(ATR) The torch relay for the 2007 Pan American Games is in motion, 42 cities ahead across Brazil for the next five weeks.
The 42 cities represent the 42 nations which will compete at the Pan Am Games in Rio De Janeiro from July 13 to 29.
A flame-lighting at the Teotihuacán pyramids in Mexico City was held Monday, the traditional site for the ceremony. The flame was transported by air overnight to Santa Cruz Cabralia, in Bahia, the first stop in Brazil. Second stop for Tuesday will be Porto Seguro, the two cities in northern Brazil part of what’s called the Discovery Coast.
First runner in Brazil is 77 year-old Wilson Gomes Carneiro, Brazil’s first individual medalist at the Pan Ams, a hurdler at the 1951 games.
June 11, the relay travels through Brasília, where the roch will be received by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at his official residence.
"The Relay is another opportunity to take Rio 2007 to all Brazilian regions," said Carlos Arthur Nuzman the president of Rio 2007 and the Brazilian Olympic Committee.
Around 3,000 torchbearers will carry the flame, covering a distance of 400 meters each.
Rio De Janeiro Mayor Cesar Maia represented the city at the lighting ceremony Monday along with Brazilian Minister of Sports Orlando Silva and Pan American Sports Organization President Mario Vazquez Rana.
Samsung is the sponsor of the relay.
Além International, the Colorado firm that has helped stage prior torch relays is handling this one.
Viron, an Atlanta, Georgia firm, is making the 500 torches to be used in the relay.
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