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  • Olympic Torch Relay Plans Revealed


    The torch for the 2006 Games on display at City Hall in Turin earlier this year. (ATR) 
    (ATR) Via foot and Ferrari, ski and ship, the route of the 2006 Olympic Torch Relay is now public following a Rome unveiling. In Athens, Greek organizers announced their plans for the flame lighting ceremony Nov. 27.

    Called "the biggest traveling show ever organized in Italy", the Italian leg begins December 8, heading to 140 cities and 107, spanning 11,000 kilometers.

    Starting in Piazza del Quirinale, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, president of Italy, will light the torch for Stefano Baldini, marathon winner of the 2004 Games and the first to run with the flame on Italian soil.

    Soon after, the Pope will bestow his blessing on the relay as it travels through the Vatican. Other milestones planned throughout the 64-day journey, including a ride in a Ferrari and a visit to Cortina on the 50th anniversary of the first Winter Olympics in Italy.

    Among the notables to carry a torch will be fashion designer Giorgio Armani and every Italian gold medalist from the last two Olympics.

    "The Olympic Torch Relay is very important, and not only of symbolical value", said Italian National Olympic Committee president Giovanni Petrucci.

    "I am convinced it will leave a deep mark in many people's minds and memories," he said in remarks at the Rome launch.

    In Athens, Hellenic Olympic Committee President Minos Kyriakou announced plans for a 10-day relay covering 2006 km. For the first time, the Greek legs of the relay will reach the country?s major ski centers.

    "We are always delighted to give this lighting of the flame to the world," said Kyriakou.

    Along with all the Greek medal winners from the 2004 Olympics, others running the relay in Greece include IOC members Chick Igaya of Japa
    The start of the torch relay in Olympia four years ago for the Salt Lake City Olympics. (HOC) 
    n, a 1956 silver medalist in the slalom and Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden, 1992 giant slalom gold medalist.

    Weather is a real concern for the ceremony in Olympia. Rain would wash out the event, not just for the lighting of the flame, but also for the pleated white gowns of the actresses dressed as ancient priestesses.

    This ceremony will mark the first for Theodora Siarkou as the high priestess. She participated in the ceremony held last year for Athens 2004. As she has for years, Maria Horss will serve as artistic director.

    The Italian delegation to the Sunday ceremony will be led by government supervisor and Italian IOC member Mario Pescante, along with Piemonte region governor Mercedes Bresso and TOROC President Valentino Castellani.

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