The Olympic Torch Starts Its Journey to the 2018 Pyeongchang Games Today
The Olympic torch relay is—as the saying goes—a marathon, not a sprint.
And it all started on Tuesday, October 24.
The torch’s journey to the next Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February will cover some 1,200 miles by plane, ship, train, sailboat, robot, zip wire, cable car, and bike and will take more than 100 days, according to the International Olympic Committee. Some 7,500 torchbearers will carry it along the way.
A ceremony on Tuesday in Ancient Olympia in Greece lit the flame and kicked-off the official 107-day countdown to the winter Games.
The Pyeongchang Games start on February 9 and run through February 25. They’ll be the first winter Olympics held in Asia outside of Japan. Yet, the escalating crisis on the Korean peninsula has overshadowed anticipation of the event, as North Korea, led by Kim Jong-un, continues to carry out nuclear and ballistic missile tests and engage in a war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump. The tension has had a chilling effect on the Games’ ticket sales.
Nevertheless, Lee Hee-beon, chief of the 2018 Games, struck an upbeat tone on Tuesday. “Our dream of hosting the Olympic winter Games has now become a reality,” he said. “We want the international community to understand that we are committed to hosting a safe and secure Olympic winter Games.”
Lee announced on Monday that all venues for the Games are complete. Pyeongchang, a county in the country’s northeast, had fallen behind schedule in its first few years of preparations and had rushed to finish construction on time.