priestess. It will then start its 137,000-kilometer journey to Beijing. The first torchbearer in the relay will be Alexandros Nikolaidis, who won a silver medal in taekwondo’s over-80-kilogram category at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Nikolaidis, who described his allotted role in the lighting ceremony as the “greatest honor in my life,” will hand the flame to Luo Xuejuan, who won China’s only swimming gold medal in Athens. Triple-jumper Piyi Devetzi, who in her most recent accomplishment won a silver medal at the world indoor championships last weekend, will be the last Greek athlete to carry the torch in Greece before it continues its journey to Beijing.

IOC President Jacques Rogge will attend the lighting ceremony with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

Kyriakou said the flame would be carried through Greece for a week – over 1,528 kilometers by 645 torchbearers. It will make a stopover at the Acropolis before being handed over to Chinese officials at the restored ancient Panathenaic Stadium [Kallimarmaro stadium in Greek meaning Marble stadium] where the first Modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Forests around the birthplace of the ancient Olympics were devastated by wildfires that killed 66 people and ravaged southern Greece last year. The flames were stopped on the fringe of the ancient site. More than 30,000 trees and shrubs have since been planted around the site.