Olympic torch set alight in Greece

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The flame for the Olympic Games in Brazil has been lit in southern Greece.

An actor performing the role of high priestess lit the torch by using the sun’s rays.

The torch will be taken by a number of different runners on an international relay that will finish at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August.

The ritual was established 80 years ago for the Berlin Games, based on a ceremony in Ancient Olympia where games were held for more than 1,000 years.

Actor Katerina Lehou, who lit the torch, wore a long pleated robe. She knelt on the ground and lit the torch within a few seconds by using a concave mirror to catch the sunlight.

The flame was then passed on to Greek gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias, the first runner in the torch relay.

Before the flame arrives in South America it will begin a six-day relay across Greece, passing through the town of Marathon – which gave its name to the long distance race – as well as a camp for refugees and migrants in Athens.

The flame is due to arrive in Brazil on 3 May for a relay across the country, travelling through hundreds of cities and villages in every Brazilian state.

It will be carried by about 12,000 torch bearers.

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